How to Sharpen a CHARCOAL pencil with a KNIFE

Here, you’ll learn how to sharpen a charcoal pencil in a way that exposes more of the charcoal, making the pencil easier to use with thin or flat strokes.

How to Sharpen a CHARCOAL Pencil

To sharpen a charcoal pencil for drawing you will need a knife or cutter and sandpaper, by using a knife or cutter remove the wood of the pencil layer by layer until one inch of lead is exposed then use the same knife to even the exposed lead. Finally use sandpaper to make it look smooth.

Why Sharpen Long Pointy Lead

Sharpening Charcoal Pencil is different than sharpening a Graphite;Some people also use razor blades and grinding paper to get them sharp and of course it also works. I sharpen the charcoal pencils differently for more freedom and flexibility when drawing.

I learned to sharpen my charcoal pencils to have a long sharp point. This is because I have been taught to use the charcoal pencil more like a paintbrush and to draw using the whole movement of the arm rather than just the movement of wrist. To draw  this way requires the pencil to be sharpened in a different manner than I normally would sharpen with an ordinary sharpeners to other types of pencils.

But the most common way to Sharpen a Pencil is by using an Ordinary Sharpener, so in result your lead will break or will never get the Pencil lead the way an artist requires for their drawing strokes.

FREE Video Tutorial to watch

Text Version of the Video

how to sharpen pencil

So you’ll learn the correct way to Sharpen a Charcoal Pencil using a knife or cutter very easily so you’ll get the perfect pencil lead to draw you desired strokes.

how to sharpen pencil

Material For Sharpening the Pencil

sharpening pencil material

  • Charcoal Pencil
  • Sand paper
  • Knife/paper Cutter

Procedure for Sharpening

Sharpening the Charcoal Pencil using a knife or cutter will allow you to manipulate the pencil in many interesting ways also it will make your shading easier and faster than using a just tip of Pencil lead.

First, use a regular pencil sharpener to get a tip started.

sharpen pencil easy drawing

Hold a Pencil in one hand and Craft knife or Paper cutter on the other hand like this and place the Pencil on your notch of you one hand.

Then use your thumb to push the blade forward while pulling the pencil back slightly. Rotate the pencil as you go.

REMEMBER YOU’RE GOING TO BREAD AOT OF LEAD’S AT THE BEGINNING and this is a Part you have to practice a lot when you start practicing this technique.

sharpen pencil

PRECAUTION : Be careful not to cut yourself.

As you get closer To lead or the lead is completely exposed, try to only take off a thin layer of wood at a time so that you don’t risk going to far in and cutting a chunk off the lead.

Also sharpen the excessive lead and shape the lead before sanding it on a sandpaper.

sharpen pencil for drawing

once it is done, now as you can see that the lead is uneven and sharp edges and to make this smooth out the pencil.

I’m going to use a Sandpaper for this; sanding the charcoal lead to bring the tip to a sharp point. Hold the pencil at an angle against the sanding block Like this.

how to use sand paper

Sand Lightly. Once you have enough of the wood removed from the charcoal now you Charcoal Pencil is Ready to use for your drawings.

sharpen pencil for drawing


Now you know how I sharpen the charcoal pencils with an easieast tecchnique. You can checkout the Video tutorial for the detailed process of Sharpening Charcoal Pencils.

I hope this will help you to improve your drawings. Of course there are always different ways about how to do it. For me this technique works very well. Nevertheless, you should try out what works best for you.

Please let me know how it works for you and what techniques you normally use! If you found a better way please share it with use in the comments!



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