Focus on Education with Janelle Johnson CDA/TDA

If you’re venturing into colored pencil, plan on learning how to sharpen those pencils. You may think that all you need to know about this topic was learned when you were a child – but guess what, it’s a whole new medium. I’ve been painting with colored pencil for 16 years and what I’ve learned has been through trial, error, and success! Some colored pencils will have a factory-sharpened point and that is really a plus. For those that you need to sharpen yourself, use an electric sharpener to begin, then use a battery operated when traveling, and a hand-held to only refresh a point. Tips for using electric sharpeners
  1. Sharpen a no. 2 lead pencil prior to sharpening any colored pencils.
  2. Wax-based pencils have soft cores; pushing them into the sharpener with force will break the core. Gently insert the pencil and let the sharpener work for you. Oil based pencils have a harder core and will easily sharpen.
  3. If a core breaks inside the sharpener, use a no. 2 pencil to push the point through.
  4. Sharpen a no. 2 pencil every month (or more) to clean the wax off the blades.
  5. Never trust the light on a sharpener to tell you that a pencil is sharp. Learn to listen to the sound of the pencil being sharpened.
Tips for using battery operated sharpeners The tips for using a battery-operated are the same as an electric, be aware that a battery operated will have a jarring action and wax-based pencils will easily break. Always keep fresh batteries at hand incase the ones in the sharpener begin to weaken. Tips for using a hand-held pencil sharpener
  1. Use the hand-held to only refresh a point. Never sharpen a brand new colored pencil with the hand-held.
  2. Hold the sharpener and the pencil straight up-and-down. Don’t hold to the side or the pressure of twisting the pencil will crack off the soft core.
  3. You might also have success turning the sharpener and not the pencil.
    Find these sharpeners and more on Janelle Johnson CDA, TDA – Colored Pencil Artist Sign up on my website to receive my newsletter and blog updates about colored pencil.  Let’s be friends on Facebook!