Tool Time: Peel Off Eraser for Colored Pencil Coloring

 

I'm doing the Snoopy dance!

Why?

One of my students gifted me with a wonderful eraser!

Thanks, Elise!

So why am I all geeked up about an eraser?

Check this out!

Peel Off Magic Rub eraser for colored pencil | VanillaArts.com
Old Soldier, Plastic Eraser | VanillaArts.com

My students are very familiar with my poor, sad, but well loved brick vinyl eraser.

It's pitiful, isn't it?

I know my brick eraser has seen better days but it still works wonderfully... after so many years together, I'm kind'a fond of the ugly thing. It's hard to even consider putting the old gal out to pasture.

But this new pencil style?

Whoa, baby!

It's got all the non-abrasive goodness of my big ugly Brontosaurus combined with a nifty precision tip for getting into teeny areas. This new guy is the Velociraptor of the eraser kingdom. Rawr!

Plus, it has that cool retro peel-off system that I loved as a kid. My dad had tons of wax pencils around the house, they were so bright and fun to color with. Don't tell my dad, but I was the one who peeled an entire dozen new red wax pencils... boy, was he ever mad!

Yes, I've got more than a few click style erasers, but the tip on this pencil version is halfway between the click-stick and the size of the teensy erasers on the electric models. I love this more than the click-sticks.

I have a few students who insist on using the wood pencil style typewriter erasers and those things are absolutely evil to paper. Perhaps this Peel Off Magic Rub eraser will give them the feel of a typewriter eraser without the potential for project killing paper-damage.

Peel-Off Magic Rub Eraser by Sanford. Give it a try. I'm lovin' mine!

 

Affiliate links:

Here area few options for peel-off erasers plus my favorite tiny white eraser

VanillaArts.com
 
 

Tool Time: Drawing Board- find the perfect surface for coloring

 

Quick question for you: are you wearing a bra right now?

Obviously, I'm asking the ladies amongst us. If you're a guy, I really don't want to know if the answer is yes.

If you're a regular bra-wearer, odds are that you are wearing one right now.

Why?

Well, for most of us, undergarments really matter. They make a difference in your comfort level and if it's a good brassiere, you look better in it. That whole lift and separate thing really helps.

I'm going to bet that most of us wouldn't dream of heading out in public sans-support.

 

Next question: what is your current coloring project mounted to?

Huh?

So let me get this straight- you firmly believe in the value of undergarments yet you don't take the same time and care with your artwork?

Honey, we definitely gotta talk. 

 

Coloring should always take place on an ideal and protective surface.

And no, I don't mean on top of a sheet of notebook paper sitting at your kitchen table.

I mean a drawing board. Mounting your projects is a really good habit to get into.

Drawing Boards Improve your coloring results | VanillaArts.com

What is a drawing board?

Here's a picture of a few of my drawing boards in action.

This is a project in progress and below are two more projects in varying states of completion. All are mounted to clip board style drawing boards.

This is the way I always work. Always. The only exception is when I'm teaching live. In classroom settings, a mounted project would be bulky for me to pass around to students. But I always feel a little naked working that way...

Think about it, you are investing several hours of your valuable time into every coloring project. Shouldn't you take care to insure that your work stays clean, unbent, and consistent from start to finish?

You can not guarantee the integrity of your project if you are working loose and willy-nilly on top of a  few sheets of scrap paper.

Things happen.

Art boards prevent many of those things.

 

We've all had one of those face-palm moments when you set your project down on a sticky or greasy table.

I'm a mom of two boys. I know sticky and man-oh-man, do I know greasy. 

Even when a table looks clean, you can still end up with goo on the backside of your project. If you're lucky, the stain stays on the back instead of leaching through. Nothing kills a piece of art faster than a little I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.

If I'm going to place a wager on which surface in my house is completely booger-free, I'm going to bet on my drawing boards. No one ever sets their Twinkie down on my art boards.

So yeah, this part is easy to explain. Stay tidy by using a dedicated art board.

 

taping your project to a board prevents dog ears and creases.

I don't know about you, but my desk is a kill-zone for paper.

Here's a real time sampling of the first six pieces of paper from my stack o' stuff to do.

Every single sheet is bent, creased, or otherwise looks like I drove an Abram's tank over it.

If I didn't mount my art projects to a board, they'd all have a similar Velveteen Rabbit look to them.

Yeah, I do not trust me. Do you really trust you?

 

art boards help insure a consistent stroke quality throughout the entire project.

Line personality varies according to the surface you're using | VanillaArts.com

Do you realize that your marker and pencil strokes are physically different when you work on different surfaces?

Let's say you start out coloring at your crafting desk, then you set the project aside for a few days. When you resume coloring, you are in front of the television using a large atlas as a lap table. The next day, you finish your coloring out on the back deck at your patio table.

Each surface you encounter changes the quality of the lines you make. Check out this quick experiment, four lines each time with the same colored pencil:

Check out the skips that happened when I went over just a slight scratch in my dining room table. It's not even a noticeable scratch and yet my pencil sure found it! Tell me true, how many of you have found a gash in your table the hard way, like right in the middle of a Saturated Canary face after you spent four hours on the hair?

