Make No Mistake

My favorite Key Command on my Mac is Command-Z.

I had a t-shirt once with that Key Command on it. The key command is Undo.

Unlike real life, almost anything you do on a computer, you can Undo.




This is the widely accepted icon for Undo (and ReDo). It is starting to show up in most software programs and in every art app on my iPad.

There is a great freedom in knowing that your next move is not permanent.

So, why then, do so many people posit the idea that an artist – particularly one who is somewhat intimidated by the idea of making a mark on a page in the first place, should jump out there with ink and just get over the mistakes they make.

I’m sorry, but that makes no sense to me.

Getting over the great fear that most folks feel about drawing is a question of PERMISSION.

Society does not really give you permission to waste time like that in the first place, and that idea gets implanted early on and puts down very deep roots.

With the fear already in place – of doing something you really should not be doing because there are dirty dishes in the sink , facing the blank page in an expensive sketchbook is truly an intimidating proposition.

What if you ruin it?!? What if you draw something that just isn’t good? How can you keep anybody from seeing that and confirming that you are foolishly wasting time?

With our ubiquitous inner critics in tow, we do not seem to totally get over this lack of permission, even when we have made it quite  a way along the pathways of our own creativity.

But PERMISSION is readily available and costs less than a dollar! It is the real life equivalent of the Undo key – the lowly ERASER.

Erasers are wonderful things and would be the last art supply I would give up. That’s right, I wouldn’t even keep my pencil if  I could not have an eraser.

And I’m not even intimidated about ruining pages anymore. I have ruined lots of them and nothing bad happened to me. And I can fix any mistake because I have my erasers.

Not only do my erasers give me permission to make any mark with my pencil, they allow me to stretch my creative thinking as I sketch. I have always found that my art changes many times in the sketching stage, and the eraser allows me to relax into those changes.

So, I don’t leave home without it!  In fact, I don’t leave home without several of them.

My favorite eraser is the Magic Rub by Sanford. This eraser is soft and flexible and will not harm paper. It also carves easily in case you get the urge to carve a stamp, and it cuts easily with a craft knife so you can make a piece small enough to fit whatever small art kit you are carrying.

Sanford also makes a version in stick form (refillable) but it is a little harder. It is called Tuff Stuff and is great for erasing very small areas.

I like a harder eraser for erasing Panpastel, however, and my favorite for this is the Mars Staedtler (below), which also comes in a refillable stick version (blue above). This is actually a plastic eraser and while it has some flexibility, it holds a point or a corner for erasing lines out of the pastel. I actually draw into the pastel (in white) with this eraser.

Magic Rub, itself, comes in a pencil form (below). You peel off the paper “pencil” to reveal as much eraser as you want exposed. This fits journaling kits every well, but I am a klutz at the peel-off technology, I must admit.

So, I am a big fan of the Faber-Castell version of a pencil eraser, which you sharpen like a pencil – with a pencil sharperner. The actual eraser is not as soft as the Magic Rub, but it holds a great point for when you have to erase a tiny area.

All of these are inexpensive and can be found at art and craft stores. The links I have provided are at Dick Blick. They carry all of them at discounted prices. (All are inexpensive anyway).

I travel with a Magic Rub cut to fit under one of the elastics in my journal kit, a stick eraser, and a Faber Castell Pencil eraser. I don’t usually travel with my Panpastels, so I keep my Mars plastic eraser at home.

Make no mistake about it – erasers are important art tools. Give yourself permission to use them, and they will give you permission to make your marks in the world!

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