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A kneaded eraser is an essential artists’ tool for erasing, yes, but also for blurring edges, highlighting, and using other subtractive drawing techniques. It is made of a flexible gummy material that you can mold to any form or take a small piece of to access hard-to reach areas. Most often, artists use a press-and-lift technique with kneaded erasers rather than rubbing them across surfaces. This method leaves paint undisturbed and does not damage even soft paper. Kneaded erasers are versatile and absorb graphite, charcoal, pastel, and chalk on contact. Browse our selection of the best kneaded erasers below.
Faber-Castell Kneaded Eraser
Simply press this eraser onto graphite for a noticeably clean lift, even in heavily shaded areas. The Faber-Castell kneaded eraser is quite flexible, making it nonabrasive and easy to knead quickly. It also stays soft for a long time when stored correctly. Note that the “medium” size is quite small (measuring less than 1 square inch); the two larger sizes are a better value and more useful.
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Blick Kneaded Eraser
Using Blick’s eraser is a painless experience—once you put in some elbow grease at the start. The plastic wrapper is adhesive and tears easily, making it time-consuming to remove. Once you succeed, the eraser itself feels dense and hard, but dedicate a few minutes to warming it up with kneading and it becomes an excellent eraser. The consistency is not too gooey or too firm, so it is easy to stretch and holds a point for erasing small details. Plus, it is latex- and PVC-free, so those worried about their health or allergies can rest assured.
Prismacolor Kneaded Rubber Eraser
The Prismacolor kneaded eraser (formerly the Design kneaded eraser, for the eraser nerds who are keeping track) is excellent at lifting marks off the page. It’s firm yet buttery, making it a pleasure to use to push and pull charcoal. It also works remarkably well at lightening colored pencil. Occasionally these Prismacolor erasers are hard and nearly impossible to knead from the moment you open the package. Whether that is a quality control issue at the company or something else, it bears noting, though it appears retailers are aware of the problem.
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General’s Kneaded Eraser
Anyone who has used a block eraser knows the aggravating experience of a workspace covered with eraser shreds. Kneaded erasers are a good choice generally for a mess-free experience, and General’s U.S.-made offering is particularly clean. The soft and pliable eraser lifts pencil marks and charcoal off the page and will not disturb watercolor or other paints. Even when rubbing is required, it does not shed. Besides being latex- and PVC-free, it is also lanolin-free, which is a plus for those with sensitive skin.
Lyra Kneadable Eraser
One point of annoyance with kneaded erasers is that, because they are so good at lifting marks off the page, they are also good at lifting everything else off your desk, drawer, or drawing bag. Their stickiness makes them difficult to clean and difficult to transport. Considering all that, it’s a wonder more kneaded erasers don’t come in a carrying case. The Lyra kneaded eraser comes in a small, unobtrusive plastic box that keeps your eraser clean, soft, and portable. The eraser itself is very pliable and easy to use, lifting even soft pencil marks with ease.
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