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How to sharpen your drawing pencils?

Posted on11/10/2020 by 456
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It is very likely that, when you need to sharpen a pencil, you use the typical pencil sharpener, the ones with a little hole where you put the pencil, turn it and sharpen it. Well, you should know that, if you are going to dedicate yourself to drawing, it is the worst way to sharpen a pencil. We explain in this article why you should not use a pencil sharpener and how to sharpen your drawing pencils correctly, depending on what you want to achieve with them.

First of all, you should know that sharpening pencils in the way that we will explain, takes practice. It will cost you more, or less time to catch the point, but once you master it, you will do it unconsciously. You will become an expert in the art of sharpening pencils, which will help you greatly improve the quality of your drawings by knowing how to have the right tip for each moment.

Sharpen drawing pencils

You should be able to shape the tip of a pencil based on the type of stroke you want to achieve. If you want to outline, you will need a very very fine tip. On the other hand, if you want to shade large areas, you will need a thick tip.

These are the aspects that you should take into account:

1) Decide which tip you need. With this sharpening method you can get the one you need: Extra fine like a needle, rounded and thick, flat... That will depend on the line you are looking for and what you want to draw. The ideal thing is to have several sharpened pencils with different types of tips, in this way you can change the pencil quickly and you do not loose your inspiration by having to constantly sharpen.

2) If you are going to dedicate yourself to drawing, forget the standard pencil sharpener. This type of sharpener, although it is very useful, fast and safe, is not appropriate because the point always remains the same (conical point). Also, pencil sharpeners tend to break the tips, especially if they are not hard. We leave the standard pencil sharpener for those who use the pencil for writing, students, etc.

Sharpen your drawing pencils

3) Get a cutter. Yes, a good and sharp cutter is the tool you need. Try to get ones that are small or thin, like the ones in the photo below. Avoid the big ones. A recommendation regarding the cutter is that you try to buy a good one. Don't go to chinese shop and buy that pack of 5 cutters for $1. First, because your fingers are at stake. When buying a good cutter it is not only important the blade, but also the structure that supports it. A bad and cheap cutter can break, open, etc., while you are cutting and cause a catastrophe. Try to buy a good one, and preferably with a metal body.

In our online store you can buy this one that we show you below, a thin and robust metal cutter, ideal for sharpening your pencils:

(Touch the image to go to the product sheet)

Metal Cutter

Just as important is getting good drawing pencils, since cheap pencils have poor quality wood and leads. Although they look the same at first glance, they are not, and you will see that because the leads of poor quality pencils tend to break very easily.

How to sharpen a pencil with a cutter?
1) Take the pencil using the thumb and index fingers of your left hand, if you are left-handed then with your right hand. Approximately take the pencil in the middle of it (we should not cut ourselves). The tip of the pencil should be facing away from you. It is important to have a trash can or some utensil under the pencil where to collect the remains of wood that will fall (or that or you will have to sweep).

sharp your drawing pencils

2) Press the pencil hard and with the other hand (the one with the cutter) you always point it forward and down. You should open the cutter about 6cm, do not open it much more because you run the risk of breaking the blade. It is very important that your cutter is perfectly sharpened, otherwise you will notice that it is too difficult for you to sharpen and that the cuts are not clean.

sharp your drawing pencils

sharp your drawing pencils

3) We start sharpening! The process is to turn the pencil in an anti-clockwise direction, while you are removing pieces until you see that the tip begins to come out.

sharp your drawing pencils

4) As you turn the pencil, you can shape the tip you need, sharper or less, longer or shorter.

sharp your drawing pencils

5) If instead of a fine point like a needle, you are looking for a chiseled point. Get yourself some fine sandpaper, give it a few passes. There are fine sandpaper for this purpose, but if you don't want to complicate it, a fine sandpaper from any tools and craft store will work for you as well. If you want a rounded tip, then run it through the sandpaper by circling the same pencil on its tip.

sharp your drawing pencils

In summary, the advantages of sharpening drawing pencils using a cutter could be summarized in this:

ok Extremely fine tips can be achieved, like a needle.

ok Also, we can get tips of any shape: round, triangular, square. These types of shapes are ideal for creating textures for example.

ok By having a long lead uncovered, we will be able to create defined lines quickly, tipping the pencil in the same direction in which we move the hand.

You still prefer to use a standard pencil sharpener? We give you some tips to get all the juice out of them. Although even a child knows how to use them, there are certain aspects to take into account.

- You must hold the pencil with your non-dominant hand (left if you are right-handed, and right if you are left-handed). You hold the pencil sharpener in your dominant hand.

- The pencil must be inserted completely straight into the pencil sharpener.

- Rotate the pencil sharpener, keeping the pencil as still as possible.

- Do not press the pencil strongly against the sharpener, push it gently as you turn the sharpener.

- The diameter of the hole in the pencil sharpener, whether manual or electric, should always match the diameter of the pencil.

If you are looking for a pencil sharpener, take a look at our original pencil sharpeners section at our shop!

Do you have any tip to sharpen pencils? Let us know in the comments! :)
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