Erasers are or can be really important. Don’t use the horrible erasers that you can by and are more commonly known in schools ECT, the ones where the rubbings are left all over your work! They can ruin it, either by blowing them off after and accidentally spitting on your paper (big mistake and almost impossible to correct), or by sweeping off with your hand, when you have spent 3 weeks on one part of your work, the last thing you want is to rub and smear it, or put your oil all over you beautifully refined work. Ok you can and I now artists, that do use watercolour paint brushes or makeup brushes to get them away but why the hassle, they are really limited.
Putty rubbers are amazing!! They are lumps of usually blue tack, which can be moulded to any shape and even to a sharp point to pull out the tiniest detail, like a bit of light hitting a spotJ. They pull out the graphite from of the page and in its tooth rather than rub it off, which also damages the tooth, which makes the work re-drawn over the top of it look slightly different from the rest. This has some good advantages,
1. It leaves no shavings or rubbings
2. It can pull out graphite gradually, to alter values and lighten area’s
3. It can be moulded to any shape which enables it to adapt to any given situation#
We after all are living humans, and sometimes we make mistakes, so I would say that an eraser is essential. If you leave a mistake when you’re doing this type of work it WILL be visible to your final piece, and unless that’s what you want then I would use one.
A little secret to us artists here in the UK is to use Blu-tack. This is very similar, and does basically the same thing, though I do find it sometimes a little less effective as the other and it also goes really tacky like chewing gum if you hold the Blu-tack a long time in your warm hands. Same goes for leaving it in the sun whilst you work. It is great and really cheap and if you don’t live in the UK, you can buy it online or find other ‘copies’ which do a very similar job.
I personally would say this is a must, that it must be sprayed on the work to hold it thereafter, like a varnish protects oil paintings. But, they’re artists out there who hate the stuff, Armin Mersmann is one. He can sometimes spend a full year on a work, and sometimes when you sprat fixative, a small spit like blob sprays out, this can ruin the work so it’s easy to understand why he doesn’t use it. Also, once his are in frames, they are there for good most of the time anyway, so there isn’t any need to stop it from smudging... I use fixative. It’s a fear of it smudging after all the work, but it’s a personal choice.
If you don’t know what fixative does, it holds the medium to the paper which helps to prevent the work smudging. It has also been said to protect the work and the paper from age. There are brands out there that artists strongly recommend you don’t go near. Some which has a good reputation is the Winsor & Newton Workable Fixative.
Some links to things mentioned in last few paragraphs: