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Tools & Practices For Avoiding Smearing & Oil Spots
• Use another paper to act as a shield, but do not let it slide around as you use it.
• Use a bridge, mahl stick, or your other arm to elevate the hand/arm and keep it from rubbing against the paper. [Note: If you use a ruler, do not slide it around on top of the page either. You can keep it from rubbing against the drawing by taping two coins to the bottom of it so that it hovers slighly above the paper as you use it.]
• Use a brush for dusting off eraser crumbs instead of using the side of your hand or blowing at them.
• Use an eraser shield to protect the lines you want to keep.
• Use fixative to secure work that is already done (whether using a workable fixative for different stages of a piece, or a non-workable fixative as a final touch).
• Blend with a tool (e.g.: a paper stump, tortillon, ear swab, etc.) instead of using your finger.
• Continually rotate or reposition the picture so as to always approach each stroke from the most efficient angle. (This also facilitates comfort in mark making.)
• Brace the paper with the other hand when erasing so as to keep from accidentally bending it.
• Make sure that the paper can withstand rubbing before erasing with a gum eraser; use a kneaded eraser whenever necessary.
• Roll a kneaded eraser into a point to pull off excess bits of graphite instead of sweeping them away with your hand or blowing at them.
• When using a pen, blot wet ink with a clean tissue/cloth or let it completely dry before continuing.