How to Sharpen a Charcoal Pencil

If you’re an artist, you know how vital sharpening the pencil is. Drawing with an unsharpened pencil or a pencil that hasn’t been sharpened properly can be extremely irritating for an artist and it happens almost on a regular basis.

Drawing requires perfectly sharpened pencils but sharpening the pencil is not as simple as it seems. The process can be a bit of a hassle, especially when it comes to charcoal pencils. Do you know how to sharpen a charcoal pencil properly? If not, then let’s find out.

Also Read: Mechanical Pencil for Writing Reviews

Before Sharpening the Charcoal Pencils

Charcoal Pencils are very extremely useful to artists as they provide a nice thick texture to drawings. Some artists even use charcoal pencils as an alternative to brushes. A charcoal pencil is useful in so many different ways but it needs to be properly sharpened to get the best result.

Sharpening a charcoal pencil can be quite stressful but not to worry because we got you covered. In this writing, we’ll discuss how to sharpen charcoal pencils and the other relevant factors about sharpening charcoal pencils. So, stick around till the end to find out the best ways to sharpen your pencils.

The Necessary Supplies

The process of sharpening charcoal pencils is quite different than sharpening graphite pencils. Some necessary supplies are required to sharpen charcoal pencils. Here’s the list of essential supplies needed for sharpening a charcoal pencil.

1. Utility Knife: A knife is required to sharpen the charcoal pencil. The knife is used to remove the wood from the pencil. Make sure the knife you’re using is sharp enough to cut the wood. I prefer the Box cutter knife with a retractable blade because it’s very sharp and easy to grip.

2. Sanding Block: Sanding is necessary after removing the wood from the pencil. There are sanding blocks designed especially for sharpening pencils, but you can use 220-grit sandpaper as well which is much cheaper.

3. Safety Goggles: Wearing safety goggles is extremely important during the process as a protective measure. The process of sharpening charcoal is a safety hazard because you’re working with woods and knives. A piece of wood may fly off to your eye and damage your eye if you don’t wear safety goggles.

Step by Step Guide on How to Sharpen a Charcoal Pencil

Step 1: To sharpen your charcoal pencil, the first thing you have to do is cutting the wood with a utility knife around the charcoal so that a part of the charcoal is exposed. You have to be extra cautious during the process; otherwise, you might lose the charcoal tip.

Step 2: Turn round the pencil in the clockwise direction and take off the wood carefully around the pencil in an even way. Don’t drop the pencil on the floor or else, the charcoal will break.

Step 3: Remove sufficient wood so that at least about half of an inch of the charcoal is visible but not more than that because any more amount than that can lead you to break the charcoal during sanding or drawing.

Step 4: The next step is the most vital. In this step, you have to start sanding the charcoal to bring the tip to a sharp point. Hold the pencil against the sanding block or sandpaper whatever that you’re using.

To get better outcome, hold the pencil at an angle in which the angle between the pencil and the sanding paper is small.

Step 5: As you know the charcoal is pretty delicate and it will break if you put too much pressure on it. Keep this in mind while sanding.

Step 6: Rotate the pencil around the edge of the charcoal as you sharpen it.

After finishing the 6th step, your work is pretty much done. Once you have enough wood removed and the charcoal has come to a sharp point, your pencil is ready to use.

Keep in mind that the process can be quite messy, so, it’s recommended to complete the process over a surface that is easy to clean.

Things to Consider when Sharpening the Pencil

The process of sharpening charcoal pencils revolves around knife and wood and it can be extremely hazardous. As always you have to keep in mind that your safety comes first.

You have to put on protective gear like safety goggles and hand gloves to protect your hand from getting a cut. While cutting the wood, never pull the blade towards you and always push the blade away from you keeping your hands and fingers behind.

Wrap Up

A charcoal pencil is a fantastic tool for drawing and a must-have implement for artists but to derive the highest benefit from a charcoal pencil, it needs to be properly sharpened.

The process of sharpening charcoal pencils can be quite troublesome. However, if you correctly follow the step by step guideline mentioned above, it will be a piece of cake for you. Enjoy drawing and always keep your pencil sharpened.