If you’re just starting out in charcoal drawing, it’s important to find the right tools for the job. One of the most important is an eraser. Some people might tell you that any old eraser will do, but I’m here to tell you that’s not true! When it comes to erasing charcoal it is not the same as erasing graphite. There are several different types of erasers on the market, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this blog post, I’ll recommend the best eraser for charcoal drawings that won’t break the bank. So read on to learn more!
The best eraser for charcoal drawings
First things first, you wanted to know what the best eraser for charcoal is and I will not waste your time like other articles making you read 1000 words of facts that don’t matter. Here is my recommendation of the best eraser for charcoal, it actually does not cost much and can be purchased online. You will also not need as much as you think you do so do not buy it in bulk, a 3 pack is all you will need for a long time.
Why I like it
- You can use it over and over and it keeps performing.
- It does not become a black charcoal mess after each use.
- You can pinch off a little piece as needed and not knead the entire eraser.
- It does not have a horrible smell like some of the cheaper kneaded erasers.
- Can be ‘worked’ with a little rolling and rubbing with your fingers to warm it up and make it more pliable.
- Does not dry up (you should keep these wrapped in cling wrap if you remove the plastic covering).
Now that I have given you my recommendation for the best eraser for charcoal, let me give you the facts about erasers and how they work with charcoal how I come to my recommendation.
Types of erasers
Erasers come in all shapes and sizes these days. From the classic pink eraser to the electric eraser, there are a lot of options on the market.
- Kneaded erasers – This type of eraser is made of a malleable material that can be stretched, pulled, and twisted into any shape. It’s perfect for getting into small spaces and detailed work.
- Gum erasers – Gum erasers are similar to kneaded erasers, but they’re very much firm and not pliable. They’re also a bit cleaner to use since the debris from the erased charcoal doesn’t get stuck in the eraser.
- Pencil erasers – Pencil erasers are the classic choice for those who prefer a more straightforward option. No, these are not the tip of a pencil eraser, they are an eraser stick in the shape of a pencil (see the image below). They’re great for general purpose erasing, but they’re not ideal for precision work. You can use a craft knife to shape the tip if you need a finer tip.
- Plastic or Vinyl erasers – Plastic/Vinyl erasers are similar to pencil erasers, but they’re a bit hard and not recommended for charcoal. Plastic or vinyl erasers are better suited to graphite pencils rather than charcoal.
- Bread dough/insides of bread – What? As strange as it may seem this was what my father used to use to erase his drawings when he was a kid. I remember him also using it when I was a kid and it worked. I tried it out on my charcoal and sure enough, it still does the job. It works ok with graphite but can still leave residue for harder graphite. Just make sure you don’t eat it after you use it!
How to erase charcoal
The best way to erase charcoal is with a kneaded eraser. This type of eraser is made of a malleable material that can be shaped into a point or flattened out. It’s perfect for getting into those small spaces and lifting away the charcoal without destroying your paper.
If you don’t have a kneaded eraser, you can also use a gum eraser. These are similar to kneaded erasers but they’re not as pliable. They work best on smooth surfaces and can be a little harder to control.
Now you will not always end up with a clean sheet of paper or canvas after using an eraser to remove charcoal from a surface so you may need to follow it up with a light scrub using a clean and dry paintbrush or an old toothbrush. What this does is dislodge any stubborn grains of charcoal from the surface and allow you to pick them up using a kneaded eraser or some adhesive putty such as Blu Tack.
When to use an eraser on charcoal drawings
You should only use an eraser when absolutely necessary. That means if you make a mistake or want to lighten a certain area, reach for the eraser. Otherwise, leave it be! I find when you make a mistake with charcoal, as it is a medium that allows you to be loose rather than precise you can work over the mistakes with extra lines or drawing marks using the charcoal.
Tips and tricks for erasing charcoal on paper and canvas
Now that you know what type of eraser to use and when to use it, here are some tips and tricks for erasing charcoal like a pro!
- Use a light touch. The harder you press, the more likely you are to damage your paper or canvas.
- Experiment with different types of erasers. You may find that you prefer one over the other.
- Practice makes perfect. The more you erase, the better you’ll get at it.
When it comes to erasing charcoal, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The best way to figure out what works best for you is to experiment with different types of erasers and techniques until you find a method that suits your needs. Erasers are not that expensive and you will find that you will build up a small collection of erasers to deal with various types of mediums.
With a little practice, you’ll be able to erase charcoal like a pro!
Best eraser for charcoal – wrap up!
Charcoal is a versatile medium that can be used to create beautiful pieces of art. The best eraser for charcoal drawings can help you achieve the look you desire without ruining your work.
We’ve provided tips on how to erase charcoal as well as when and where to use an eraser with your drawings. Feel free to share this post with your artist friends and let us know if you have any other tips or tricks for erasing charcoal in the comments below!
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Joseph Colella is a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech). While he holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent style he spent years trying to get into various Art degrees from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), and failed to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney. His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. In his spare time, he writes for the this blog, WastedTalentInc, where he shares practical advice on art, making art, and art materials. Joseph’s art has been sold to collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia. He is a trusted source for reliable art and copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.
He also loves all things watches (ok it’s an addiction) so show him some love and visit his other website https://expertdivewatch.com