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Ugh, this is such a newbie question and I'm embarrassed to ask it. I did a search to see if it's been answered before but didn't find anything.
Every once in a while when I'm drawing and I erase something, it leaves a nasty permanent graphite smudge on my paper that won't go away no matter how much I try to erase it. It's usually not very large but it's enough to ruin the drawing. I make a point of regularly using my erasers on a table or a piece of scrap paper to keep them white and it doesn't seem to help the smudging problem much. Could it be that I erase/draw too hard? Is this a cheap pencil/eraser issue? Or am I just an idiot?
I have that problem all the time with both pink rubber erasers and white plastic erasers no matter what the brand is... Sometimes I think it's because of substances on the paper (traces of hand oil, sweat, lord knows what else,) sometimes I'm pretty sure it's because the erasers were exposed to excessive heat or sun (with the temperatures we've been having lately, it's hard to avoid this.) Erasers are ridiculously sensitive, they go bad pretty easily.
For what it's worth, I've switched to using kneaded erasers almost exclusively now and haven't had any smudges yet.
I just wish someone made kneaded erasers in stick form so I could use them for fine details...
I'll paraphrase E. M. Gist:
It's not a mistake until you can't erase it.
Yeah, I was about to ask what kind of eraser you are using.
Once you go kneaded, you never go back.
Kneaded all the way and steadler erasers
Everything is permitted
Lordy! I wanna marry you. . .I just wish someone made kneaded erasers in stick form so I could use them for fine details...
Thanks guys. My main eraser for when I'm sitting around at home is a white Staedtler eraser, but god knows how long I've been using it. Otherwise I'm just using the ends of cheap BIC mechanical pencils. I do have a kneaded eraser kicking around at my dad's somewhere (came with a charcoal sketch kit). Might have to steal that before I move if they're as magical as you all claim them to be.
I use BIC mechanical pencils for drawing and a kneaded eraser for mistakes. If you've erased a dark area with one side, you can fold the graphite into the rest of the eraser and use it until the whole thing is fairly black. I've never had one leave a mark on my paper. Plus, you can flatten them and use them to dab off graphite to make an area lighter. And you don't get the little shreds of eraser all over your drawings.
Kneaded erasers +1. Also, no crumbs!
Pull as much graphite as you can out of the paper with a kneaded eraser, and then, if you absolutely have to, finish up with a white vinyl eraser using gentle, circular strokes. Only worry about getting back to clean white paper at the end of a drawing, though, if you're going to rework an area that's seldom necessary.
Last edited by Elwell; August 18th, 2012 at 10:21 PM.
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"Work is more fun than fun."
"Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
Well you may also want to go in one direction if using plastic/vynil erasers. It's easy to manically stroke back and forth and scream "off with you!" but what happens is that you end up snagging your little crumbs and accidentally rub them back into the paper. In addition you may accidentally snag or damage the paper if you stroke too far in a back and forth motion.
I've found that you can take a Clic-Eraser and cut the tubular filler eraser off at a 45 degree angle, with a really sharp blade, and get some better, sharper erasing.
I've also had this problem with the hard plastic erasers. I second the kneaded eraser recommendation! I use those most of the time or a faber castell "dust free" eraser.
I draw in mechanical pencil and use those handy extendable erasers. I also tend to draw lightly. Haven't had any problems with erasing.
I'd recommend getting one of those cheap, battery-driven erasers (e. g. by Derwent). For me, they erase better than any of the "normal" eraser I have ever tried.
Old HB pencil pink erasers are the absolute worst. I can't remember the last time I willingly used one of those. Anyways, thanks for the suggestions everyone. Glad this is such a universal problem and it's not just that I missed the "basic eraser skills" art class (well, that too).
Heavier paper and electric eraser is great if you want use something that can take more abuse.
Or just draw lighter and use a kneaded eraser, you can also roll it between hands make a point on one end for details,
its like putty so can mould it into different shapes etc.
If the papers ripping away its usually due to moisture and erasing over same area too much.
You can also use a blank piece of paper to rest your hand on so you reduce smudging and moisture and a soft brush to remover eraser rubbing instead of your hand.
EDIT: also those hard sort of sandpaper like pink erasers are meant for pen 'I think' they rip and the tooth of the paper they really suck,
and those erasers on the end of pencils are pretty much useless they just break away and even leave pink marks across page, more meant for simple writing erasing.
Last edited by Xopher; August 19th, 2012 at 02:12 AM.
Pull the eraser gently and smush it back together again. Pull and smush, pull and smush. If it breaks, don't sweat it...just stick the pieces back together again...it is like rubber clay.
Continue doing this for about a minute until the eraser is nice and soft and warm and pliable and in the shape of a ball. (This process is called kneading, and is the reason they are called "kneaded" erasers...they actually mimic the way soft bread was used in the olden days to erase drawings...before the advent of modern erasers).
Now that you have it nice and soft and squishy, you can use your fingers to shape it like dough into any shape you need...Make a chisled edge by pinching or pressing onto a table, twist part into a fine point, roll and press on the table to make a rounded end...the possibilities are endless.
Now, press the eraser down onto the drawing and lift straight up, no scrubbing like you do with those horrible pink erasers. You will see some graphite, charcoal, whatever you are using come off and be embedded in the eraser. Do this a couple of times with clean parts of the eraser, and then, if really necessary you can gently rub lightly to clean the paper a bit more than just lifting.
When you see that the eraser is getting too dirty from lifting off all that powder, they are somewhat self-cleaning. Simply knead the dirty parts into the center by pulling and smushing a few more times.
When you feel your eraser has absorbed too much powder (when it starts getting really dark compared with a new one, or when it starts to leave too much residue behind when using it), then you know it is time to toss it and get a new one.
Hope this helps. When used properly, the kneaded eraser is the greatest thing since slice bread (pun intended )
As the ego shrinks, so the spirit expands.
My problem is that when I shape them into a point, they're a bit too wibbly-wobbly for precision, at least for the kind of stuff I do (tiny freaking details.) I just tried pressing-and-lifting, but it doesn't seem to do much for me except make the pencil slightly lighter, and doesn't seem to affect blue pencil at all.
I wonder if I can stuff a kneaded eraser into an empty stick eraser tube... Hmmm...
Or wait, waaaaiiit, maybe if I wrap this gunk around a stick. Kneaded eraser with an armature. Ooh, that might work, gotta go try this now...
EDIT: Oh my god, this totally works! Found an old crowquill handle, glommed a piece of kneaded eraser over the end, I now have a fine point of kneaded eraser with enough firmness to easily zap those pesky tiny details... Yay! I'm so adding this to my pencil case!
Last edited by QueenGwenevere; August 19th, 2012 at 11:43 AM.
All hail Queen Gwenevere in her infinite cunning and beauty!