Erasing Colored Pencils can be tough to get right without the proper tools. So I’m here to show you how to erase those colored pencil marks completely.
As an artist, I tend to use colored pencils mostly to sketch. Red pencils, to be precise! And if you want to improve your colored pencils drawings, I highly recommend you check out my Article on Color Theory for Artists!
So how can you erase colored pencils? The best ways to erase colored pencils are by using a kneaded eraser, an eraser pencil, artist tape, or an electric eraser. If you’re using erasable colored pencils, they will be much easier to erase with these erasers than regular colored pencils.
Now, we’ll talk about how to erase a colored pencil, but first of all, is your colored pencil easily erasable?
Erasable Colored Pencils
Most colored pencils are hard to erase, and in truth, most of the time it will be impossible! At best, you’ll be able to lighten up the lines you’ve made with your pencil.
But, don’t worry, for not all is lost!
There are actually some brands that make erasable color pencils.
The Prismacolor, Col-Erase Pencils (on Amazon) are a great choice for this!
These pencils are specifically made to be easily erased, and you can find them on Amazon. If not by Prismacolor, there are other cheaper brands with this type of pencil, although I can’t vouch for their quality. Do let me know if you try any of them!
Another option of a good erasable colored pencil is using a red pencil, such as the Faber-Castell Polychromos (here on Amazon), which I constantly use when sketching traditionally.
I’ve used this red pencil for ages, and I highly recommend it!
Finally, one more option for you to use is the Caran d’Ache Prismalo Pencils (here on Amazon). Lately, I’ve been using these colored pencils a lot and I really like them!
These pencils are water-soluble, which makes them softer, and that means it’s also easier to erase if needed! Although, once again, some of the colors will still remain on paper.
Up until a few years ago, I would sketch and draw mostly with graphite, but since discovering colored pencils for sketching I haven’t been able to go back to it!
Colored pencils tend to be softer than graphite, so I can make smoother, more dynamic moves with my pencil and the color contrast also helps me see my sketch much better.
These are specially useful if you’re drawing quick motions, such as the ones you do while Gesture Drawing (and here’s a complete guide on it).
So, if you haven’t tried sketching with colored pencils yet, I do recommend giving them a try!
How To Erase Colored Pencil With Erasers
When trying to erase colored pencils, a regular eraser just won’t do.
It will probably smudge your paper or worse, damage it! (read more about my Recommended Erasers here)
So let’s go over the actual best erasers that you can use to erase colored pencil.
Kneaded erasers are very malleable, so you can shape them with your hands however you want! In my opinion, these are some of the best erasers you can use to erase colored pencils.
Not only can they erase colored pencils quite well, but it can also erase graphite, charcoal, and pastels as well. Kneaded erasers are usually more suitable to erase smaller areas rather than big ones.
Especially with colored pencils, remember to mold and stretch this eraser every single time you use it on your drawing. This is so that the pigment won’t smudge your paper again with leftover color from using it before.
You can also just rub the kneaded eraser on an extra piece of paper. This way, you have somewhere you can use to clean your eraser.
To use the kneaded erasers to erase colored pencils, simply be sure that they’re clean and rub them on the area you want to erase. If you need to erase small details, do roll up your kneaded eraser so it has a pointy end!
There are two types of eraser pencils that you can use to erase colored pencils.
The first one is basically a pink or white retractable eraser inside a plastic pen, such as the one below.
These “eraser pencils” are very useful since they are refillable and last a long time.
Another type of eraser pencils, are actually pencils that work as erasers!
For example, these ones by Faber-Castell (view on Amazon).
These eraser pencils are basically a pink eraser inside a pencil. These usually last a very long time as well and are perfect for erasing small pencil areas. You can also just use a normal pencil sharpener on these eraser pencils to keep them sharp.
I highly recommend these ones if you’re looking to fix small mistakes in your colored pencil artwork.
Artist tape is a type of tape explicitly made to be used on paper.
The reason is that it doesn’t have as much adhesive as regular plastic tape.
To use artist tape to erase colored pencils, follow these steps:
- Cut a small piece of artist tape
- Apply it to the area you want to erase
- Let it rest for a few seconds
- Lif the tape off!
And that’s it. The pigment of the colored pencils (or regular pencils) will stick to the tape and erase any mistake you made.
This can be a tricky technique, though. You can easily miss the spot you want by accident or, if you’re not careful, take some small pieces of the paper you’re drawing on.
But it’s all a matter of practice.
And if you’re unsure, just practice on a piece of paper with some loose colored pencil lines until you’re confident in your artist tape skills!
Many artists love to use electric erasers to erase colored pencils. They are highly practical!
This eraser can erase even very dark marks that would be difficult to erase by hand.
Not only that, but you can even create some highlights with this eraser, which gives a wonderful effect to your drawings.
To use an electric eraser, simply charge it first and turn it on! Then you just need to go through the areas you need to erase and press it on them.
I really recommend you to go easy on it though. This is an electric eraser, so it has a lot of power!