Ugh, just the thought of that makes me sick.

When you use an art board, you can work in the car, in the bedroom, or in the shower without the change of location being evident in your coloring.

 
 

Art boards are cheap and easy to find.

Large and small art boards | VanillaArts.com

Just about every art store carries them. Most craft stores have them too. I've even seen them at big box retailers like Target and Walmart.

They come in lots of sizes and styles. Some have clips, some have handles, they come thick and they come thin, and some even have travel sleeves for greater project protection.

My gray boards are 12 x 16 (I have five) and I use them for the vast majority of my Copic projects. They have a laminate surface so they can be easily cleaned of ink with rubbing alcohol.

For large scale portraits on 19 x 25 paper, I use easel or drafting boards. These are awesome raw wood surfaces with metal edges. They're nice and square so you can use a T-square to run quick guidelines. My big boards are 20 x 26.

Yes, you can use an actual clip board but standard clipboards are sized for office paper. There are benefits to having a larger board. Obviously, the larger the board, the larger the project you can mount to it. And larger boards are easier to use away from the table- they can be a lap desk or you can tilt your large board against the edge of a table for a more comfortable slant.

Large margins on your drawing board protect your art | VanillaArts.com

But here's the real benefit to using a board that is significantly larger than your paper: you will find that having a very wide, unused margin of board around your project gives you space to protect your art. We've all set a pencil down quickly to answer the phone; it is asking for trouble if you set tools on top of your art. With a large board, you will tend to rest items in the margin instead.

Here's that picture from above above again, I've got a dozen pencils conveniently sitting on the edge where they won't damage the art.

 

 

Why tape your project down? Why not just use the clippy thingamabob?

Mount your projects to a drawing board | VanillaArts.com

Ahhhh, young grasshopper. Things are not always what they seem.

Most art boards come with a clip but that clip is absolutely, positively, not, not, not for clipping your artwork!

Clips will damage your paper. They'll either dent it or you'll shift the paper and accidentally crease it against the clip.

So what's the clip for?

For your protective sheet, silly! Here's the correct set up, art is taped, protector sheet is clipped over the top.

I use layout bond-weight paper for the protective cover. It's cheap. It's also somewhat translucent which allows you to see what project is on the board with just a glance. I keep a sheet on each clip board and reuse them over and over.

If I'm travelling, I'll use a sheet of Bristol or illustration board as a cover sheet because it is a little sturdier.

Stack of protected projects | VanillaArts.com

Here's a stack of projects. I have a vertical pegged shelf area for my boards but just as often, they sit on my desk in a stack like this.

By the way, the tape here is NOT masking tape. This is "drafting tape" which holds more firmly than painters tape but less than masking. Like painters tape, it won't leave a residue. Drafting tape is manilla colored like masking tape but it's more translucent. And honestly, I've had some quality control issues with masking tape recently; it doesn't seem to rip cleanly anymore. Not so with drafting tape, cheaper manufacturing changes haven't hit the drafting tape world yet. I buy drafting tape that has ridges running the length of the tape so that I can tell it apart from masking tape on my giant dispenser.

Drafting tape is another one of those fun things which you'll find in the manly-man section of the art or craft store. It's in with the printing and drafting supplies. You know, that aisle with all the rulers and weird pencils that you usually skip. There is a lot of good stuff down that aisle, so give it a tour next time. I know you'll find something cool and useful there, it just won't have the same pretty packaging that crafters are used to. 

 

By the way:

I'm partnering with Dick Blick now. The featured product widget will help provide reference when I mention specific products. I don't know about you but I remember the art on labels much better than actual product names. This way you get to see the products I'm talking about.

I do most of my art shopping at Dick Blick. I think I've put Mr. Blick's grandkids and their neighbor's two dogs through college AND medical school AND law school with what I've spent there over two decades. So if it's listed in one of my product groupings, understand that it is a product that I both own and use.

 

Quick tip video coming next week!

I was going to include a tutorial about how to tape your project in today's post but it got way too long. You've got better stuff to do than read me all day!

Plus, a visual demonstration will be much clearer than a description.

So watch for a link to the video, maybe by Wednesday.

VanillaArts.com

Tool Time: Sticky Tack Erasers- gentle correction for colored pencil

 

Primum non nocere- first, do no harm

Abrasive Detail Erasers- Total Overkill | VanillaArts.com

This is something that runs through my head when a student pulls out one of these to correct a colored pencil mistake.

This is a detail eraser. It is designed to scrub away ink or grease mistakes from office grade, smooth paper. It is a very firm eraser which allows it to be sharpened to a fine point for small areas. It's also highly abrasive which means it rubs away more than just the mistake, it takes off the top layer of stained paper fibers with it.

But for soft, waxy colored pencil on delicately toothy paper?

You might as well use a hand grenade.

If you've got one of these weapons of mass destruction in your art kit, go put it back in the office drawer, where it belongs.

Right now.

I'll wait here.

