You’ve mapped out a beautiful pencil drawing on your canvas and you’re ready to grab the paint. Suddenly, you’re worried that the pencil lines are going to show through. And what about all of the stray pencil lines that should be there to begin with? You need an eraser that can stand up to the strongest pencil lines on paper or canvas. Here are my top choices:
1. Staedtler Mars
2. Electric Eraser
3. Kneaded Eraser
We’re going over the best erasers that can stand the best chance of scrubbing the pencil marks off of your canvas. Next, we’ll talk about tips and techniques for erasing pencil lines from canvas to ensure that you’re putting these rockstar erasers to the best use.
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1. Staedtler Mars: Best Erasers for Canvas
Staedtler Mars erasers are firm and easy to control. They fit well in the hand, which can give you a strong grip on them in order to really scrub out stubborn graphite lines.
When I look at my Staedtler Mars erasers, I’m transported back to my childhood days when I scrubbed my paper into dust trying to get Mickey Mouse’s cheeks just right.
Even though I’ve moved on from Mickey Mouse, these are still some of my favorite erasers.
The reason why these magical Mars erasers work so well on paper and canvas is because of how firm they are. It’s easy to get a good grip on them and scrub away at your canvas without being left with a pile of eraser dust and nothing to show for it. Check out the example below!
2. Electric Erasers: Best Erasers for Canvas
If you’ve never heard of electric erasers, you’re in for a treat. Electric erasers are my go-to for stubborn pencil lines. I have the AFMAT electric eraser, which you can see below!
An electric eraser basically puts precision and horsepower behind your eraser strokes. Personally, I think it’s SO much fun to use! It’s like a little power tool. It also comes with a LOT of erasers, which is a big benefit! I had to find a place to store all of them!
What I love about this eraser is that, despite the horsepower, you don’t need to put a lot of pressure on your canvas or paper. No pushing or scrubbing. I love how I can just push the button on the eraser and move it where I need it without having to put a lot of effort into it.
If you’re skeptical about what an electric eraser can do, check out the example below. It does a pretty good job! I also have a post where I use this electric eraser with colored pencils if you want to see how it fairs with that!
3. Kneaded Eraser: Best Erasers for Canvas
If you have a canvas with a lot of tooth, you might get frustrated with all of the eraser dust you create while trying to get the graphite out of every last nook and cranny. This is when a kneaded eraser will become your best friend.
You won’t want to use a kneaded eraser for the majority of your erasing. It’s designed to be soft and the flexibility of it is what makes it so great.
For the large bulk of your pencil lines, you’ll want to use either a Staedtler Mars or an electric eraser. Once you’re at the final step where you’re trying to remove any last nagging spots of graphite, that’s when your kneaded eraser will come in handy.
Ok, so now that we’ve covered the best erasers for getting rid of pencil lines on your canvas, let’s talk about technique. These erasers will do a great job on their own, but here are some ways to step up their game. Get your dish soap read (yes, I’m serious).
Tips for Erasing Pencil from Canvas
1. Put something behind your canvas so you have more traction
If you’re using a stretched canvas, you might as well be erasing on a trampoline. Everytime you push down with your eraser, the canvas sinks and then pushes back at you. This makes it really hard to develop the pressure you need to get a good erasing streak going.
Try putting a book or box underneath your canvas in order to limit the bounciness of it. This will give you more traction while you’re erasing, which will ultimately make each stroke of your eraser more effective.
2. Grab some soapy water and a toothbrush
Believe it or not, the common hygiene products you regularly keep in your bathroom can do wonders for removing pencil lines from your canvas. Simply dip a clean toothbrush in soapy water and gently scrub your canvas. Gently!
You can also dab some soapy water onto your canvas and then use your handy Staedtler Mars eraser on top of it to remove your lines. You’ll be amazed at how well this works. If you don’t believe me, check out the video to see for yourself.
Of course, be careful not to soak your canvas or to scrub too hard.
3. Next time, don’t use graphite on your canvas
This won’t help your current graphite-canvas ordeal, which is why I left it to the end. If trying to erase your pencil lines has been anything but fun, you’ve probably realized that canvases and pencils don’t mix very well.
Ideally, only use pencils on your canvases if you plan to use thick coats of paint on them. If you’re planning to use lighter colors and thinner layers, you’ll want to avoid your pencil altogether.
If you’re feeling up to it, try “sketching” with the paint itself.
You’re probably thinking you can’t even call it sketching if you’re using a paintbrush.
I totally get it.
There’s no perfect solution for mapping out a painting, but hopefully these tips have helped you combat some of your stubborn pencil lines so that you can paint your masterpiece.
Go forth and create great art.
Diana has been an artist for over 26 years and has training in drawing, painting, digital drawing and graphic design. Diana’s latest obsession is digitally drawing with Procreate and creating t-shirt designs with Canva. Diana has experience selling her art across a number of platforms and loves helping other artists learn how to make money from their art as well.