ERASING with BLU-TACK - part 2
"I have benefited from your tip about Blu-Tack. You might warn people that if they let the Blu-Tack get too near the kneaded eraser (which I think you call a putty rubber), the two will join and it will be impossible to separate them". Thanks Brian!
The example below (fig.1) shows the results of spot cleaning by Blu-Tack - the eye has had the all-important highlight returned to the necessary white. This is important as that single highlight often dictates the total range of tonal contrast throughout the drawing. In fig.2 and fig.3 the water at the base of the eye has also been brightened - areas so narrow (the images are 30% larger than life-size) that no conventional eraser could have succeeded - not even a kneaded eraser, which does not possess the inherent non-staining tackiness of Blu-Tack.
Spot erasing was used here to improve the nostril highlight and the highlight on top of the nose, where the detail has been subtly lightened to blend into the highlight - using a very light touch, Blu-Tack is able to remove and fade just a proportion of the graphite, leaving the detail intact in a way that no other eraser can imitate.
The intention here was to hide the rabbit in the undergrowth to the point where it was not immediately noticeable. Changes will have to be made for the intention to succeed.
A little more highlighted interest is required around the rabbit to distract the viewer's eye. Here I have cut shapes into the 2B-drawn depths with Blu-Tack - the eraser point having been roughly formed into leaf shapes between my finger-tips.
The leaves have been defined and drawn but still more distraction is required. The rabbit is still too conveniently framed. New brambles are cut in with Blu-Tack - pinched into a short knife edge then repeatedly applied along the required length.
The narrow, erased lines have been defined, shaped into twigs and textured. I'm happy with this — I don't want the rabbit so well hidden that it's never found!
Below is the final result in situ. The sample was taken from my Border Terrier study "Overlooked!".
Whether you use drafting or conventional wood-cased pencils, it is always a good idea to clean graphite dust and grains from the business end whenever you sharpen it. I keep an old lump of Blu-Tack stuck to my drawing-board and just push the fresh pencil point into it for immediate cleaning.
There was a third use...? Something obscure... Oh, yes - you can use it fix your finished work to the wall!
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Accept no alternatives. Blu-Tack is not widely available outside the UK and I have received many reports on similar products, such as Hold-Tu and Tack'N'Stick. I invariably find Blu-Tack to be superior because it possesses a tackiness not inherent in other products, which tend to be only as useful as a normal kneadable eraser.