A kneaded eraser is an eraser that can be kneaded, compressed, or molded into any shape to erase marks. It allows for more precision than your typical rubber-like eraser.
It acts as an eraser and is a drawing tool to create highlights and different textures.
Another name for kneaded eraser is the putty eraser. They come in different colors like pink, green, blue, etc., and their properties are like chewing gum.
It smoothly picks up the pigments from the paper and does not leave any marks or paper crumbs. All these properties make it an ideal fixative for your art.
You can use kneaded erasers to erase pencil drawings, pastel drawings, and charcoal drawings, etc.
Putty erasers can be molded into any shape and can be used to erase small areas. It is great for use in realistic drawing.
If your kneaded eraser becomes dirty or loses its stickiness, you can re-knead it to restore the rubbery texture.
It is one must art material which you should have in your art box.
How to use kneaded eraser
The best way to use a Kneaded eraser is not to rub like an ordinary eraser. You should press it very lightly on the paper and then lift it, and it will pick up the marks on your paper without messing with any other part of it.
Since they are made from special materials, there is no fear of getting them dirty or blackened.
It will be able to pick up graphite marks without leaving behind any smudge or paper particles.
After use, you should knead the eraser gently by folding it into itself and then re-shape it because it will harden if left in a single shape for days.
Unwrap the Kneaded Eraser
Kneaded eraser normally comes with a thin plastic wrapper on it, and you first need to unwrap it from its package. Sometimes some plastic wrap will stick to the eraser, and if it sticks to the eraser, you do not need to remove it carefully.
Pull them on both sides to stretch
It will be in a rectangle shape, and you need to pull them on both sides to stretch it. Then mold back to one-pieces and compress it. The eraser has to stick property in it, so it will easily stick when compressed.
Again pull it on both sides and repeat this exercise till the eraser becomes relatively soft.
Kneaded Eraser is ready
It should be a hard solid initially, but after a few seconds of kneading it using your hands, you will feel it has become flexible and rubbery. After this point, it is ready for use.
Different Techniques using a Kneaded Eraser
It is not the tool but the technique adopted by the artist which makes a great difference in the final artwork.
Highlight Areas using Kneaded Eraser
You can create beautiful highlights, i.e., white highlights on dark backgrounds. An example is when drawing hair using a pencil, there will be a light reflection on the hair, and the hair appears to be white, and they will appear to be thin white or grey lines along with black lines.
If you use white pencil, it normally blends with black and will not give you the desired result of hair.
Instead, if you knead the eraser pointedly and erase it in the direction of the hair, it will look realistic. Try for yourself.
Can be used for Creating Different Texture
You can use a kneaded eraser to create different textures in drawing.
In a drawing, you can create a variety of textures like rough textures, scratchy surfaces, smooth surfaces, skin textures, hairy textures, etc.
For example, it is good for creating a mountain landscape with forests and bushes on the ground, and it would be much better when compared to using a tortillon stick.
Two things can create different textures
Mold the Putty eraser Pointy, Flat, Thin – You need to mold the eraser in different ways for your desired result. If you want some sharp textures like hair or edges, you need to mold your eraser thin. If you want to do skin textures to show pores, you need to mold your eraser pointy. If you want to create a bushy texture, then make it flat and tap it on your drawing for bushy results.
Application of Pressure: You need to apply pressure depending on the value you want to create for the texture. If you want a dark texture, then apply light pressure, and if you want a light texture, apply heavy pressure.
Remove unwanted Marks from Paper
When drawing using graphite or charcoal, you can find many marks on the paper at the time of completion. Knowingly or unknowingly, you would have touched and left marks on the paper.
Using a normal eraser may remove the graphite and the paper’s surface and may still leave marks on the paper.
Using a Putty eraser removes the graphite or the charcoal mark without removing any paper particles.
How do you clean a Kneaded Eraser?
There is nothing like cleaning a kneaded eraser, and we shall understand how to use it when it becomes dirty.
On using the eraser continuously, the surface of the eraser will become black with graphite or charcoal. It would help if you stretched it and molded it to reveal another area of the eraser. It would be great if you kept repeating this process many times, so the eraser becomes soft.
The surface becomes clean, and you can use it for erasing now again.
You can keep the eraser in a small closed box or container so that it does not get dust on its surface.
The eraser is sticky, and it quickly absorbs dust, and it won’t be easy to use.
Do kneaded erasers dry out?
A kneaded eraser combines clay and synthetic rubber, forming a highly soft product that picks up graphite or charcoal from your paper. When it’s dirty, you re-work the eraser by kneading it, and it will start erasing effectively.
If you keep it outside and not used for a long time, it can get dried and get dust and may become brittle and unusable.
I suggest you keep it in a sealed container to avoid dust. You can always knead it, and it will erase perfectly fine.
What are the Advantages of using a Kneaded Eraser?
Kneaded erasers are not alone erasers. They are also Art tools.
They are very good for precision and realistic drawing. You can use it for creating highlights in charcoal or pencil drawings.
Using the putty eraser does not create any dust or residue, and the eraser absorbs the particles from graphite or paper.
It can be used for several months and years and is long-lasting.
What are the Disadvantages of using a Kneaded Eraser?
The one disadvantage I feel in these erasers are they are not good for erasing larger area. Also, in areas where the marks are darker and hard, it isn’t easy to remove, and you require a normal eraser for those kinds of marks.
What is the Price of a Kneaded Eraser?
A kneaded eraser varies from place to place, but the average price range is between $3 to $7.
It also depends on the shape and size as well as the brand.
In general, it is comparatively cheaper than any normal eraser.
The kneaded eraser is a long-term investment in your art box.
Where can you buy a Kneaded Eraser?
You can buy a kneaded eraser from a local art store or an art gallery, where you get a variety of brands and shapes.
But if you are looking for a brand-name product online, Amazon.com would be the best place to find different varieties of kneaded erasers at affordable prices.
Do kneaded erasers last forever?
Theoretically, a kneaded eraser can last forever if it is well maintained, like keeping in a closed box after use. As you keep using the eraser on pencil marks and charcoal marks, they absorb all the particles from the paper.
After several days they become brittle and lose their stickiness, and that is the time you need to change it. As these erasers are affordable and easily available everywhere, one should not think too much about changing them.
Kneaded erasers are a great investment for any artist and can be used in realistic drawing.
You can use these versatile tools to erase mistakes and make highlights on pencil drawing artwork.
So if you’re an artist of any kind who needs precision when it comes to removing marks from their sketchbooks, try using this tool instead of the typical rubber one finds at most stores today.
You’ll find that not only does it work better but is fun too!