Monday, 27 April 2009

Product Review: Jakar Battery Operated Eraser Pen

One of my favourite pieces of art equipment is my Jakar Battery Operated Eraser Pen. In fact I'd go as far as saying this is an essential piece of kit for me. I know I can't stop myself from stockpiling reserves against the awful day when it finally disappears from view.

I'm always surprised by the number of experienced artists who've never come across a battery powered eraser before. I'm forever handing out details of how to get hold of this one - after people have seen what it can do.

Using an electric eraser for the first time is rather startling - one never knew that a small stub of eraser could move so fast - then it starts to be rather satisfying as you begin to realise that erasing marks will now become a totally different experience. No more frustration with smearing. No more holes in the paper. From now on it's clean living...........

Until time comes to replace the first eraser. Then you begin to detect the virtues and vices of various different models rather quickly.

I won't mention the ones which I have found to be frustrating beyond belief! Rather, I will introduce you to my dirt cheap super light Jakar Battery Operated Eraser Pen.

The huge advantage of this eraser pen is its light weight due to its plastic body. The only real weight comes from the two AAA batteries. This makes it very easy to use as a pen as its name suggests. I find that I use it more and more like a rather fat pencil which erases rather than making a mark. Used slowly, it removes all trace of graphite and coloured pencil very cleanly without abrading the paper. Used quickly and lightly - in a stroking or dabbing action - it can lighten without removing all colour. If you you then work back over the erased area it's possible to create a complex texture of optical colours. A lot of my artwork employs this technique and the Jakar eraser pen is an essential item in my kit - both when drawing at home or while out and about sketching.

You can see an example of a sketch where I used the eraser pen extensively to lift colour on the right

St James Park - Tree Study #3
(8th October, 6pm)

8.5" x 11", coloured pencils in Daler Rowney sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The batteries enable the eraser to be spun very fast making erasure a simple and painless operation. If the non-pvc eraser picks up colour, use of the eraser on a clean piece of paper quickly restores the end to pristine condition.

The erasers are soft and the act of erasing produces a lot of debris and a drafting brush or household paint brush are useful for removing all evidence of debris before picking up another pencil.

I always know when the batteries need replacing as the speed of erasure slows down. Replacing erasers and batteries is easy peasy compared to some. I usually pull the eraser out and then use the other end before discarding and replacing. The body comes apart and puts back together really easily when you need to replace the batteries.

The whole set-up is also amazingly cheap. Consequently whenever I see them in the shops (I can usually find them in Rymans) I always buy a bunch of them - one for every pencil case plus one for every backpack plus spares to lose / file away and forget where you've put them etc etc. It saves me panicking every time I can't find mine!

Product: Jakar Battery Operated Eraser Pen
Manufacturer / Distributor: Jakar
Technical Details: Jakar battery powered eraser pen - requires 2 x 1.5V AAA batteries. Available in Four Colours (blue, pink, yellow and green). Comes with 5 non-PVC erasers. Packs of 30 erasers also available.
Summary: A very cheap and very effective battery powered eraser pen. Facilitates drawing through erasure.
Suitable for: Pencil artists using graphite and/or coloured pencils
Highlights:
  • lightweight and ease to use for drawing through erasing
  • very cheap and very good value for money - you can afford to buy more than one
  • non-pvc eraser - no smearing
  • portable due to use of batteries
  • easy to obtain eraser refills and replace them in the eraser
  • very easy to replace AAA batteries
Think Again?
  • produces a lot of debris which must be removed before continuing to draw
  • works less well (speed reduces) as the batteries begin to run down
  • limited distribution outlets
Suppliers:For those not familiar with Jakar, Jakar International has been the exclusive UK distributors of Caran d'Ache products since 1960. Jakar do not sell direct to the public, the company is a distributor which contracts with multiples, wholesalers, retailers, mail order companies and educational suppliers throughout the UK and Ireland.

Online suppliers include:

(This review is based on a review which first appeared as My electric eraser on Making A Mark in May 2006)
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This site is for visual artists. It provides links to: items of art equipment and tools recommended ways of putting together toolkits and recommendations for equipment for working in the studio or plein air

7 comments:

Robyn said...

These are a wonderful invention. I've often wondered why they don't make them more torch-like to hold the batteries end to end and then they would be much more pen-like. The only problem I have with mine is that the sleeve that holds the eraser stretches and swallows the eraser.

Now I'm waiting with great anticipation, Katherine to see your review and experiments with watercolour pencils.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

You can see my first on Watermarks today! See Moor Hen Pond in April

Lindsay said...

At last! I'm ordering one from Amazon. Thanks.

I wonder if you might be willing to do a post sometime on H2O oils.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I would - but I'm going to need some help with that one as I've never used them!

Any volunteers?

vivien said...

I'd hate to be without mine - I thought having 3 was a bit excessive but obviously not!

Lindsay said...

I'd need more experience with regular oils first but I'd like to try them. Maybe later in the summer We could collaborate? Unless someone more experienced than I wants to do it.

Felicity said...

I just bought more of these in London! My youngest son plays with it and broke soemthing (one of the metal contacts?)under the little plastic bit for switching it on and off. So that is a bit of a weak point I think. I also use the little refills in my sketchkit as they take up no space or weight.

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