Introduction to Erasable Colored Pencils

Introduction to erasable colored pencils Feature

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Colored pencils are a wonderful medium of art. Accessible, vibrant and lots of fun. They are a great way to get your creativity going. One problem that many face when compared to sketching pencils, is just how difficult they are to erase. Enter erasable colored pencils. 

These are pencils that have been made specifically to allow you to erase the color after a mistake. Leaving you with a clean white page and the opportunity to try again.

In this article we’ll answer some of the most common questions asked about erasable colored pencils. Show you how they compare with conventional colored pencils. As well as giving you a few recommendations of pencils you may like.

What are Erasable Colored Pencils?

You would be forgiven for thinking that erasable colored pencils are a completely different class of pencil than convention pencils. This is true in some ways, with pencils that are purpose made to be erasable showing some slight differences.

However, generally erasable colored pencils are simply colored pencils that allow you to erase their markings to a clean white page.

While most colored pencils are erasable to some extent, these pencils allow for a more complete recovery from any mistakes. There are pencils that are clearly marketed as erasable, often made specifically for this purpose. There are also pencils that people have found are easy to erase just from experience. We’ll talk you through a few of each.

The short version: erasable colored pencils are pencils that you are able to erase completely to a white page.

Erasable Colored Pencils vs Conventional Colored Pencils

Generally the main difference between a “conventional” pencil and one that is marketed as erasable is the amount of pigment in the lead. The pigment is the bit that gives the pencil its color.

By upping that amount of graphite and binders in a pencil lead, and reducing the amount of pigment – manufacturers are able to make colored pencils easier to erase.

This is of course a compromise and means the erasable colored pencils usually give a less vivid color on the page. 

selection of colored pencils in pots
Photo by Choi Ben

In choosing between a conventional an and erasable colored pencil, you have to weigh up what is most important to you. 

Do you want a pencil that provides the most saturated and vibrant color possible? Then a conventional colored pencil is the choice for you. Are you willing to give up some of that punch to have pencils that are easier to erase when you make mistakes? If so, then an erasable colored pencil, or a pencil that is known to erase well might be the best choice. 

What Erasers Work Best with Erasable Colored Pencils?

While some erasable colored pencils come with an eraser attached at the end, they generally aren’t great. For the best result we suggest going with a kneaded eraser.

This is a type of eraser used in artist even tougher situations, such as working with charcoal. These erasers are used by kneading and pulling them to reveal new surfaces of rubber. Then you are able to mold the eraser into whatever shape you think is best for your current erasing needs.

This is a great pick up for artists, as kneaded erasers are used in a lot of different dry media. You don’t need anything fancy. The Blick own brand kneaded eraser should work just fine and can be picked up for a little pocket change. 

Making Best Use of Your Erasable Colored Pencils

While having a colored pencil that you know you can erase is a great help. No matter how well the color is erased, if you do a lot of erasing you will eventually find that your page is a smudy mess, or worse, you have damaged the page you are drawing on.

Here are a few tips to make sure you only even have to reach for the eraser when you really need to: 

Start with a sketch  – outlining and initial sketches are where most mistakes can occur so a good way to reduce that amount of color you end up having to erase is you do those sketches with graphite drawing pencil. Graphite pencils are much easier to erase in general, meaning that any mistakes can be easily recovered without risking damaging the page.

Choose the right paper – if you are using colored pencils and now you are a little mistake prone it’s important to have paper that can stand up to some pressure. This means you need something with a bit of a higher weight. This will allow you to put pressure on the page, to erase, without fear of ripping it.

Also it’s useful to read some reviews and see if the paper is prone to pilling. This is when working the page, such as when using an erase, pulls up little pieces (or pills) of the paper material. This can really ruin a piece.  

Use the right erasers – as we’ve said, the go to eraser for artists it kneaded eraser. So use that.

Do a light first pass – this is a really simple idea, but simply doing a light first pass when coloring can be really effective.  When you draw lightly, you put less material down on the page. This makes it easier to erase anything you don’t want and return to a clean white page.

Best Erasable Colored Pencils

Now that we have talked you through what erasable colored pencils are, and how best to use them. Here are a few of our favorites for you to try.

Prismacolor Premier Col-Erase Colored Pencils

Prismacolor Col-Erase Pencil Set - Set of 12, Assorted Colors

The Prismacolor Col-erase pencils are very much the go to recommendation when talking about the best erasable colored pencils. And for good reason. These are pencils that even the most advanced artists would be willing to use every day.

The pencils themselves are available in a large range of color and sold both in sets and piecemeal (as individual pencils).  The pencils themselves come with an erasers end, for use in a pinch.

The pencils perform really well. Great for beginners to colored pencils or specialised use cases such as underdrawing an illustration. The pencils give a smooth lay done, blend well, and most importantly, erase well.

The Prismacolor Col-erase pencils are the full package. A well performing and erasable pencil that allows lines and even shading to be edited on the fly.

Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils

Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils - Assorted Colors, Set of 10

Now the Crayola erasable colored pencils can be a little contentious especially with those who don’t quite understand the use case for an erasable pencil. The Crayola pencil shows clearly the compromises that are required to make a colored pencil that erases well. This led to many complaints that they are “too faint” or “hardly color”.

This is not the pencil you would reach for with doing color shading. But when it comes to composing or outlining a piece in color. The Crayola erasable colored pencils are exactly what is required if you want your work to be easily editable. 

Tombow Irojiten Color Pencils

Irojiten Color Pencil Set - Primary Colors, Set of 5

Lastly, we thought we’d give a special mention  to the Tombow irojiten color pencils. These aren’t strictly erasable pencils. But just a set of truly fantastic and vivid colored pencils that have been seen to erase quite well. If you find yourself looking for a higher quality pencil that maintains some ability to erase. Then this offering from tombow is for you. 


Erasable pencils can be a great starter tool, particularly for those that are worried about mistakes. You can’t go wrong with the Prismacolor Premier Col-Erase. Purpose made to be both a great colored pencil, while also being completely erasable.

As we say at the end of most of these things. These tools are just that, tools. Make sure you get in lots of practice with your new pencils and you’ll start seeing improvement in no time.

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