I’d advise you to practice with the electric eraser a bit before using it in actual pieces. This way you can get the hang of it with time and better understand how to use it.
Whenever you feel confident with your electric eraser, go wild with it! It’s really a strong tool in your artist toolkit.
How To Erase Colored Pencils Without An Eraser
There are actually quite a few ways to erase colored pencils without an eraser.
This one might sound very weird, but a trendy alternative for when you’re in a pickle and have no eraser around is to use bread to erase colored pencils!
No, I’m not joking!
Just take out a bit of white bread (no crust) and roll it into a ball, then use it gently. The same way you would with a kneaded eraser.
It might sound pretty surreal and a waste of bread, but if you have nothing else, do give it a try!
Rubber bands and, honestly, anything rubbery can also work very well to erase colored pencils.
You just need to rub them in your pencil drawing to erase the lines!
Just be careful that it doesn’t smudge your work, so test it first in a separate piece of paper to ensure you won’t mess up your drawings.
Another curious option, if you’re really with your hands tied, would be using the sides of a flip-flop to erase pencils!
Since it’s also a rubbery object, it could do the job. Although it’s a very big item, so if you have no intention of using it anymore, maybe cut some smaller pieces so you can use them and be able to see what you’re doing!
Erasing Colored Pencil Marks on Watercolor
If you’re a watercolors fan and struggle with the pencil marks that just won’t leave your paper, this section is for you!
Erasing colored pencil marks on watercolor can be hard, but there are some useful ways to do it.
Once you applied your watercolors, it makes it hard to erase your pencil sketch underneath it.
Still, if you use a kneaded eraser such as the ones we’ve mentioned before, it should work out most of the times!
With that said, the best way to deal with this problem is how you work with your pencils before applying the watercolors.
- Use a soft pencil: soft pencils, such as the ones we’ve mentioned before, are easier to erase and easier to use lightly. This way, you can erase it at will or make almost no pressure on your paper, and your sketch will be very light and not very visible. Later, when you’re painting with watercolors, you won’t see any of it, and since there wasn’t a lot of pressure, your paper won’t be marked either!
- Erase most of the sketch: after sketching your drawing, erase it as much as possible until you can’t almost see it! Having as few graphite lines or colors in your paper as possible, will prevent the sketch lines from being seen later on.
- Use watercolor pencils: by using watercolor pencils in the same range of colors that you’re going to paint with, will make them blend with colors much easier! It will also make them dissolve when you’re painting, making your sketch lines disappear completely. Just don’t put too much pressure on them while you’re sketching, so you don’t mark your paper, and they can dissolve easily.
Talking about watercolor pencils, I recommend this watercolor pencil pack from Artisto (on Amazon).
In general, if you keep your lines soft as you sketch and as you practice, you’ll learn to use the watercolors to your advantage.
Eventually, you’ll be able to hide your previous lines and make them look like they never existed!
Another option, which many artists use, is to use the original sketch lines in your drawing. This is more of a messy look in some cases, but it can work really well when done properly!
If that’s your style, the lines can also be part of your pieces.
It all comes down to personal taste!
How To Erase Colored Pencils With A Regular Eraser
As we’ve mentioned before, erasing colored pencils is harder than erasing regular graphite pencils.
So to erase colored pencils with a regular eraser, you just need to erase them normally by rubbing the eraser on the paper softly.
With that said, and as we covered in this article, you should avoid using a regular eraser for colored pencils.
Instead, use a kneaded eraser or one of the other options such as the electric eraser or artist tape.
These erasers will make it much easier to erase colored pencils than a regular eraser does.
Remember: Don’t Erase Too Hard!
When using any artistic material such as erasers, it all comes down to this: don’t use them too hard, be gentle with your materials.
Especially since you’re erasers to erase colored pencil, it can make a mess out of your work!
When using materials too hard, chances are, you’re going to ruin your work.
Learn to use your tools and how much pressure you should apply to them according to the effect you want.
This happens mainly because you believe more in yourself and feel more confident. You stop worrying about the end result and just take pleasure from drawing.
The same applies to erasing! The ideal way is to just try to not use erasers at all. Little by little, try just to let erasers go, keeping your mistakes in your sketchbook pages, learning with them and, with practice, later on, you won’t repeat them.
Of course, this isn’t possible if you’re trying to draw with a pen on top of a pencil sketch! To do this you need to erase the underlying sketch lines one way or the other.
But if you’re sketching just to learn and practice, do try to use the eraser less and less. Embrace the mistakes, sketch lightly and keep going for the next sketch instead of wasting time erasing!
Summing It Up
There’s a lot of possibilities and different kinds of erasers you can try and save your drawings with. Colored pencils might be harder to clean and lift from the paper, but it’s doable. You can use kneaded erasers, eraser pencils, artist tape, or even an electric eraser to erase colored pencils.
So experiment as much as you want, gain confidence using your tools and try different erasers until you find one you like to have close by whenever you need!
And now that we’ve gone over how to erase colored pencils, it’s time to practice! Here are 5 anatomy drawing exercises to practice right now.