Erasable colored pencils are the topic for today, after a reader asked the following question.
I’ve heard of erasable coloured pencils. What is your experience with them?
What are Erasable Pencils?
In short, erasable colored pencils are colored pencils that made with a unique binding agent. You can use them just like regular colored pencils, but they’re not permanent. In fact, they’re quite easy to erase, hence the name.
Col-Erase is an erasable pencil from Prismacolor. Crayola also makes a line of colored pencils you can easily erase.
I have no experience with this type of colored pencils. Mostly, I suppose, because I’ve never seen the need for them.
But Brenda Matsen does use Col-Erase pencils.
Brenda uses them for her line drawing, then layers regular colored pencils over them. Here’s what she had to say about them in the September 2021 issue of CP Magic!:
[Col-Erase pencils] erase well and lift off nicely with a kneaded eraser. I keep them sharp and use light pressure.Brenda Matsen
I also choose colors that go well with my project, just in case some color might stay behind.
They aren’t advertised as lightfast but rather as erasable and break resistant. I only use them for line drawing which doesn’t need to last. They keep a good point.
The Bottom Line
As I mentioned above, I’ve never used Col-erase or any other erasable colored pencils. But I can see applications in which they would be useful. Brenda’s method of using them to make line drawings is probably the best one.
You could also use them for the initial layers if you’re not sure of the best colors to use. If you don’t like the first color, erase it, then try another. When you’ve found the best color, then go over it again with regular colored pencils of the same color.
Col-Erase and other types of erasable colored pencils are also good for craft applications or adult coloring books. If it’s not important that your artwork last a long time, then there’s nothing wrong with using erasable pencils.
But if you’re doing work for sale or commission work, then use erasable pencils for the line drawing as Brenda does, and use archival, artist quality pencils for shading and rendering.