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Posts Tagged ‘pendil sharpener’

No, I’m not kidding.  And yes, I’ve heard of a thing called a pencil sharpener, own a couple myself.

But I also own dozens of single-edge razor blades and I buy them in packages of a hundred.  Here’s why.  The pencil sharpener only does one thing:  it gives you a point. This is great for precision in illustration, for example in a medical textbook, and it’s also useful in creating certain textures, but it’s somewhat limited as a tool.   That’s the point.

Now, consider shaping your pencil to your unique way of drawing.  I present to you the razor blade.  The single-edge razor blade can do interesting things to your lead. Use it to  customize the lead to the way you hold the pencil in your hand. Not only that, the humble rod of lead is transformed into more than one tool.

Here’s what you do.  Take a single-edge razor blade or an Exacto knife or equivalent and trim the wood back to expose about ¼ inch of lead.  When you do this, your pencil will not look pretty, but you’ll soon forget about such a trivial consideration.  Now shave the tip of the lead so that you get an elliptical surface. The angle of this surface is something you’ll want to experiment with because it should feel just right depending on how you hold the pencil when you draw.  When you draw on this elliptical surface of your lead you will produce a smooth SURFACE, i.e. shading without lines.  Wonderful.  When you tip the lead so that just the sharpened edge touches the paper,  you will get a fine line.  Again, wonderful.  You now have a versatile tool.  It gives you a fine line, a bold line and a shaded area.  And it’s all a matter of touch.  As you draw, the lead will develop other facets (like a cut diamond) and you will handle the pencil by turning it.  The pencil will feel fluid, like a brush.

Instead of using a pencil (requiring that you cut back the wood), you can buy a Lead Holder and a dozen 2 mm leads of your choice (4B and softer, recommended).  The Lead Holder allows you to advance the lead as far as you like.  It makes shaving the lead easy.  At the end of your drawing session, you retract the lead.  Cool.

Once you enjoy the feeling of drawing with the faceted lead, the pencil sharpener will seem like nothing more than a useful  invention for accountants.

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