Try to put your eraser aside to improve your sketches

I rarely use an eraser nowadays when sketching and drawing. I currently  have two: a kneaded eraser that I use to lighten up bold pencil strokes after inking, and the other one is a tiny eraser on my favorite mechanical pen, which I never really erase with.

It wasn’t intentional to stop using erasers a couple of years ago, it just kinda happened. Due to laziness  ◠◡◠ And after a while, I actually started to see the benefits with this while sketching. Who knew!

Below are some of the perks I’ve discovered:

Cat sketches


You get bolder

Just like with sports and music, or gaming, the more you repeat and practice, the more confident you’ll become! I wish I understood this earlier, especially as a kid.

You’ll end up with more sketches to pick and choose from

This is awesome. If you repeat and redraw your sketch, instead of erasing and correcting an actual one, you can actually compare and pick out the nice parts from each sketch.

Repeating instead of fixing helps you loosen up faster

Try it out next time you’re taking a figure drawing class. For instance, say that the model will hold the same pose for 5 minutes, I often draw two or three sketches of the exact same pose during this time. The last one often turns out to look the most confident.

You start using the same approach when sketching digitally

Yes, definitely. When I moved to digital media, I actually started underestimating making art the traditional way. Photoshop felt limitless. It can be both good an bad though. I actually thought that if I learn to master digital media, I’ll become a better artist. Well, it was very humbling to realize I was wrong. I was forgetting about the fundamentals, and that it applies everywhere. Nowadays I actually prefer trying new ideas by scribbling on paper first, before diving into the digital part.

Cat sketches

For me, a physical sketch isn’t really a final product or piece. I treat my sketchbook as a sand box, it doesn’t even have to be pretty!  Thinking that way, helps me take away the pressure of creating something perfect on the first attempt, or at all. It allows me to work fast and experiment, knowing that with enough attempts, I increase my chances to end up with a final result that I eventually like!

What do you say? To erase, or not to erase? Challenge yourself and try to toss your eraser for a week, and see how it feels. Be brave, and have fun!  ◠◡◠



  1. Miguel 5 May, 2016 at 23:09

    Is this really related to a sketch or life in general?

    Interesting fact, i did the exact contrary way, compared to you, i always, never used a eraser, i start using it, because my friends always said to me “Dude, use a eraser! Clean this mess!”

    I kinda trained myself to do it. But as for now, since my last sketchbook got filled (that was 2 years ago) i never even draw on paper anymore.

    Fun fact: I’m so used to drawing digitally, that the last time i was drawing on paper, when i messed up, my left hand start looking for the “ctrl+z” until a few seconds later i realized that i wasn’t on a computer, lol.

    But this week as a homage to you, i’m gonna be extra brave and not even create a sketch layer on my drawings!

    I’m going commando style!

    Btw, Love your art.

    1. Andrea 17 May, 2016 at 16:54


      Haha I can relate, I hit “ctrl+z” too if I haven’t drawn analogly in a while :D Good luck with your layer challenge! Let me know how it’s going.

      And thanks! :)

  2. Marcel 5 May, 2016 at 23:32

    I almost never use an eraser since… ehm… a few years? My first figure drawing teacher during my apprenticeship collected all the erasers at the start of each lesson, which was hard at first, because I was used to it. But after a short time i began to love it. It forces you to pre-visualize the thing you want to draw in your mind, or to really look at the object / person you draw. To me it was a great help. Nowadays I sometimes roll a kneaded eraser over a rough sketch to lighten up the graphite, much like lowering the opacitiy of a layer, before I shade or clean up the sketch / drawing. Other then that… no eraser for me! :)

    1. Andrea 17 May, 2016 at 16:56

      Oh lucky! I never had that excersise, but it’s really beneficial. Lowering the opacity was really well put, it feels exactly like that when using a kneaded eraser :D
      Good stuff!


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