I use an HB pencil, very light, to sketch before drawing with ink.

I use Staedtler ink pen and Staedtler plastic eraser ( whit rectangular with blu paper around )

The problem is that when i erase the pencil under the ink, the ink seems to fade.

I'm using the wrong eraser or is the ink quality that fade?

  • If you have a selection of erasers, you could try them on that paper.
    – JDługosz
    Apr 24, 2017 at 19:34

5 Answers 5


That's just how erasing works, for pencils.

Erasers don't really just pick up pencil marks. They work by abrading away a thin layer of the paper, to which the pencil medium (generally graphite) has adhered. The abrasion is a sort of side effect, as the real intent is to disturb the bonds of the graphite to the paper (or cellulose) and allow the erasers to bind instead. Cheaper erasers are less binding, so work more on abrasion.

If the pencil mark is below the ink mark, then removing such a layer of paper will remove a layer with ink on it, as well. The same activity that allows the graphite to bind to the eraser also picks up the ink particles.

The ink fades, but doesn't vanish, because the nature of the ink means it penetrates further into the paper, rather than just the topmost layer.

One solution would be to apply only a basic layer of ink above the pencil, leaving you the opportunity to reapply the ink after erasure. However, if you're not dealing with completely opaque inks then layering this way may affect your end color.

Another solution is to not erase at all, and instead use a light box start out your inked worked on a completely new sheet of paper. (There are also some transferring techniques, where you could convert the pencil sketch to and underlay in ink, but I'm not versed in them enough to explain, and you could still run into opacity issues with non opaque inks).

  • I don’t think that’s right. A vinyl eraser is on abrasive, and a kneeded eraser becomes loaded with graphite but there’s no lint produced. I think in his case some of the ink pigment is not stuck to the paper.
    – JDługosz
    Apr 24, 2017 at 19:39
  • @JDlugosz A kneaded eraser can pick up only the layers of graphite that are stacked on other layers. Eventually you get to that layer that's on paper only and kneaded erasers simply become less effective or they do start rubbing off a layer of paper, but more gently than rubber or plastic. Some marks may be so light that the last layer isn't visible, though.
    – user24
    Apr 24, 2017 at 19:43
  • @CreationEdge♦ Thanks! I'm watching Alphonso Dunn youtube video and I also got his book, he sometimes sketch with pencil, draw with ink and then erase. He use a different ink pen, mine is Staedtler and his is from MICRON but did not notice which eraser he use. Not even sure if his ink fade or not since i can't really tell from the video, mine is not as black as before i erase.
    – al404IT
    Apr 25, 2017 at 11:13
  • @al404IT I added some suggestions, since I misread your question and didn't actually offer any solutions. Perhaps mine and other answers will give you alternatives that allow erasing. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of ink types handy right now (2, maybe 3?) or I'd do a practical demo for you (I've got erasers of every type though).
    – user24
    Apr 26, 2017 at 1:15
  • I asked Alphonso Dunn on youtube and he replies "It happens with all inks. I would suggest you take care to not disturb the ink as best as you can and also try using a kneaded eraser which is much more gentle"
    – al404IT
    Apr 26, 2017 at 8:24

I don't know exactly what type of art you are doing. but since you are inking over pencil I will assume possibly comic book or manga style. If you want an easy way of getting nice inking over pencil sketches. I learned as a tattoo artist one expensive and one cheap method.

  1. The cheap way: Do your pencil work then place a piece of good quality tracing paper over it and then lay down your ink. no need to even have an eraser. then photo copy or scan the inked art for a nice crisp look. I usually run a few pieces of tracing paper over my pencil work and further refine my pencil work prior to inking.

  2. The expensive way: As above do your pencil work then instead of tracing paper use a clear Mylar sheet and technical pens for the inking. you get perfect professional quality line work once you get used to drawing on plastic. then you will be inking like the pro's.

I use Koh-I-Noor rapidograph pens and india ink. the Mylar isn't cheap and the pens I use cost $200 for a set. but if you clean them and take care of them they will last forever or until you lose them.

I hope this helps

this is a very old drawing I did using the expensive technique. I do digital art now so any recent work would not be a good example

  • sorry that example picture is so blurry. it's a photo of a drawing I did years ago. I am a digital and 3d artist now so my new stuff wouldn't help as an example.
    – ronapollo
    Apr 25, 2017 at 21:01
  • @ronapolla You can request to have your accounts merged using the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page. You can always leave comments on your own posts if you've registered your account, or on any post after you earn a little reputation. I've moved your comment here since it doesn't belong as an answer.
    – user24
    Apr 26, 2017 at 1:05

First make sure the eraser is not abrading the paper, by working a small area several times and then inspecting it carefully.

If the ink is made from pigment particles, some particles must be loose and able to be picked up in the same manner as the pencil marks. So, what kind of ink is it? Traditional India Ink is lampblack with a little shellac added as well. A water based ink without a binder may dry back with more particles than are directly stuck to the paper fibers. There will be different behavior with smaller particle size and dye based inks. In particular, ink that’s safe for fountain pens will have no binder.

So, try different inks, too.

You might also see what’s happening using a kid's microscope or a pocket microscope tool.

  • You seem pretty versed in ink types. Any chance you have some varieties in your supplies and could do a real-world demo of different inks and erasers? I'd love to do it myself, but my ink selection is incredibly lacking.
    – user24
    Apr 26, 2017 at 1:17

OK, so in compliance with the above mentioned issue of the eraser actually removing (even a tiny) portion of paper layer, like Bristol paper for instance, I have found the following to come in rather handy. Before I start to draw with my pencil, I use the eraser on the blank page and basically erase the whole page, while it still has nothing on it. This way, the initial piece of thin layer is removed and I have far fewer problems with fading after I erase the pencil lines.

It's not a given, it may or may not work, but it has reduced by substantial levels the frustration on my part. Oh yeah, and if you do try this, do your best not to wrinkle or fold your blank page.


I dont know if you're fond of makeup. but think of the pencil you sketched with as foundation and the marker/ink as eyeshadow,mascara,eyeliner, or etc. If you wipe that base with soap and water (eraser) its going to remove/fade your precise inking or makeup

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