Toad Hollow Studio's Drawing Tutorials And Classes by Carol Rosinski

Graphite Pencil Sharpener Reviews

I draw with both wood and mechanical pencils, and most of the time I like to work with a long thin point because it gives me more control. Here are reviews of the sharpens that make the best long, very sharp, points.

Alvin Rotary Lead PointerAlvin Rotary Lead Pointer

You can sharpen mechanical leads on a sandpaper block but it's much quicker and easier to use a hand held sharpener that's designed for the job. This rotary sharpener from Alvin will fit any lead holder for 2mm leads and sharpens the leads to a long thin point.

As a bonus, the barrel fills with fine graphite powder over time. I dip a brush into it to "paint" areas and create other effects.

Alvin Kum Long Point Pencil SharpenerKum Automatic Long Point Pencil Sharpener

This unique sharpener works better than any I've ever used before for wood pencils. It's a "two stage" sharpener with two holes.

The first hole removes the wood and the second sharpens the lead. This system keeps the lead from breaking as happens so often with regular sharpeners. It also creates a beautifully long lead that's perfect for drawing fine details.

There are extra blades tucked into the back under the lid too.

Flat Sketching Pencil Sharpner 1Flat Point (Carpenter) Pencil Sharpener

I don't draw very often with a flat point pencil but they are fun to sketch with, and this sharpener for them is so unique that I want to show you how it works.

If you look closely at the photo, you can see that the razors angle into the body of this sharpener. (There are razors on top and bottom.)  The blue plastic piece with a hole in it slides back and forth. There's another sliding blue piece on the opposite side.

To sharpen a pencil, insert it into the blue sliding piece that holds the pencil's wide flat side horizontally. Then slide the pencil back and forth over the blades.
Flat Sketching Pencil Sharpner 2
Here's a pencil with the wide flat sides sharpened.
Flat Sketching Pencil Sharpner 3 
To sharpen the pencil's short sides, insert it into the sliding blue piece on the other side of the sharpener and move it back and forth.

This is how a fully sharpened pencil looks.

Flat Sketching Pencil Sharpner 4
Even though the blades slice off the wood in a pretty severe way, you can learn to slow the movement and change the angle of the pencil to give yourself a little more control over the process.

Using this sharpener is much easier and quicker than sharpening flat pencils with a knife. If you like sketching with them, this sharpener is handy to have around.

Some of these images were kindly provided by Dick Blick

Carol Rosinski
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Toad Hollow Studio - Teaching how to draw since 1999