What is the point?

How To Sharpen Your Way To Dull Insipid Drawings.

We realize the many venues spend a great deal of time showing novice practitioners how to sharpen their pencils and crayons to beautiful long fragile needle points. Sharp pencils have their place, but it is not the first order of business in learning to draw. Unfortunately, this obsessive-compulsive method of sharpening pencils leads the Novice to believe that only drawing instruments sharpened in such a manner are worthy.

Should one attempt to sharpen them to the proverbial needlepoint? The short answer is no, but you can expose more of the core to help keep a point for a more extended period.

We have often lengthened Carb Othello’s and Conte’s but never soft pastels.

When one receives a set of pencils, the manufacturer has sharpened them to their recommended point. They make the product and realize the limitations inherent in their products. These types of pencils were never meant to be sharpened to a long needle point. If you think your instructor knows more than the manufacturer about their products you are probably mistaken.

Most Graphite, Carbon, Charcoal, Oil and Waxed based colored pencils can and should be sharpened with a mechanical pencil sharper. We like the AFMAT both electric and manual. Their long-point manual is outstanding, and they make a model especially designed for colored pencils. Swordfish is another good brand.

Over-sharpened pencils beget over rendered drawings. Because of their fragile nature, they produce a timid insecure line. If one is afraid of breaking the point, one is missing the point. Detail for the master draughtsman is not plural; it is reserved for focal points and used sparingly.

One should draw as one should paint, working from the general to the specific. The painting procedure involves using brushes larger than the task at hand; drawing should be no different. Therefore, one starts with the larger, more extensive materials and employs more finite materials as the drawing progresses. It worked for Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Pontormo, Del Sarto, Tintoretto, Titian, and every other great Master that came before.

That is our story, and we’re sticking to it.

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