How to use Eraser tool in Illustrator tutorial

How to use the eraser tool in Adobe Illustrator to split paths, remove parts of a path etc for vector designs for CC 2018 2017 2015 CS6 etc.

Eraser tool in Illustrator

how to use eraser tool Illustrator toolbar
  1. Select the eraser tool in the Illustrator toolbar

  2. Select a path or multiple paths

  3. Double click the eraser tool in the Illustrator toolbar and set the options for random size and angle etc

  4. Cut through selected paths

You can find the eraser tool in the toolbar near the top just below the paintbrush tool (blob). The tool is very similar to the calligraphic tool as well as blob but instead of adding, it removes parts of path or paths.


Video tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


It works on selected paths. It works on many types of paths but if it does not work then you may have to expand the artwork via the object menu or in the case of an image, trace the image and then use the tool to remove parts of the paths


Double click the tool's icon to see the settings - you will see the following entries in the dialog along with a not particularly useful display of dots though they do reflect the settings of the tool such as the size and roundness etc


1) Angle

2) Roundness

3) Size


Within those tool settings you have also options to add pressure, random etc and variation (though I must admit, it would be more useful if it was a range of randomization instead of a single value). If you set the setting to fixed, you will not see the random feature. If you select the random option, you will see a variation from 0 upwards. Other options include pressure and stylus and tilt etc but these are of no use if you are just using a mouse.


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Angle has no effect if the roundness is set to 100%. The angle only changes when you have roundness set to less than 100%.. You can also modify the angle and the roundness interactively via the left side circle in the panel. Squeeze the two dots on the edge of the circle to modify the roundness and click where you want to set the angle for the tool.


The variation on the tool is per stroke and not, sadly, during the stroke itself so the entire application of the tool will not result in any variation of size or roundness, the variation only kicks in the next time you use the tool. You cannot apply more pressure to the drawing to vary the size.


grid linesThe size setting allows for small cuts; a large setting allow for the removal of whole chunks of the paths or the entire path. You can use the tool to remove the path by brushing over the entire artwork but this is a lot harder to do than just deleting it normally and it is quite easy to leave fragments of paths behind.


There is only a single modifier supplied with the tool. You can hold the shift key down to erase in a straight line. You can erase in small strokes, perhaps add cuts to the edge of a path. You can also hold down the shift and create multiple straight lines through the path.


If you select a rectangle, you can then use the tool with the shift key to create a grid. Simply apply multiple straight line removes through the rectangle (perhaps keeping the same size or varying the size of the removal line) to create all kinds of wonderful grids. All number of grids can be created using this approach. You can also re-color the individual parts of the grid design.


You can select the tool and just apply it as a doodle through the whole path. Select a path and then apply the tool and doodle through the path. You can then stop and change the size of the tool and continue with the removal. Once you have finished applying your random lines through the path (such as a circle) you will then find that have 100s of new paths and they can all be re-colored individually or perhaps add new strokes or simply delete parts of the design.


You can use the tool with open as well as closed paths. You can pass through the open lines and split the paths into two new open paths and so on


You can apply live effects to the artworks and then use the tool, each part of the split path will be re-generated with the live effects such as bevels or blurs. Some live effects will not result in the expected result though.


You can use the tool to cut into frame designs and add a quick distressed look to the frame


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