Best Erasable Colored Pencils
Last Updated by Brandon F. on January 18, 2020
One topic that we rarely discuss is artwork involving erasable colored pencils. We have had quite a few people ask us recently about our experiences with erasable colored pencils and what we feel the best erasable colored pencils are.
In this article, we will briefly go over erasable colored pencils. We will also give you a few of the top choices from our experience. Erasable colored pencils have some unique pros and cons and we feel that it is at least worth your time exploring them.
The table below provides our picks for those who are in a hurry and simply want to see what the best options are. And for those who want to read up more about the topic, simply scroll below!
What are Erasable Colored Pencils?
A lot of people think that erasable colored pencils are a completely different type of colored pencil from what they are used to using. And while there are some notable differences between pencils that advertise as being “erasable” and those that don’t, there are still a lot of similarities.
Would you be surprised to know that nearly all colored pencils are erasable to an extent? With a proper eraser and some good, thick, raggy paper, you can work out nearly all of the color of many colored pencils (particularly if you only made one pass through with color).
And for that reason, few companies will actually produce and sell pencils that they call “erasable”.
How to Find a Good Erasable Colored Pencil
Certain colored pencils (even those that aren’t called erasable) will naturally be easier to be erased than other colored pencils. The key is being able to identify aspects of a pencil that will make it easier to be erased.
In our experiences, pencils that are higher in graphite content will typically be easier to be erased. This is because the binders that are used in these pencils are naturally more blendable. Using binding agents that allow you to easily be able to move pigment around is helpful for blending and also for removing color, if necessary.
Also, pencils that are more water-soluble can also be easier to be erased. This is particularly true when you add a little bit of water or solvent to the color to break it down some. This can make it much easier to work with.
Pencils will thinner leads typically produce less color per pass. Because of this, they will typically be easier to erase since there is less color to erase.
Finally, many of your lower-end colored pencils will actually be more erase-friendly than the premium colored pencils that you have. This goes back to the fact that budget colored pencils just don’t produce as much color as they have fewer pigments. And fewer pigments and lower-end binding agents means that color won’t be transferred from the pencil to the paper as aggressively. And while this may be negative when you are looking for vivid, eye-catching color, it can be beneficial if you are trying to remove the color from the canvas.
One type of pencil that we haven’t had much success in completely removing are any of the high-wax pencils that have a softer leader. These pencils tend to produce a lot of waxy residue (“wax bloom”) that can really make it difficult to remove the color from. You may find that you end up smearing the color more than removing it.
How to Erase Colored Pencil Coloring
No matter if you are using a dedicated Erasable Colored Pencil or trying to remove the color from your traditional colored pencils, there are several tips and tricks that you should use to make the effort much easier on you.
First off, if you foresee yourself having to erase areas, try to start off with a more suitable pencil. Doing an initial light sketch in a graphite colored pencil or even a traditional graphite drawing pencil is recommended. And be sure to apply lightly at first. The less color that you put on the paper, the easier that it will be to remove.
Be sure to use a thicker, raggier paper if you anticipate having to do a lot of erasing. Thinner paper is not good for erasing since it is more prone to ripping because of its thin nature. In addition, thinner paper is typically less raggy so you will have to push down harder for it to grab color from the pencil.
A thicker paper, on the other hand, will be more capable of handling the added wear from your eraser. And the more fibrous texture will allow you to produce more color with less contact pressure. This makes those first few light sketching strokes much easier to accomplish.
Make sure that you have the proper eraser for the job. While some erasable colored pencils will come with erasers on the ends of them (similar to a traditional colored pencil), these erasers typically aren’t of very high quality. We recommend going with a premium standalone art eraser. These erasers will be much “stickier” and do a better job of capturing the color from the paper. And when erasing, start will light pressure at first. If you go in aggressive right off the get-go, you increase the likelihood of tearing the paper.
And it is important to know when you are better off not using an eraser to remove color. In the case of pencils that are very water soluble, experiment with adding a dab of water and then trying to soak up the color with a paper towel or tissue. Another good tip for removing the color from a waxier pencil is to first put some scotch tape on the paper. This will help grab some of the wax and reduce how much smudging you experience while trying to erase.
