How to erase colored pencil?

Color pencils breathe life into your creativity. Some brands make erasable color pencils but they are difficult to be found everywhere. Erasing colored pencils could be a challenge and you face difficulty to do it perfectly. 

We use colored pencils for highlighting, shading, sketching, outlining on objects, tracing using transparent paper/mapping, animations, storyboard drawings, surrealism, illustrations, etc.

  • Visual artists use colored pencils in their drawings and pencil artwork. In addition, colored pencils are used to check and mark papers.
  • Fashion and interior designers use for their images and sketch, draw storyboards, presentations, charts, graphics, and many more.
  • Teachers and students of fine arts, animation, courses on design, architects, engineers, fashion designers, interior designers, painters, graphic designers, teachers, and animators may use it for their images and markings.

Color pencils variety

Color pencils come in various materials to serve different purposes.

  • Graphite 
  • Charcoal 
  • Pastels
  • Wax-based 
  • Oil-based 
  • Watercolor
Crayons, Children, To Draw, Screen, Paint, To Color

How to remove color pencil marks?

Standard erasers can help you lighten the color pencil, but full erasing could be a tedious process. There are several types of erasers that work to reducing and removing colored pencil effects.

Color pencil eraser and its application

We will briefly describe various kinds of erasers and methods of using those erasers with precautions.

Standard eraser

Standard erasers for color pencils are easily available in most stores. People use them worldwide and they are cheap too.

You need to test these erasers before using them to erase the color pencil. Choose a small portion of the image to test the eraser. Testing will help ensure that you preserve the original image quality after erasing.

Apply the eraser lightly in a gentle circular motion for testing. In case the eraser causes streaks or smears, apply it more softly and lightly. Sometimes, you may have to resort to other methods for erasing. Start with the outer edges of the image to erase to prevent damage to the entire image.

How to use standard erasers?

These are a harder variety of erasers and can give you a coarse feel while applying. These erasers could be tough on the image. They need to be used gently or else can tear the portion of the paper.

Keep checking the progress after a few seconds. Continue rubbing softly and carefully as it can take a good amount of time to erase the color pencil. Hasty rubbing on the paper may erode the surface of the paper causing permanent damage to the image.

Kneaded color pencil erasers

These erasers are malleable with high workability. You need to shape them by hands to serve various needs without breaking or cracking. These erasers reduce the color pencil effects rather than erasing them. They are good to lighten graphite and pastel. They work well on charcoal color pencils.

Start by applying in a small portion of the image for testing to avoid smudging by the eraser’s pigment. After every use, rub it on clean paper. This cleans the pigments.

How to use Kneaded eraser?

You can manage the erasers by giving them the form you want with your hands. You can spread it by stretching it out to apply on a bigger portion of the image. You may turn it to a pencil point shape and applied to a tiny portion of the image.

Here too, testing is crucial to avoid streak or smear because of abrasion. Because of its softness, you can apply more pressure during rubbing but ensure that the paper does not tear.

As long as you see the results from your effort to erase, you can continue rubbing. The pigments may get stuck on the eraser after use so you need to keep the eraser clean by removing pigments using clean paper. 

Pencil shaped eraser

These are regular pink erasers that fit inside a wooden pencil case. They can last long.

A pencil sharpener can make it pointed for point area applications. These erasers delicately remove hair like thin stripes and highlighted areas. They are very useful for the correction of minor errors in your drawings. They can be tough on the image.

Take extra care to prevent the paper from tearing. Clean the tip of the eraser after each use, or else it will transfer residue of the graphite to the original image. These erasers work well on fine lines. 

Plastic Eraser & Vinyl erasers

Plastic erasers, or vinyl, fall into the hard eraser category. The advantage of the eraser is its crisp edges. The vinyl eraser’s edge is the most useful part as it works on image points.

Apply the edge to remove points or fine lines. The crisp and sharp edges do not allow smear or make the erasing a mess. They have a pencil-like form on the edges that can help you work on fine lines or tiny areas of the image.

You can erase lightly to avoid streaking. The inherent stiffness may cause the paper to tear if applied with pressure. 

Hi-Polymer

Fairly low shedding, you can curve them to recoup sharp edges. It cleans graphite pencil without smearing. Wipe with a piece of clean paper/fabric before reusing it.

They fall in the hard eraser category and will not bend as you erase with them. They are gentle, long-lasting, and light on paper. You can curve them and apply them to pick the pigments. You can buy them in various shapes.

Rubber eraser

These are non-abrasive and leave crumbs that catch graphite as you erase. The life of these rubbers is short because of fast crumbling. You can use them without tearing the paper. You can keep several such erasers handy and apply them for the super gentle rub.

Mask & clear Tapes

These tapes do not have adhesive like plastic tapes. You need some practice on how to use it.

Take a small portion of the tape and place it on the area you wish to erase. After applying, peel it off. The pigment will get stuck onto the tape. It may miss a spot if you have not applied it properly. Practice using it on small pieces of paper to test.

You practice on a paper that has similar lines or shades as in the original image formed by colored pencil. To master the tape eraser method, practice as many times as you want, and then try it on actual paintings or drawings.

How to apply the Tape?

First, erase the portion lightly using a regular pencil eraser. Do not apply too much pressure. This will prepare the page surface. You do not need to erase the color pencil with the standard pencil eraser. The aim is to let pigment surface so the tape can lift it effortlessly.

Cut masking or clear tape in small strips. Test one piece on a small part. Avoid using it on the entire image without testing. Practice on a small part and gain confidence. 

Place the piece of the tape on the image portion. Apply slight pressure on the tape with a pointed pen. This will help the color pencil stick to the tape’s glue. Rub the tape lightly and peel it off.

Avoid pressing the tape too hard as it may tear the paper or the tape. Gently lift the tape from the paper. Repeating the same method can increase the chance to tear the paper. If you see residual pigments, carefully repeat the process with utmost caution.

Electric Pencil Eraser

This method is quite popular among artists. This erasing method can remove darker marks, which are difficult by manual erasers. This also requires practice before applying to the image.

Once you gain a sense of how to use it, apply it to your actual work. An electric eraser can destroy the paper surface if you don’t know how to use the pressure while applying an electric eraser. Learn how to use an electric eraser before using it on your pencil artwork.

Erasing when no eraser around

This is a workaround alternative when no eraser available. Grab white bread with no crust and roll it up like a ball. Apply it gently on the area just like a kneaded eraser.

Rubber band as an eraser

Anything that has rubber can do the trick for you. Before applying, test for its effectiveness on the drawing.

Use Flip-Flop as an eraser

You can even make flip-flop work as an eraser since it has rubber elements. Since it is a big object, you can cut it into small pieces to manage it properly while using it.

Things to remember while using a color pencil eraser

If you are following the described tools and techniques, then you have become a pro in color pencil erasing.

  • You need to ensure the erasing process does not smudge your painting. Be extra careful and read the direction to use.
  • Apply each of the erasing techniques on a paper to test.
  • Try on a small portion of the image.
  • Clean the pigments from the eraser before next use.
  • Be cautious when applying it in your actual work to avoid damage, distortion, or messing up with your original image. 
  • Remember not to apply too much pressure as it can cause severe damage to your original drawing.
  • Avoid erasing too much or too frequently. You can start drawing lightly on the paper.
  • If you have drawn with a soft colored pencil, you can erase it easily.
  • Select the right eraser. This will save your painting.

The Bottom Line

Color pencil may seem hard to remove but quite doable. Experiment with various erasers. You can talk to the experts in this field or someone who tried these erasers before actually trying them by yourself.

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