A pencil is as good only as its point. Finding the right sharpener to do the job will help you get the most out of your colored pencil and will also make drawing a lot more efficient and enjoyable.
Not all sharpeners are the same. I've tried several brands, from plastic to metal, and each one differs in durability and the length of point it can sharpen. These are cheap and good for starting out but the blades won’t last long. These can be used for most brands of colored pencils but I don’t recommend them for Prismacolor. Some colored pencils have a thicker barrel and will fit only in a wide-hole sharpener.
How will I know if the blades are still sharp?
CRANK TYPE SHARPENER
You may remember the old and heavy crank type sharpener in schools, it is made for the sturdier graphite pencils and not exactly compatible with the softer colored pencils. Some newer models of crank type sharpener has features that make it suitable for sharpening colored pencils.
What are the things I should look for when buying a Crank Type Pencil Sharpener?
HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR CRANK TYPE PENCIL SHARPENER
The shavings container should be emptied regularly. Colored pencils may leave waxy residues on the blade that can prevent it from working properly. Periodic cleaning will keep your sharpener in good shape for a long time. The blade mechanism can be removed by turning the lock counter clockwise and pulling it out. (Click HERE to watch related video) Clean the blade, the gear, and the housing using a small brush. Reassemble the mechanism and your sharpener is ready for use.
How often do I need to clean the sharpener?
It depends on how often you use it. I normally clean it after I've finished a drawing so it will be ready when I start on a new one. A broken tip can also be lodged inside the sharpener from time to time and needs to be removed.
How about electric pencil sharpeners?
I don’t have one because they are expensive, but if you want to know more about it, check out the forum discussion on WetCanvas.
POINT OF THE MATTER
Whether it’s a hand held, crank type, or electric pencil sharpener, the most important thing is that it can sharpen a colored pencil to your preferred point length and sharpness. Some prefer long needle like points, while others like sharp but short points. A sharp pencil will lay down colors much easier than blunt ones.
You need to consider the price, functionality, durability, and practicality when deciding which sharpener to buy.
Sharing with you my knowledge and experience in the art of colored pencils.
Your colour pencil drawings are an inspiration to me as you show what can be done with these pencils and introduce a variety of colours which I would not think of using. Thank you. --Valerie Clare