How to Sharpen Coloring Pencils

So I want to talk to you about the care
of your pencils, and it starts with pencil sharpeners. There are some really
fancy pencil sharpeners – this one’s from Prismacolor, it’s got a cool little flip
top and got pictures here that show me the different ways that it’s going to
sharpen the pencil, it has a little removable top here so that all the
pencil shavings are down in this little case, and it keeps it clean. This one here is also a removable top,
really inexpensive – this one’s from Target. One of the things that happens
with pencil sharpeners is that they are eventually going to go dull. So you want to keep track of the
lifespan of your pencil sharpeners. This pencil sharpener here is very
inexpensive, and it has just that the single blade that’s on the inside, which
means it’s going to be used a lot. The one that has a double – at least I
have an option of which one I’m going to be using, so chances are this is going to
last me a little bit longer because I’ve got two blades that can be used. When you
are sharpening your pencil, it is helpful if you take your pencil, and you put it
in your non-dominant hand. I’m right handed, so if I put my pencil
in my left hand, and I turn the pencil sharpener with my dominant hand. What most people tend to do is they put
the pencil sharpener in there, and they don’t realize, but they’re kind of
cranking the pencil with their hand. Ao the idea is that you want to think of
the olden days with the crank style pencil sharpeners, the pencil stayed
still, and it was the blades that moved, and we take better care, and we move a
little slower, if we do the same thing with our handheld sharpeners. If we do
this here, we have a tendency to move fast, and remember coloring is about
slowing down just a little bit, it’s connecting with your tools, and if you
miss handle your tools and you break them, you’re not going to get much coloring
out of them. So the preparation of even the tip of
your wax, even the tip of your pencil, can make a big difference in preparing for
coloring, so take the time to sharpen them properly,and sharpen them gently, so
that you can get that sharp point that you’re looking for. So this is what the inexpensive one, and
even with – this one’s a little bit larger – but still, I can move this with my right
hand, and I’m going to get this really nice sharp point. One of the things I
realized with myself, is that if I sharpen with my dominant hand, I am more apt to go too fast and break
the tip. So that’s one of the things – is use your sharpening skills wisely. The other thing is the actual care of
the pencils. The wood casing protects the pencil and gives it stability, but the
wax inside can break easily. So one of the things that you really
want to consider with your pencils is don’t drop them. Every time that you drop
your pencils, even if it’s an accidental thing, there is a chance of creating some
type of breakage deep inside the wood casing. Now one of the things that you can do to
remedy that is you can put it out in the sun for a little bit and warm it up,
because it is wax; it can repair itself by just warming up. You don’t want to create so that it’s
melted, you don’t want, you know, it to be gush, but just to warm it enough to
create that gap to come together. I have heard people use a microwave. I
don’t recommend that because that’s not something that you can have a lot of
control over, and the other way that people have recommended getting good
results from is actually just laying it on top of the heating pad for a few
minutes and just allowing it to warm up through the wood casing, just sitting on
top of the heating pad. Please keep an eye on your pencils if
you decide to do any kind of heating up of your pencils because this is wax it
will not take a lot to correct anything that’s on the inside. You want to really treat these as important tools for you. Even if it’s an inexpensive brand, this
is this is your tool, and you want to be able to create good care, good habits, with the care of your
I need to mention the electric pencil sharpener. A lot of people are wondering if it’s
okay to use an electric pencil sharpener with the colored pencils. If you’re doing one pencil you’re
probably okay. I don’t recommend using electric pencil sharpeners with the
colored pencils because what happens is when the pencil goes in there, the mechanism inside the electric pencil
sharpener heats up, which means that you are putting a wax-based product into a
hot element inside the electric sharpener, if you’re doing a whole bunch
of pencils. So, again, if you’re doing one or two
pencils, you can probably get away with not having any issuesm, but if you are
doing multiple, please do not use an electric pencil sharpener; the mechanism inside the electric pencil sharpener heats up, and
it creates a softer wax, and you’re going to gunk up the inside. With both the
electric pencil sharpener and with the handheld pencil sharpeners, one thing you
can do is take a regular graphite pencil and run it through after you’ve done the
wax pencil, the colored pencils, and it will help to clean and lubricate your
blades. So that’s a safety tip, not only for your
pencils, don’t use the electric pencil sharpener,
and to cleaning your hand held ones with a graphite pencil.


  • Noizyvelvet

    Is that electric pencil sharpener haunted?

  • Edie J

    thank you for the info!  Happy New Year!

  • niharikajaisudan

    not gonna lie reading the title i judged this video as stupid but you gave a very useful informative tip…

  • Vicky Bagley

    Put the pencil in the non-dominant hand!!!!!!!!!!! I have the Prismacolors sharpener and I just chewed up a tip of a pencil by using the other hand and wondered why!! What a revelation. Thanks!

  • ripley275

    thank you Cher for all the wonderful information! I wasn't able to open my Prismacolor sharpener and didn't want to break it trying, also, to put the sharpener in your non dominant hand is genius as you will naturally be slower and turning just the sharpener….wow. have a Blessed day.

  • zekehooper

    the non dominant hand thing really helped!

  • Kel Almond

    Excellent tutorial, thank you

  • Jacqueline Peters

    Yes, this makes so much sense. Thanks!

  • home.med9

    Being deaf, I have no idea what sharpener you preferred. Could you tell me? And what is the other point put on by the black two-hole sharpener? The two holes look the same, so the point must be different (I hope one is longer).

    Since tapping things and waving things about are meaningless to me without subtitles, I depend upon seeing the actual points that sharpeners put on, you know?

