Eraser Rules

Charcoal still life
Charcoal still life

Most students I have taught (and me too) tend to quickly judge that a drawn  is not good enough, is bad, or at least, could be better. So, what do we do? We rub it out and start again. At the extreme end some students hold tight to their ‘adjuster’ and correct and adjust to such an extent that they don’t allow themselves to draw freely. They usually don’t enjoy the process based on their frustration at not getting it right. The work they end up with shows that frustration. It is tight and controlled and not particularly pleasing in it’s attempted accuracy SO…. If you want to erase then here are some tips.

  • Draw the new line based on the old one. Use the already drawn line to give you a reference point to draw the new one. Chances are high that you will not ‘correct’ the line sufficiently if you don’t.
  • Don’t erase everything. We have a habit of doing that because we have a ‘This is terrible – start again -‘ state of mind. However often it is only one small area that needs correction. If we rub the whole thing out then we might make the same mistake again or introduce a new error.
  • Once you have made the correction it is easier to leave the original line. Not only does it not matter, it may improve the drawing. It shows the process and it hints at the subject having movement (even in a still life). It shows something interesting and may be a hook to engage the viewer.
  • Use the eraser as a creative tool. ‘Draw’ with it by making light marks that compliment your drawing.  This particularly useful in charcoal work with a kneadable eraser.

Get Drawing!

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