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The Inkblot, Issue #003 -- Erasers
October 14, 2008

Issue #3: Erasers

The Inkblot is your cartooning information resource. From art supplies to drawing lessons to tips from the pros, you'll learn what it takes to be a cartoonist!

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  • 1. Introduction

  • 2. Kneaded Erasers

  • 3. Art Gum Erasers

  • 4. White Vinyl Erasers

  • 5. Pink Pearl Erasers

  • 6. Mars Plastic Erasers

  • 7. A Final Word


Hey fellow Cartoonists, welcome back to another exciting issue of the amazingly fantastic ezine, The Inkblot! In this issue, weíre going to discuss another of the cartoonists most important drawing supplies:

The Eraser!

Thatís right. The eraser, put simply, is the thing you use to erase the pencil lines from your cartoon after inking. Pretty basic, right? But just like there are many different kinds of pencils and pens, there are also many different kinds of erasers. As a cartoonist, it will be up to you to decide which ones work best for you.

To help you with this, letís go over some of the basic kinds!

First off, forget the eraser at the end of your number two pencil. Those little things donít always erase wellóoften smudging the pencil lines onto the paper rather than erasing themóand the are pretty dinky, made for erasing tiny spots. If youíre like most cartoonists, youíll need a good, sturdy eraser for a lot of erasing.

The Kneaded Eraser

This one is a favorite of many different types of artists, including cartoonists, illustrators, and arctitects. Itís made of plastic and comes as a square, but it can be easily kneaded into almost any shape. Itís great for erasing lines made by even the softest pencils, and the best thing about it is, it leaves no eraser crumbs! It also erases cleanly, never smudging. This remains my favorite of all erasers, and itís the type I use the most.

The Art Gum Eraser

This eraser is easy to spot because it comes as a big brown block or cube. Made of rubber, itís great for erasing pencil lines, as well as smudges. Itís different from the kneaded eraser, though, because it leaves a LOT of eraser crumbs. Itís made to do that, however; the eraser breaks up into powder as you use it, which then absorbs the pencil lines and dirt on your paper. Iíve used this eraser a lot in the past, and not only for erasing. Itís really good for cleaning pencil lines and smudges from the drawing board, too, and can even take up rubber cement. Youíll have to vacuum the rug after each use, however!

White Vinyl Eraser

This eraser is becoming more and more popular, especially with mechanical pencils. You can find it practically anywhere pencils are sold, and is very inexpensive. Sold in block form, itís the same type of eraser thatís found on the end of your typical mechanical pencil. It a good basic eraser for pencil lines, but it will occasionally smudge. It leaves eraser crumbs, but not as many as the art gum eraser. This eraser is best for erasing light pencil lines. It doesnít do well with heavier pencils.

Pink Pearl Eraser

This eraser has been around for a long time, and can also be found everywhere. Itís pink, generally beveled at both ends, and is a good, basic eraser. I used this one all the time in elementary school. Itís good at erasing basic pencil lines, although it does sometimes smudge. It also can ďdig intoĒ the paper, depending on the type youíre using. It leaves more eraser crumbs than the white vinyl.

Mars Plastic Eraser

This is very similar to the white vinyl eraser, but I wanted to point it out, because I think it actually does a better job. Iíve used it for years, and is great for removing almost any kind of pencil line without harming the paper. It also never smudges, unlike many white vinyls or pink pearls. Itís white, soft, made of plastic (of course), and comes in the shape of a brick. You can sometimes find it in supermarkets, next to the pencils, but most often itís found in art supply and drafting supply stores.

A Final Word on Erasers

There are many other types of erasers out there, but these are the basic ones, and the best for Cartooning. As with all art supplies, get out there and buy as many different ones as you canÖthen experiment! This is what I did, and itís the best way for finding out what works best for you. Not everyone uses the same type of eraser, and even the professionals have their favorites. In the end, the only thing that matters is that you use what works best for you.

Until next time,

Happy Drawing!

Michael Richards
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