Sharpening Pencils

Pencil sharpening is one of those tasks that most people don’t give a moment’s thought to and some get quite passionate about. I once wrote a long comparative review of handheld pencil sharpeners and was told by a rather opinionated Facebook gentleman that it just confirmed how sharpening with a knife was the only way.

In actual fact I don’t much mind how you sharpen your pencils but seeing as it’s something I spend a lot of my time doing, I thought I’d tell you how I do it and why.

First of all,. I’m aware you can avoid the whole sharpening conundrum by using mechanical pencils. Mechanical pencils are the sensible and practical option but they are no fun. They have no soul.

Secondly, although sharpening a pencil is very satisfying indeed, it isn’t something I want to spend all my time doing when I’m in the middle of drawing. This rules out using a knife, quite apart from the fact that I’m incredibly clumsy and would inevitably lose a finger or three if I tried.

That said, and thirdly, I do want a nice sharp point, so a good quality sharpener is needed; one that firmly holds a sharp blade (that stays sharp for a reasonable amount of time and is replaceable).

For that reason I use the sharpener I ended up recommending in the aforementioned review: the DUX single hole brass sharpener. I use it little and often. With all but the hardest grade pencils, I use it, just a quick little twist, whenever I put a pencil down and whenever the point dulls a little. It’s almost automatic, barely interrupts my flow, and guarantees a sharp point. If extra sharpness is needed, I use a bit of sandpaper.

Seamless sharpening for satisfying sketching.

Winnie

Here’s Winnie, a lovely little dog I drew as a commission.

Winnie. Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on Derwent heavyweight cartridge paper, A5

If you like what I do, please consider following me on Instagram, buying something on Etsy or contacting me about a commission.

Twitter Art Exhibit and Olivia

Saturday was the opening night of this year’s Twitter Art Exhibit. This is an annual event that raises money for good causes by selling postcard sized pieces of original art. This year there were over a thousand entries from sixty-five different countries.

This video gives a good (and short) overview of what it’s all about and if you watch it to the end you can see my postcard by the presenter’s right elbow. Fame at last.

My entry to this year’s Twitter Art Exhibition

Someone very kindly bought my entry on the first night but there are still hundreds (literally) of amazing pieces of original art available to buy online. This is a great cause and a great opportunity to own some fantastic art for a reasonable price.

Last week I finished this commissioned drawing of Olivia. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out although I still struggle to take a good photo of my drawings.

Olivia. Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on Derwent heavyweight smooth cartridge paper, A4

If you like what I do, please consider following me on Instagram, buying something on Etsy or contacting me about a commission.

Exhibition Time

It’s been a busy few weeks for me, with the day job and with drawing. I’ve been working on some commissions which I’m unable to share but in the meantime I’ve had most of my Drawing Dorset series on display at a coffee shop in Dorchester.

The work is for sale and it would, of course, be lovely if I did sell some of it. It’s enough, though (at least for now!), to have my pictures on display in public. I draw because I enjoy it but in the end all art (or attempts at art) is meant to be seen.

There isn’t long left – publicity clearly isn’t one of my strengths – but if you happen to find yourself near the Engine Room in Poundbury, Dorchester in the next week or so then it would be wonderful if you popped in. The coffee there is excellent.