    Thanks, –Anna

  • Lynne

    Could you provide guidance on how to sharpen pencils with angled sides? Thanks.

  • camila chavez


  • Miranda Osteen

    Come share your work in my group!!!!

  • Lori Bain

    I've enjoyed two of your videos so far – this one and the one on various blending methods – and have found them so helpful. Plus, your pace is just right and your voice is very soothing and calming. I read some of the other viewer's comments and was gobsmacked by the way in which some people come across… so rude in some cases! I guess it's a factor of this somewhat anonymous online life we now live. I think your responses to them, though, were so gracious and lovely, which says a lot about you as a person. Thank you again for your wonderful work in helping other colorists!

  • Ereka Kuzmina

    I only need to sharpen my pencils every 2 years

  • Anita Holmes

    Great tip, I am totally going to change the way I  sharpen…..TFS

  • Suzanne Raif [email protected]

    Your tip of using non-dominant hand has changed my life and saved my pencils! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Samir tumdi

    Thanks for your advice it really helped!! 😀

  • Dena DeShirlia

    VERY GOOD INFORMATION. I am SO GLAD that I found Cher and watched her video. Thank you

  • Dena DeShirlia

    Your tip of using non-dominant hand has changed my life and saved my pencils! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jenny154

    Thank you so much that trick with the non dominant hand worked amazing!

  • elkeartsandcrafts Elaine Jones

    Thank you for the pencil sharpening tip. I found that this gave me the best result I have ever had – excellent! I have subscribed x

  • Crystal Ramirez

    i always wondered why i kept breaking my pencils and always thought it was my sharpener. you can probably guess how many sharpeners i went through before i saw this video but thanks!! Now i know

  • Turtlesartfulart thelastbabyboomer

    Negative brush lettering

  • Dolores Ungerleider

    Excellent tips.

  • Dolores Ungerleider

    Excellent tips.

  • B

    Thank you so much! I'll try to take better care of my color pencils next time even if they're really cheap.

  • Diane Sanor

    Most excellent info!  I like how you explain the "whys" and do not just say…don't do this or do this.  Why's are important and you presented it very well!  Thank you!

  • Cheryl turtlemoon

    Thank you! I'll know how to sharpen my pencils now. I did wonder if I was doing it right, and then this video popped up! 🙂 thanks!

  • anna bujarski

    You are Queen of pencil sharpening pencils ! I have tried everything on the pricey Marco Renoir pencils but after numerous sharpeners the only one I was sometimes lucky with was an old fashioned plastic eye liner sharpener.Tried your technique and it works!!

  • MandMArtista

    Very helpful!! Now I know why I was breaking my pencil points when I was sharpening and what to do to avoid breaking them. Game-changer 🙂

  • tabasco14

    Wow, makes so much sense!

  • Brenda Penny

    Thanks this was very useful.

  • Brenda Penny

    Thanks this was very useful.

  • Sean Mooney

    I have been using a hand crank pencil sharpener with my prismacolor pencils. I just do two or three turns and look at the pencil. I have gotten good results and have no negative effects on the sharpener. Of course I don't just push the pencil in and go crazy on the crank either. Is there something I am missing? I don't want to do the wrong thing but haven't had a bit of trouble. All the best, Sean

  • Muse Box Corner

    I use a knife and carve out the point. Much easier to shape too

  • Roberta Reese

    Excellent tips. Thank you.

  • Grainger_express

    Hi thank u. I'm disabled n don't have control over my non dominant hand or shakes. Ive my husband sharpen my pencils for me. We were considering an electric do u have another alternative for a one handed sharpen? Great tips I will have him watch this too

  • brandon smith

    what happens if you try to sharpen it with a logical sharpener

  • Armand Blenker

    I Don't Know How You Came Up With This Deal But It's Good One!

  • Helen Howell

    Using your technique with the non dominant hand is excellent. I was always breaking the tips off my pencils and didn't realise why! Thanks for the great tip.

  • Kimberly Patton

    my favorite sharpener is just the little silver metallic one they sell at W.M…it's not in a case ,just the plain basic little "guts".But it has blades that seem to stay sharp for a good long time and I like to control my rotations since I can stop and adjust the pencil to shave better the side that is staying a bit more uneven.I do like that I get a decent item for my money's worth.It's just a matter of putting it in a box or up for when you need it again you can easily find it,and I learned about just " setting it down"…my cats knock it around or I'm sitting on it.

  • Tina Rice

    Thanks for showing this, I'll sharpen from my left hand from now on.

  • Sandra B

    thank you

  • Robert Slagle

    You are a very good instructor. Very clear and articulate. Thanks for the great tips!,

  • Nancy Lynn

    Makes absolute sense but still so happy you pointed that out…thank you!

  • LisaDawn

    Great info!

  • Susan Dzama

    Thanks for the info 😊

  • Elizabeth Vallely

    Just like to thank you for a very great helpful video! Very good clear information thanks again for sharing!!! Liz.

  • Alexander s.

    U can use an electric sharpen it's what I use no difference

  • CreamintheCoffee

    Cher, I am a new colorist. Couldn't tell by the dated comment, huh? But your little tidbits have made my coloring sprout wings! Love the way your soothing voice puts your subscribers at ease and you never make me feel intimidated. Thanks for all you do!

  • Lynn Leigha

    I actually have an old style pencil sharpener, I only use the hand held if I'm not home and HAVE to.

  • dgmlmax

    Which type of tip is better on a colored pencil wide but pointy or a long slim extra pointy tip? Do you have a preferred brand of sharpener for the prismacolor pencils?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *