Thursday, February 1, 2018

Erasing Demo

1/24/18 Caran d'Ache Pablo colored pencils in Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook
As I mentioned in my Col-erase review, I have a specialized need for erasers: Erasing colored pencil, especially to regain or create tiny highlights. Many erasers can’t handle highly pigmented pencils. And even if they can, most standard block erasers are too broad to make fine, delicate erasures. My favorite until now has been the Tombow Mono Zero with a rectangular eraser that can erase small spots well.

Over at the Well-Appointed Desk, I just published an Eraser Rub-Off Challenge that pits nine erasers against each other. I declared the Seed Sun Dolphin 3 electric eraser as the winner, which erased both graphite and colored pencil as well as or, in some cases, better than my old favorite Tombow. It took a bit of practice getting used to a battery-operated eraser, but once I did, I was able to aim it and get a really fine line of erasing that is more precise than any manual I’ve used, even the Tombow.

3 layers of pencil applied
Here’s how I made the tomato sketch (above) for the Eraser Rub-Off: Using heavily pigmented Caran d’Ache Pablo colored pencils, I applied about three layers to a Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook (at left). I chose Alpha for its toothy surface, which I knew would give the eraser an even tougher workout. I deliberately “forgot” to save out the white of the paper for highlights. (Ouch! After working so hard to train myself not to forget, I winced as I colored over the spots where the highlights should be!)

I used the Seed Sun Dolphin to erase out the primary bright highlight on the left and the secondary highlight on the right (below). They each came out clean with just one precise swipe of the electric eraser. I re-applied a bit of color to the secondary highlight to keep it from being as bright as the primary one. Then I proceeded to finish the sketch.

Highlights erased
I didn’t want to attempt waiting until the whole sketch was done to put in the highlights because I honestly didn’t believe the eraser could handle that many layers of pigment. After I finished, however, my curiosity got the better of me, so I made a swatch of six layers of pencil (below), which is about the total number I applied to make the sketch. After one swipe of the eraser, I could see some color remaining, so I repeated the swipe. It took off a bit more color, but not all of it. I might be able to continue erasing, but at some point, I’d probably damage the paper’s surface. If I went so far as to finish a sketch before realizing I’d forgotten a highlight (yes, of course, I’ve done that!), it’s good to know I could still put one in. I don’t recommend it, though – erasing is never quite as clean as leaving the paper’s white.

6 layers of pencil erased 

Seed Sun Dolphin electric eraser

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