I've been using colored pencils on an almost daily basis for over 25 years. I can honestly say that I've never encountered a situation where a mistake was so bad that it required stripping off the entire top surface of my paper.

Yes, I've made serious mistakes, but nothing that ever required the use of a hand grenade.

 

Colored pencils work best on toothy paper

Toothy paper for colored pencil | VanillaArts.com

Tooth is texture; tiny little micro mountains that grab and hold colored pencil pigment.

If you've tried using colored pencil on slick paper, you know how hard it is to get it to lay down smooth and not rub off. It's like trying to spread peanut butter on freshly Zambonied ice. You can try but hey, good luck with that.

Paper quality is a big deal; toothy paper is something colored pencil artists pay extra for.And that hand grenade eraser up there? It'll kill your paper.

 

Respect the tooth

Now I'm going to assume that most stamp colorers are using some form of office grade cardstock for colored pencil. There's nothing wrong with that, not all projects deserve special paper.

But that doesn't mean that you can ignore the tooth. In fact, because you're using only moderately textured paper, you need to protect the limited tooth EVEN MORE than someone working on generously toothed, premium cold press paper.

Abrasive erasers wear the paper smooth. The more you rub, the less tooth survives. So yes, you may have removed the offending mistake but when you reapply color, that smoothed area will not grab the colored pencil the way it did before. If you really damage the paper, you'll have a shiny zone that stands out to viewers.

So when you make the inevitable mistake and you reach for an eraser, remember Primum non nocere- first do no harm.

Start with the most gentle eraser you can find. If that doesn't lift the error, then bring out a slightly bigger gun. Do not start with a Tyrannosaurus Rex eraser; start with a soft, fluffy, white bunny rabbit.

 
 

Sticky Tack is the fluffy bunny of the eraser world

Lift mistakes with sticky tack | VanillaArts.com

Sticky tack?

Yep. Poster putty. The stuff that your fourth grade teacher used to put "Hang in There" and "Give a Hoot, Don't Polute" up on the class room walls.

This stuff.

Duck is a good brand, so is Scotch Brand. You want the white kind, not the softer blue or green versions.

Pull off one  strip (there's usually 8-12 strips per package). A single strip is enough to last for at least 6 months. You'll need a small airtight container (film canister sized) to hold your working piece. Pop the rest of the package into a zip lock bag for longer term storage.

 

This is not a kneaded eraser substitute

Gently lift errors with sticky tack | VanillaArts.com

Gray kneaded erasers are for working with charcoal, graphite, and chalky dry pastels. You drag gray erasers across the paper to gently lift powdery marks. Gray erasers are lightly abrasive and they are not sticky enough to lift stubborn and waxy pigments like colored pencil.

Sticky tack is lightly sticky. That's why it works. Use it the same way you used Silly Putty to lift up your favorite Sunday Comics.

  1. Soften and knead the sticky tack into a smooth, warm ball.

  2. Gently press into the surface of the mistake.

  3. The sticky tack will grab the paper; hold the paper down with one hand while gently peeling away the sticky tack with the other.

  4. Knead the residue into the eraser to create new clean surfaces.

  5. Repeat as necessary until you've lifted away the mistake.

Sticky tack lifts colored pencil without damaging the paper | VanillaArts.com

I know it sounds crazy but this stuff really works. Best of all, it doesn't damage the tooth of the paper the way rubbing erasers do.

The other benefit of this lift and remove method is that it eliminates transfer smudges. Let's face it, it's pretty easy to drag Prismacolor pigment into unwanted areas. I wear a drawing glove to prevent hand dragging marks. Rubbing erasers often pull color into your cleaning area... which then requires more rubbing. It's a vicious cycle.

Lifting mistakes straight upward eliminates the potential for eraser smudges.

 

When I make a mistake, I grab the sticky tack eraser first

As I said, start with the fluffy bunny, not the T-Rex.

If the sticky tack can't remove the oops, move up to your white eraser. But give that sticky tack several tries first, because the white eraser will drag and transfer pigment.

But honestly, the sticky tack almost always removes enough of the pigment that I can go back and add the correct color.

Remember, you don't have to get down to naked paper in order to fix a mistake. Most Prismas are fairly opaque and can cover over much of the mistake.

 

So here's the rundown on sticky tack erasers:

Alternate Names-

Sticky tack, poster putty, sticky stuff, adhesive putty

Brands- 

Duck, Scotch... choose a quality WHITE putty. The dollar store stuff was gooey and left residue. The colored versions seem to be softer but less sticky. Make sure it's fresh and clean, the once-used stuff in your junk drawer may have collected grit.

Defining Features-

A soft putty that clings to waxy pigment enough to lift it away but will not damage the paper or leave a residue.

Best used on-

Wax based colored pencil marks and other media that sit on top of the paper surface. Will not work on liquids like ink or paint that absorb into paper fibers.

Price Range-

Very inexpensive. One package will run just a few dollars and provides enough for several years of daily use.

Available at-

Office supply stores, hardware stores, or similar aisles in any big-box retailer.

 

Sticky tack... who'da thunk?

Go get some today, your tooth will thank you for it.

Art tips and tools  VanillaArts.com