What is an artist’s most important tool?

22 11 2008

The pencil sharpener. 
Well, maybe not the most important, but you take it for granted until it breaks and you realize just how much you depend on it.

My pencil sharpener broke yesterday. When I am drawing something in colored pencils, I use my pencil sharpener every few seconds. I need every pencil to be sharp. (I also went through this about a year ago.) It’s surprisingly very hard to find a pencil sharpener that works the way I want it to. They are like snowflakes… each one is different. 😉 The one I have had was a Panasonic® KP-4A. It’s a small handheld battery operated pencil sharpener. It had hardened steel alloy cutter blades which ground away the excess pencil, instead of shaving it like a handheld sharpener. Well, I went to Staples.com and found the Staedtler® Mars® Desk battery operated pencil sharpener. It had lots of great reviews and only one bad one. It came in the mail today, and I thought it was going to be bigger. and I didn’t know it has the kind of blade that shaves the pencil. and it’s the most powerful pencil sharpener I’ve ever seen. It’s almost the same size as my old pencil sharpener, except the shavings receptacle is tiny. It actually tears my colored pencils to shreds and breaks the lead. I’m sure it would be fine for a regular pencil, but colored pencil lead is soft and the sharpener needs to be gentle. I forget which sharpener I got last year, but the problem with that one was that it didn’t bring the pencils to a sharp enough point. 

So I’m returning it. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I went through this same thing a year ago, and I decided the same thing. After all that, I’m going to buy another Panasonic® KP-4A. (3rd times a charm!) I know it’s a good buy. It works well with colored pencils. I know it doesn’t seem like the last pencil sharpener lasted very long (a year?) but the one I had before endured all through college. I hope the next one I get will last even longer than that. It should arrive on Monday. I’m lost without my sharp pencils!




One response

24 11 2008

maybe you should buy two…. So you have it on hand, just in case! 🙂

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