How to Use the Eraser Tool in Adobe Illustrator

You can use the eraser in Adobe Illustrator to remove parts of an artwork you don’t need. Simply select the object you want to erase, activate the Eraser tool by using the keyboard shortcut (Shift + E) or selecting it from the toolbar, and erase through the area you want to remove.

Hi, I am Rita. I have been using Adobe Illustrator for more than five years. When I started designing, the eraser was the first tool I learned to use because it is pretty straightforward.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to use the Eraser tool in Illustrator.

Key Takeaways

  • You can use the Eraser tool to cut through vector images, paths, lines, etc.
  • You can edit the Eraser Angle, Roundness, and Size.
  • You can use square brackets [ and ] to change the Eraser size.
  • The Eraser doesn’t work on raster images. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Using the Eraser Tool in Illustrator

The Eraser tool in Adobe Illustrator works for vector images. You can activate this tool by selecting it from the toolbar or using the shortcut Shift + E

Hold down the Ctrl/Command key while the Eraser tool is active to select new shapes. 

Let’s erase the image below with the Eraser tool.

Note: All screenshots used are from Adobe Illustrator CC Windows Version. Mac and other versions may appear different. 

Step 1: Select the shape you want to erase.

Step 2: Activate the eraser tool. You can use the keyboard shortcut Shift + E or select the eraser tool from the toolbar. 

Step 3: Drag across the area you wish to erase. That area will clear off when you release the mouse. You can erase multiple shapes at the same time. Be sure to select all of them.

The Eraser tool divides the image. The divided parts will function as different images. You can move things around to achieve your desired result.

I decided to achieve something different with this shape after erasing it.

You can play around with your image. Remember to ungroup to see all the shapes you can work with.

Talking about playing around shapes, you can control how you want to use the Eraser tool. Go to the Eraser Tool Options window to see the changes you can make.

How to Edit Your Brush in the Eraser Tool Options 

When you activate the eraser tool, you brush over your shape. The Eraser tool options window allows you to edit the appearance of the brush. 

Here is a breakdown of the Eraser Tool brushes option.

The Angle value determines the angle of the eraser. It modifies it by a set degree.

Roundness modifies the shape (roundness) of the eraser by a set percentage. You will have a perfectly round eraser if you set the roundness to 100%. If you enter a lower percentage, you’ll flatten the shape of the eraser.

Size determines the size of the eraser brush. Aside from using the keyboard shortcut, you can use this method to change the size of the eraser.

You can choose from a variety of variables. Variables like Angle, Roundness, and Size affect the appearance of your brush.

Fixed sets a fixed angle, roundness, and size. That is the default option.

Random sets a variable angle, roundness, or size. For example, When this option and a variation are selected, the diameter of the eraser will vary based on the size of the eraser and the set variation. 

Example: If the size of the eraser is 5pt and the Variation is 3pt, the diameter of the eraser will randomly vary between 3pt and 8pt.

Pressure is similar to Random as it sets a variable angle, roundness, or size based on pressure input from the drawing stylus (a tablet pen). 

Note: This feature is available only for graphics tablet users. 

For example, when you set the size value to 10pt and the variation to 10pt, the thickness of the eraser will range between 10 and 20pt.

Stylus Wheel sets a variable angle, roundness, or size based on the stylus wheel. 

Tilt sets a variable angle, roundness, or size based on the tilt of a drawing stylus. This feature is available only if you have a graphics tablet.

Bearing controls a variable angle, roundness, or size based on the bearing of the stylus pen. This feature is available only if you have a graphics tablet.

Rotation sets a variable angle, roundness, or size based on the movement of a stylus pen tip.

That’s it!

You now know how to use the Eraser tool in Adobe Illustrator.

Eraser Tool Not Working in Adobe Illustrator?

There are a couple of reasons why the eraser tool in Illustrator may not work:

  • When your image is a raster.
  • If your object is on a locked layer or a part of a locked group.
  • You won’t notice the erased parts if your brush size is small.

Final Thoughts

Adobe Illustrator Eraser tool is very functional. Play around with the features to discover what fits your style. You can use it to cut shapes or remove unwanted parts of your vector artwork. 

Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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