Types of Erasers and When to Use Them

Us amateur artists tend to pick up whatever eraser is within reach when we’re busy sketching. This does not always end well as we sometimes destroy the paper as well as the sketch we have been carefully trying to create. To make sure that never happens again, we’ve compiled a handy list of the types of erasers you can use:

  1. Vinyl Erasers
Mars® plastic 526 50
Staedtler Mars Plastic Vinyl Eraser (Image Courtesy: Amazon)

These are the erasers you are most familiar with. Also known as ‘plastic’ or ‘drafting’ erasers, they are among the toughest erasers on this list. They are most commonly found in white but are also available in different colours and many shapes.

These erasers usually leave behind dust. They can be used to erase graphite, charcoal and even ink. Given their toughness, vinyl erasers should be used with light pressure so as not to harm your paper.

2. Pencil Erasers

The Tombow pencil eraser (Image Courtesy: Amazon)

AKA ‘erasils’ or ‘eraser tip pencils’. These are pencils with eraser tips that can be sharpened. They also come in the form of mechanical pencils. Some pencil erasers come with a brush attached to the top, to help you clean away the dust left in its wake.


Pencil erasers are vinyl erasers so they can be harsh on paper. They are useful when you’re trying to erase away minute details.

3. Rubber Erasers

These are perhaps the second most common erasers found. You usually find them on the top of pencils. Rubber erasers are commonly pink. They are firm to touch and leave behind dust. Though less damaging than vinyl erasers, rubber erasers still need to be used gently on paper.

4. Gum Erasers

Sargent Artist Gum Eraser (Image Courtesy: Amazon)

Also known as ‘art erasers’, they are soft and translucent. Gum erasers tend to crumble so it is best to not use it when trying to erase fine lines and details in your sketch. However, given its softness gum erasers are good to your paper.

5. Kneaded Erasers

Cretacolor Kneadable Eraser (Image Courtesy: Amazon)

These are soft and pliable like clay. They are grey in colour, and as the name suggests it can be kneaded into any shape that you want– making it excellent for precision work. It is suitable for both graphite and charcoal. Since it lifts the pigment from the paper, it does not leave behind any dust and doesn’t harm the paper in any way. Keep in mind that kneaded erasers are not suitable for erasing large spaces.

Since they are sticky, remember to store them in a box or any place where dust is unlikely to gather.

(Need more tips on how to store art materials? Read here.)

6. Sand Erasers

Tombow Mono Sand Eraser (Image Courtesy: Amazon)



The least known, sand erasers are made from latex and silica. They are very tough and can erase colour pencils and ink– in some cases even marker ink. But given their toughness, they can harm your paper. It is best to use these erasers when you want to make highlights, or any such purpose that requires using them in a small area.


Have we missed out on any kind of eraser that you use? Let us know in the comments below!



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