Different Types of Erasers

By Liz Fremont ; Updated September 15, 2017
Choose the eraser that best fits your needs.

The drawing on which you worked so hard could be ruined by using the wrong type of eraser. There are many options for erasing pencil, charcoal and ink marks, with each eraser having a specific purpose. Anyone who does artwork where marks may need to be erased, or whose work depends on clean lines, should keep more than one kind of eraser on hand.

Vinyl Erasers

Vinyl erasers are soft, gentle on paper and don’t smear. They work well for light pencil marks but quickly lose their sharp edge so cannot be used long for precision erasing. They also work on vellum and drafting film. As with most other erasers, vinyl erasers leave behind a residue.

Pink Rubber Erasers

Pink rubber erasers are the most common erasers in use. They are abrasive thanks to the pumice that’s added to the rubber. This attribute allows them to erase some pen marks, but they can tear paper if used vigorously. This eraser leaves residue that can mark the work surface when brushed off. It also smears easily.

Art Gum Erasers

A gum eraser is the top choice for removing smudges and other marks from a drawing without marring the surface. Since it’s soft and crumbly, it does leave a lot of residue behind but it can easily be brushed off of the work surface.

Kneaded Erasers

Kneaded erasers are good for lightening pencil and charcoal marks, as well as bringing out the highlights of a drawing. They absorb graphite particles which can then be kneaded into the soft eraser. They usually won’t leave residue unless they're too full of graphite, in which case they should be replaced. Take care that a kneaded eraser doesn’t get overly warm since it may then break down and leave a stain on the work surface.

Pencil-Type Erasers

Jeff, from easy-drawing-lessons.com, likes the peelable pencil type erasers because they work well in tight areas. They can also be used to make thin wisps of highlights in hair. Bring them to a point by using a standard pencil sharpener.

Electric Erasers

Electric erasers are either rechargeable or have a power cord. The eraser has a fine tip that works well for details. The eraser nib can be changed depending on the degree of hardness needed. They can erase either graphite or ink.

Air Erasers

According to Integrated Publishing, an air eraser is a special airbrush used with a compressor that shoots eraser particles at 35 pounds per square inch at the surface to be erased. Just hold it over the area until the marks are erased. Areas that don’t need erasing should be covered to avoid being erased accidentally.