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.

Drawing and Creating

Creativity is part of what makes us human. We all need to be creative; we all need to create, to make something that wasn’t there before. Project ourselves, our selfs, into the world. There are very many ways to fulfil this fundamental need. For me, it’s drawing.

For the close to half a century I’ve been alive, drawing is the one hobby I’ve kept coming back to. Other interests, and there have been many, have come and gone, never to return. Drawing has pulled me back time and time again.

I love how the simple act of making a pencil mark on a piece of paper can create a picture that in turn can create an emotion, a thought, or a memory. I love the connection I develop with what I’m drawing, over the hours I spend studying it, whether the subject is a person, a pet or a place. That something this simple can become something so deep, complex and meaningful is like magic.