Anyone who draws with pencils or charcoal makes mistakes every now and then. It’s annoying, but normal. Mistakes are a necessary part of the process because you learn from them and get better. But if something doesn’t go as planned, you’ll be happy to know that you can easily correct small mistakes with an eraser. With a good eraser, the lines you previously drew will no longer be visible – and you can easily draw or sketch over the erased surface afterwards.
In addition, erasers can be used in a number of artistic ways, for example to add highlights to drawings. But not all erasers are created equal – there are big differences. You’ll need a different eraser depending on what you’re drawing with – and what kind of paper you’re drawing on.
If you’re looking for erasers for your creative projects, you’ve come to the right place.
How well something can be erased depends on the pencil as well as the paper. If you use thin, fine paper and press hard when erasing, the paper may crease or even tear. That’s why there are erasers that erase extremely well without making you press hard, such as the MONO light. This eraser is made of firmer material that adheres less to the paper and glides over it more easily than other erasers. This means that the process of erasing barely affects the paper – which is great for sensitive paper. And it also has another advantage:
Depending on whether you are erasing a larger area or a fine line, it makes sense to have erasers of different sizes on your drawing board. With a large eraser like the MONO L, you can easily erase larger areas. Small erasers like the MONO smart or extra fine erasers like the MONO zero allow you to make very fine, almost delicate erasing movements, allowing you to erase even single lines very precisely.
Incidentally, the MONO line of erasers came on the market more or less by chance: when Tombow launched the MONO 100 line of pencils in 1967, a newly developed MONO eraser was included in every pack. The eraser was so popular that it went into mass production and has been sold on its own since 1969. Since then, the MONO has been available in its characteristic blue, white, and black packaging.
An eraser makes words or drawings written in pencil disappear. There is a simple physical explanation for this: pencil lead is made of graphite – and not lead, as the name suggests. When writing or drawing, graphite particles are rubbed off the lead and stick to the paper. This phenomenon is called adhesion. During erasing, the eraser mechanically rubs the graphite particles off the paper again. They adhere to the eraser because the eraser has a higher adhesive strength than the paper.
This fact – which we take for granted today and is very practical when drawing – was not always known, by the way. It wasn’t until 1770 that the British optician and instrument maker Edward Nairne discovered – by accident – that rubber was suitable for erasing pencil lines. Prior to this, pencil marks were often removed with an old piece of bread (and rather poorly at that).
Cardboard or Metal – the case protects the eraser
Many erasers come with a cardboard sleeve that protects the eraser from getting dirty, even if used for a long period of time. Eraser pencils have a protective metal or plastic housing. This is beneficial because a dirty eraser can absorb less graphite and as a result, causes streaks. The sleeve also gives the eraser stability when bent under pressure while in use, which keeps the eraser looking nice for longer.
Erasers in pen form – like the MONO zero – are operated similarly to mechanical pencils: By pressing on the cap, the erasers first come out a bit. If you hold the button down, you can push the eraser back into the pencil shaft and keep it perfectly protected.
Many professional illustrators always keep a small brush on their drawing table – the drafting brush. They use it to sweep away the small bits of debris that are produced by erasing.
But there are also erasers available that keep the table almost completely clean when erasing, because they keep the debris stuck to the eraser: like the MONO dust CATCH, for example. Due to its special polymer composition, the eraser debris adheres to the eraser itself and can be easily removed.
You can even erase ink – with the right eraser
Graphite from pencils is particularly easy to erase, and erasers are also quite successful with charcoal. But with the right eraser, you can even erase ink – as long as it adheres to the surface of the paper like with a ballpoint pen or printer ink and does not soak into it like with a fountain pen or ink roller. A good example of an eraser that can used with ink is the MONO sand, an eraser made of natural rubber with fine microsand particles. The sand smooths down the surface of the paper, causing the ink to disappear. The MONO sand is not the best choice for fine paper, however, as it would quickly erase a hole in the paper.
The MONO sand can also be used to achieve creative vintage effects, like adding a retro design element to your lettering. But remember to use a heavy paper.
An eraser can be used for more than just making corrections and changes to your drawing. Your eraser is also perfect for creating special effects – for example if you want to add highlights to a drawing. You can even reverse the drawing process: use a pencil to color in the surface of the paper in the desired color intensity and then erase outlines with the eraser. The result is a negative drawing – a design element that looks great in mangas, for example.