Erasers are supposed to make drawings flawless by erasing the flaws. Or, if you are an advanced artist, erasers are tools to create new artworks through the technique called subtractive drawing.
But what if the eraser makes undesirably ugly marks on the paper? Knowing how to get rid of eraser marks is essential know-how for artists who use erasers regularly. Unfortunately, there is no one way or definite method to get rid of eraser marks.
Don’t worry, though. There are still steps you can take to remove eraser marks from your drawings. Here’s a list of things you can do.
How to Get Rid of Eraser Marks on Paper
Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to get rid of eraser marks on your drawing. There are a few things you can try, but I can’t guarantee their efficacy.
Clean Your Eraser and Try Again
One reason that an eraser makes marks on the drawing is that it is dirty. Graphite dust may have stuck on the eraser, so the graphite goes to the picture when you erase it. How do you clean the eraser, then?
The most basic thing to do is rub the eraser with your finger until the area with graphite dust wears off. The problem with this is the oil from your skin may go to the eraser. That oil is detrimental – it will cause smudges on the paper.
Another method you can do is to rub the graphite-infected area of the eraser on a clean sheet of paper. Keep rubbing it until all the dirt is removed from the eraser.
Once the eraser is clean, try to erase the marks it made on your drawing.
Use a Kneaded Eraser
The kneaded eraser has an advantage over a regular rubber or vinyl eraser. A kneaded eraser picks up graphite or pigment instead of rubbing it off. If an eraser marks paper, the better option would be to use a kneaded eraser.
Another advantage of kneaded eraser over other types of erasers is that kneaded eraser is malleable. It can remove marks in a more detailed manner compared to a block of rubber or vinyl eraser. You can shape a kneaded eraser into a sharp point and pick up a minimal amount of graphite.
What if Oil Gets on the Eraser then the Drawing?
The most problematic cause of an eraser marking the paper is if the oil from your skin gets on the eraser. The oil then gets on the drawing, making an ugly and stubborn smudge. How do you remove such an eraser mark?
Some guides will tell you to use a vinegar mixture to clean out the oil from the paper. But there’s too much risk from that process; it will damage your paper and your artwork. I have an alternative suggestion.
Step 1: Get Chalkdust
Chalkdust will be the primary cleaning agent in this process. If you can’t get chalkdust, get a stick of chalk and shave it using a knife to make it dust.
Step 2: Spread Chalkdust on the Paper
Flatten the paper, especially the area with the oil stain. Use a soft-bristled paintbrush to spread chalkdust gently on the oil-stained site of the paper.
Step 3: Sandwich the Drawing Between Two Clean Sheets of Paper
Get two clean white sheets of paper and sandwich the drawing between them. Make sure you don’t disturb the chalkdust over the oil stain.
Step 4: Heat the Drawing
Get a flat iron and heat it on the lowest setting. Then place it on the pile of paper for just five seconds. The oil stain should be gone or, at the very least, lighter. Repeat the heating process as much as you can until it doesn’t lift the stain anymore.
This process is not 100% effective. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to the drawing if oil gets to it. The best you can do is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Preventing Eraser Marks: Invest in a High-Standard Eraser
The first thing you may need to do is to replace your eraser. Erasers tend to smudge or make dirty marks around the paper if it is of poor quality. Erasers that little children at grade school use are cheap, but they are damaging to the paper. They will damage the paper, make unsightly eraser marks, and ruin your drawing.
Cheap erasers are often too abrasive. So, invest in a decent eraser. Though those erasers are more expensive by a few bucks, they are worth it.
Use High-Quality Paper
The next thing you should do is examine the type of paper you are using. The lower its quality is, the higher the chances of tearing it when you rub an eraser against it.
Another thing you should think about is how fibrous the paper is. The more glossy the finish of the paper is, the less fibrous it is. Less fibrous paper causes erasers to become dirty. The eraser, in turn, smears over the paper.
Before you use an eraser, make sure that it’s clean. If it’s not, it will make marks on the paper. If it streaks the paper, clean it and try it again. Or better yet, use a kneaded eraser instead.
And if the eraser mark is mixed with oil from your fingers, there’s not much you can do about it, sadly. The techniques on removing oil stains from paper are risky and sometimes not utterly effective. For me, the best method how to get rid of eraser marks is to prevent them altogether.