Michelangelo did not use erasers
Illustration: “Satyr’s Head” Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 – 1564)
After a presentation about Scientific Illustration that I did in my old high school, one of the current students asked me if the drawing teacher also took all my erasers out of my hands?
_ Well yes! many, until I lost count of them.
It was difficult for the whole class to understand it, and it still happens the same: we want to make our drawings perfect, works of art worthy of placing on the wall (in my high school) or on social networks (now). Why can’t we erase the parts we messed up?! It’s going to look ugly!!
Of course! Who doesn’t want to make beautiful, flawless drawings?! We want it to be seen how good we are at drawing, right?
If we do not use the eraser, we are going to learn to draw gently, very lightly and calmly, testing the lines until we find the correct ones, and we are marking those more, little by little. And our exploration work will be recorded in the drawing…
Because sometimes we forget that we are in a learning phase, it is time to make mistakes, to try things that look bad, to mess around, experiment, and practice. All those failed attempts are a treasure, and they always will be throughout life. Sometimes, by accident, we find expressions of the line that we like more, or other times what we have tried is a disaster… but it is important that it remains visible, not erase it, because it will allow us and the teacher to be able to recognize that in which we have more difficulties, help us and practice more and more, see the evolution of the drawing.
Let’s get the paper dirty!!
Let’s not use the erasers to erase the path we made.
In the field of professional illustration, it is very common to use cyan blue pencil, and also red, to make the first sketches. If it is difficult for us to start a drawing lightly, the blue pencil is a tool that helps us create the first shapes in a necessarily lighter tone than the common graphite pencil.