How to Sharpen Charcoal Pencils: The Most Effective Method

If you are an artist, and have been drawing for some time, you might have realized there are specific rules that you must follow to sharpen the pencil.

Some pencils can be sharpened to be extremely long and pointed. These pencils are extremely useful when you want to create paintbrush-like effects with a pencil.

You can also achieve other types of sharpness, which might prove to be very useful in different situations.

How can you sharpen a charcoal pencil? To help you out, we’ll go through a couple of methods to sharpen your charcoal pencils like a professional.

Methods for Sharpening Charcoal Pencils

As we have already mentioned, there are tricks and rules you can use to improve your drawing skills.

One of these is sharpening charcoal pencils to get a wide range of results. These are the main methods for sharpening your pencils.

Things You’ll Need

The process is simple, but you will still need four things throughout the tutorial. These are the things most people have on hand, so don’t worry too much about it.

  • A cutter to cut the wood
  • Safety glasses to stop the wood getting in your eyes
  • Use sandpaper to sharpen
  • To clean the pencil, use a rag

Once you’ve gathered these items, then you can begin:

1. Use a Cutter

This method may seem unusual to some. As strange as it may sound, sharpening charcoal pencils using a knife is a great method to sharpen them.

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However, before you do any work with it, be very careful. When you use the cutter, be sure to point it away from your face. Don’t ever pull the cutter toward your fingers.

2. Protect Yourself

Although this may seem easy, it is still important to be cautious. To protect your eyes against the hazards of wood, you should wear glasses.

There is a small chance that wood might get in your eye when you start cutting wood with the cutter. To prevent this, make sure you have safety glasses on before you start cutting wood.

3. Keep the Pencil in Your Hand

Now that you have your pencil, you need to hold it tightly. Place your left thumb over the right thumb.

The reason you must place your left thumb on top of the other is so you don’t end up cutting yourself. A single mistake can easily cause injury to your fingers. Be careful!

4. Take the wood away

As you’re holding the pen, use the hand you’re holding the blade and begin to cut the wood away.

Rotate the pencil while you are cutting the wood. This will expose the pencil.

You should not apply too much pressure when you do this as it could cause damage to your pencil. Always cut the wood gently.

Keep going until you expose at most 1 inch of your pencil.

5. Sand the Pencil

To make your pencil even more sharp, we will use sandpaper to polish the lead.

All you need is sandpaper. You just need sandpaper. While sanding the pencil, rotate it. You risk making the pencil flatten and losing all of your progress.

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Continue doing this until the pencil’s tip is clear. Don’t forget that this is not a race, so take as much time as needed.

6. Clean the Pencil

After you have finished sanding the pencil you will see that there are many residues. Grab a rag and cover the pencil to get rid of all that dust.

Use the rag to gently clean the pencil from the bottom. This will permanently clean your pencil.

Safety Tips You Need to Take Care of When Sharpening a Pencil

It’s easy to forget to keep yourself safe when doing something. It’s easy to get lost in a moment, and you may not realize how dangerous sharpening a charcoal pencil can be.

Here are some tips to help you sharpen your pen safely:


Don’t apply too much pressure, as you might break the pen. If you use too much force, the knife may end up hitting your fingers.


When sharpening the pencil keep your fingers clear of the knife. To close your fingers to the knife can cause severe injuries. Take care.


Do not speed up this process, as you may endanger yourself. You will find it easier to do this more often. This will allow you to do it faster. Take your time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some common questions about charcoal pencils. These are questions not covered in the article.

Is it possible to sharpen charcoal pencils using a regular sharpener.

You can use a regular pencil sharpener. There are many ways to sharpen your pencils. However, regular sharpeners are more effective.

How do I sharpen a pencil properly?

Sharpening a pencil is easy with a sharpener. Simply hold the pencil in your hand and place it in the hole. You can then slowly rotate your pencil as it hits your sharpener’s blades.

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Why does my pencil break every time I sharpen it

There are many reasons why your pen might stop working. One reason is the pencil’s quality. In most cases, you should not apply too much pressure when sharpening the pencil. This will prevent the pencil breaking.

Why do artists sharpen pencils?

Sharpening pencils has many benefits for artists. One of these is their ability to be versatile. Some people sharpen their pencils because they want to achieve different results with their drawings.

How can you sharpen a pencil if you don’t have a sharpener?

If you don’t have a sharpener, you can use a cutter. Although it’s not the most secure, it can be used to accomplish the task.

Simply use the knife to cut the wood. However, you need to be careful.

Final words

As you can see, it is easy to learn how to sharpen charcoal pencils with a cutter. You will be fine as long as you follow the steps and take the necessary precautions to prevent any damage.

Although it is true that a sharpener is all you need, there are times when you may need more than a sharpener.

This is why it is so important for artists to know how to sharpen their pen using a cutter.

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