The Best Erasable Colored Pencils: Our Picks
Below we list out some of our favorite erasable colored pencils. As we mentioned earlier, not all of these are actually called “erasable” colored pencils. Rather, they are traditional colored pencils that are still good at erasing. Keep
Prismacolor Premier Col-Erase Colored Pencils
This set is one of the few sets made by a higher-end art company that is explicitly marketed as being erasable. And in order to achieve this, they did have to make some sacrifices when it came to color intensity and blending (we discussed these things in our Prismacolor Col-Erase Review). However, there is no denying that these pencils are among some of the best when it comes to being erased. This is thanks to Prismacolor’s proprietary blend of pigments and binders that are easily removed from the paper. While certain colors are a bit more stubborn to remove (reds and oranges), overall this is one of the most erase-friendly sets of colored pencils that you will find.
Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils
Crayola focuses on mostly budget-friendly pencils. And this results in colors that are less intense and harder to put on paper. But you can actually use that in your favor with their Erasable Colored Pencils. There really is no other way to say it: these pencils don’t produce much color. And on top of that, the lead tips break very easily. But what color that is put on paper is very easy to remove with a quality eraser. We wouldn’t recommend using this set for an entire piece, but they make a good (and affordable) option for putting down some outlines that you will then go back over with a more capable set of colored pencils.
Faber-Castell Erasable Colored Pencils
A lot of people don’t realize this, but Faber-Castell actually offers a small set of Erasable Colored Pencils. These pencils are targeting for children and also come with an attached eraser at the base. The color output of these is not on par with Faber-Castells that you are used to seeing but this is likely what was necessary to make them easier to erase. But as we mentioned earlier, the attached erasers that usually come on pencils aren’t the best. We found that they don’t do a very good job of removing color. But when we tried out one of our more capable standalone art erasers, the color was much easier to remove. If you happen to be a huge fan of Faber-Castell and need some erasable pencils, these may be worth checking out.
Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils
The Prismacolor Verithins aren’t specifically designed to be erased. However, their design and type of lead used end up making them a viable option. The Verithins have an extremely thin core (only 3.3mm). And since this core is so thin, the wax had to also be much harder so as to avoid easily breaking. The result is a pencil that produces very thin lines and not a lot of color per pass. This may be frustrating if you are wanting large amounts of intense color, but then again if that is your intention then these aren’t the pencils that you should be using! The fact that you don’t get a lot of color makes it much easier to remove the color that is produced. We have had good success going in with very light strokes to create an initial sketch and following through with a more intense colored pencil.
Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils
Another bit of a surprise appearance, the Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils are among some of the highest rated watercolor pencils that we have ever tested. Their color intensity and control are some of the best in the industry. And typically pencils that produce a lot of color easily aren’t great at being erased, right? Well in the case of the Albrecht Dürers, the fact that they respond so well to water and solvents actually makes them a good choice. We have found that if you apply very light strokes (key word is “very”), you can easily remove these strokes with a bit of water and some tissue paper. Once you start layering and applying thicker passes, this can become more a challenge. But for someone who has a steady and gentle hand, you may actually find that your favorite set of Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils can also double as a good erasable pencil.
Stabilo CarbOthello Colored Pencils
If you are a fan of non-traditional colored pencils, then you may have delved into chalk and pastel pencils. These pencils are great for blending but can be a bit stubborn when it comes to completely removing them from canvas. However, we have found that the Stabilo CarbOthello are among some of the best in that regard. This is thanks to them being quite water soluble. In our testing, adding a bit of water and doing a 1-2 combination between using tissue paper to soak up color followed by some gentle eraser strokes can do the trick. Just make sure that you are using a resilient paper that is up to the challenge of that extra stress.
Derwent Graphitint Pencils
While not technically a colored pencil, we felt the need to include the Derwent Graphitint in this article. These pencils are made of a very water soluble graphite core. The fact that it is made of both graphite and also water-soluble elements makes it very easy to work with (particularly when trying to remove color). However, be sure to use light strokes. These graphite pencils actually put down a lot of deep, dark color quite easily. And if you apply with much force, your strokes may quickly become too intense to be able to be completely removed.
We hope that this article was of assistance to you. In it, we discussed erasable colored pencils, how to use erasable colored pencils, and also listed out some of our favorite choices for erasable colored pencils. We want to reiterate that you don’t have to buy a pencil that is labeled as “erasable” to enjoy the benefits of being able to erase your work. Rather, there are a wide selection of pencils that can be erased if proper preparation and care are taken.