I read an answer here which says:

If you are doing technical drawings on a smooth, heavyweight paper, or paper with a "shiny" surface due to size, plastic erasers will be the way to go most of the time

On the other hand, if you are producing artwork using soft textured papers you will probably need kneaded (gummy) erasers, as rubber and vinyl wil tend to flatten the areas you erase, leaving "shiny" spots, and any abrasive in the eraser will fray the surface or even tear the paper.

This article also mentions something similar:

Vinyl erasers, also called plastic erasers, are the toughest erasers on this list. If not used carefully, they can easily tear through paper. These erasers are definitely handy as they can erase almost anything, even ink!

However, I'm doubtful about these. Because I was checking reviews online about Tombow Mono Plastic Eraser and no one mentioned such thing like it will tear or harm the paper. Further it has very good reviews on Amazon. And it mentions that it does not damage the paper.

So it could be possible that vinyl is a form of plastic eraser which is harsh on paper, so it removes ink too.

But the quotes from answer I mentioned above, has probably nothing to do with ink. So I'm not really sure if I should use plastic erasers like the one I mentioned above, or not.

But what I conclude from the quotes I mentioned is that you should use Plastic erasers on a smooth and heavy paper, like Canson Bristol smooth paper. (You should use gum erasers?)

But I want to talk specifically about non-smooth and less heavy paper.

I use a sketchbook like this, with 160 gsm page. Note that paper is not very smooth. It has some visible texture, just like most casual non expensive sketchbooks. One example is the sketchbooks from brand named Brustro (in case you want to have a look, you can find it by searching the name).

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So, I'm not really sure if those statements were true for all kinds of plastic erasers or some certain category of plastic/vinyl erasers. What should I conclude more accurately?

1 Answer 1


The issue isn't quite as cut and dry as the title of the question. Paper comes in a range of "non-smoothness", tailored to different kinds of media and different appearances. The effectiveness of plastic erasers depends somewhat on the paper, the media you're applying to it, and using the eraser properly.

Paper and Media

With smooth paper, the erasable media you are probably drawing with is pencil. Vinyl erasers are great for that combination. But you can also use pencils with non-smooth paper. Those papers will be harder to erase pencil from. Vinyl erasers will still erase pencil well. But if the pencil marks are well-embedded, you'll be tempted to apply excessive pressure, which could flatten the paper's surface texture and erase tooth, turning the surface smooth and maybe shiny. That will affect the surface appearance, but it won't interfere with your ability to redraw with pencil in the same spot.

If you're using toothy paper because you're drawing with powdery media (like charcoal or pastels), there are several differences. The tooth is necessary; if aggressive erasure turns the surface smooth, it will noticeably affect the appearance of the media that is subsequently applied. Powdery media also loads up the eraser more. A kneaded eraser is better for this combination because it can hold more media on its surface than a vinyl one, and it's harder to abuse the paper with it.


Both kneaded erasers and vinyl erasers are designed to work mainly by lifting the media off the paper. The media sticks to the eraser better than it sticks to the paper. These aren't intended to abrade the surface of the paper to remove paper fibers, taking the media with it. Most of what the eraser will remove will come off without a lot of pressure. Vinyl erasers can remove some inks if the ink is mostly just sitting on the paper surface. The ink sticks to the eraser and pulls off the paper; it isn't a matter of the eraser being harsh on the paper like the abrasive ink erasers of yesteryear.

If there is stubborn residue, the least destructive way to remove it is to use a different kind of eraser rather than excessive pressure that will eventually tear up the paper. For example, residue that doesn't readily stick to the eraser and come off may be more deeply embedded in the paper fibers. A different type of eraser may be more effective at knocking those loose or making good enough contact with it to lift it off.

If there is still residue that the vinyl or kneaded eraser won't remove with light pressure, it may require abrading some of the paper surface. Doing that by applying a lot of pressure on a soft eraser will create friction that will rip off arbitrary surface fibers at the weakest point. A rubber eraser, like a Pink Pearl, contains some abrasive. Light rubbing with it will sand away some paper surface in a more controlled way to remove the least amount of paper needed to get rid of the residue.

With practice, you'll develop a feel for how much pressure will deliver whatever the eraser is capable of without damaging the paper.

  • If you're using toothy paper because you're drawing with powdery media (like charcoal or pastels), there are several differences How do I know my paper type? I know my paper isn't very smooth but how can I find if it's like the example you gave? Also, I only use Staedtler or Faber Castell graphite Pencils.
    – Vikas
    Jul 30, 2021 at 4:58
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    The paper specs and what applications it's good for should be on the package or the product description on their web site. You can also check reviews by users. If you're only using graphite, the more texture or tooth the paper has, the harder it will be to erase, but you might prefer it because it will tend to be darker and more contrasty. The upside of graphite is that if you do erase the tooth, it won't have much effect on your ability to keep drawing on the paper.
    – fixer1234
    Jul 30, 2021 at 6:12
  • I am using this paper: creativehands.in/product/… And yes, it feels a bit rough than Canson Bristol smooth and a bit lighter because Canson is 250 gsm which I use. So does it mean it has big tooth and can become shiny after using plastic eraser? I mean I can see some texture, but not sure if it is really very toothy or kind of smooth. Description says it's good for drawing sketching and other stuff.
    – Vikas
    Jul 30, 2021 at 6:18
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    @Vikas, I've never used toothy paper and find gum erasers too messy for my taste, so I have no experience with that. Maybe another reader can provide some insight on that one.
    – fixer1234
    Jul 30, 2021 at 7:26
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    Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – fixer1234
    Jul 30, 2021 at 17:01

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