Jan 26, 2017

Erasers: Your Friend or Enemy? Painting & Drawing Tips


Erasers: Your Friend or Enemy?!
Many of you know I like to golf. And now that the snow is melted, the weather is warming up and the daylight hours are increasing, my thoughts are turning to the course. All golfers have lots of clubs in their bag. To the non-golfer it looks like a lot to just 'whack' the ball down the fairway.  But to us, they all have a place. 

Take for example the chipper.  As you get within 100 yards of the green, a satisfying whack with all you got is no longer possible.  Time for the chipper.  You need to think about the distance. Is it 90 yards or 25? But more important, you need to think about how you want the ball to land. To drop and stop or to roll?  How much roll? Forward or backwards? Not a simple thing. Lots of things to consider. But to make that decision you need to know what your club can do.

Erasers and Drawing have the same story.

Seems simple. You make a mistake, you erase it.  But just like your chip shot, you need to consider other things.  You want to erase the mark but more importantly you need to consider what happens after that. 

First think of your paper. All paper has a tooth, a series of bumps. The graphite is deposited in between the bumps.  When this happens you will see white flecks in the shaded area which gives texture.  When you press really hard you flatten the tooth and get a very shiny, sleek look. 
Different papers have a different size tooth
Now look at your erasers.

There are two main types out there.  The plastic erasure which is white and solid and the kneaded eraser which is soft and malleable. They both erase but in different ways.  With the plastic eraser you apply pressure and rub.  Kind of like that satisfying whack with driver.  You give it all you got and that nasty mess disappears. 

But wait a minute.

What is happening after? What have you done to the tooth of your paper?  If you use smooth paper with little tooth and want a smooth look, you're fine.  I use Rising Museum Board, that has a nice tooth.  I like to contrast the soft fur and feathers of my birds and animals with rough textures in their habitat.  I want my tooth intact after I erase. 
WISHFUL THINKING - Graphite - Notice the soft texture of the cat and bird and the rough texture of the branch

I rely on my kneaded eraser.  This eraser acts more like a low tack tape.  It picks things up.  To use it you shape it into a comfortable ball to hold in your hands and dab at the marks.  The graphite is 'picked up' by the eraser. To get the spot cleaner, you knead the eraser, to clean it. Then reshape and dab again.  Repeat again as needed.  No, you will never get back to the white of the paper again however, you will get close.  This lifting process results in getting rid of the nasty marks but still preserving most of the tooth of the paper.

Shape it to match the area you want to clear. Dab and lift. Notice the graphite on it. Knead it around so you have a clean spot, reshape and dab and lift. Do this several times to get it lighter. 

Erasers are more than just a Mess Buster.

Erasers can help in your drawing.  You want a sharp, clean white edge.  Use an eraser guard with the shape you want, take that plastic eraser and rub away.  You need a soft edge to blend your shadow line, take that kneaded eraser and gentle rub it over the area. Don't clean it, just gently rub it. Need a little highlight spot, shape you kneaded eraser into a point and 'lift out' your highlight. Like to work in the negative space. Lay down your mid value and then use your kneaded eraser to lift out the lights.  Brighten them up with your plastic eraser. 

The Crowning Touch in Erasing
Yes, there is a crowning touch to erasing.  Not like golf, when you have that magic moment of chipping your ball into the hole, but just as up-lifting.  It comes with 'The Brush'.  

The Great Encourager - whisking away debris on your picture with a brush!
Have a soft brush, approximately 1-1.5 inches wide, dedicated to your drawing.  After you erase, and there are particles on your surface, don't blow or whisk them away with your hand.  Pick up your brush and gently brush them away.  In that moment of brushing you will feel sooooo professional. That is a 'professional moment'.  When you are feeling despair at the mess, brushing it way with a brush gives you that professional feel.  Wonderful encouragement. You're ready to carry on.  (See my last post on dealing with Drawing Despair here.) 

Have you found some erasing secrets to share?  Add them to the comments below.

Take the Plunge and start drawing!  If you want some help I have several ways to help:

1. Zentangle Doodle Card Classes: Thursday, Feb 16, 1:30 - 3:30pm & 6-8pm Expressions Art Gallery, Maple Ridge.  Saturday, Feb. 18, 10:30-12:30 (FULL) & 2-4pm. , Art by Wendy Studio, N. Surrey   $30 Supplies Included. We will be working with mice and owls on our Zentangle Doodle Cards  (you knew I would have animals somewhere) Contact Wendy to REGISTER

2. Buy a few of my Zentangle Doodle Cards and start  Colouring. See my collection here.   They are fabulous fun, just imagine how special your cards will be when you personalize them like that.  Those special people in your life will cherish your cards.

3. Private Drawing Lessons -  2.5 hr sessions in my studio, flexible scheduling to fit your schedule. 3 lesson package $225. Beginners to Adanced are welcome.  Adults, Teens and Younger Students. ( $35 for 1 hour sessions for younger students.) more info here

Special Note to Artists: 
February is Marketing Month for Artists, time to really work on your Business Plan. Join me for a full day of getting ready to make 2017 your Best Sales Year ever.  

All day Marketing Workshop - Let's Get Your Art Out There - Sunday, Feb 26 or March 5, 10-3pm.  This is an opportunity to work with a small group focusing on ways that work for you, to market your art.  Whether you are looking at full time or part Art Sales, there are effective, proven strategies that will get your work out the door. $70 Limited to 8 per session.  Art by Wendy Studio/Gallery, N. Surrey, BC.  REGISTER NOW  with Wendy.   Out of Towners  & Skytrainers give me a call and we can set something up.

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