View Full Version : Pastel Pencil Nightmare!!!

07-01-2003, 08:15 PM
K i was finally getting around to useing some of the pastel pencils that i have for fine detail and one of the sets is Cretacolor Pastel Pencils and they are driving me nuts!!!!

I can NOT sharpen these things! Not with a razor, knife, pencil sharpener.............nuffin!

Anyone had any experience with these?? Do ya know what the trick is to sharpening these things without braken them
I tried to be as gentle as possible, but nothin seems to work.

Pleeeeaaaaze help


07-01-2003, 08:34 PM
Hi Stephanie,

I've only used one of these to draw in my painting shapes and the best thing I've found is an electric pencil sharpener. I found a used one in a thrift store and it works wonders. I know some folks use sanded paper but it didn't work as well for me.

Good luck - I can appreciate your frustration.

07-01-2003, 10:16 PM
Hi Stephanie,
I haven't used Creta Colour but have been using other brands of pastel pencils lately and having the same problems.

I found a simple plastic hand sharpener the best, but the secret is it has to be SHARP. I ended up buying a whole box of them and I use a new one whenever I start to have problems. It's working for me. The ones I bought were made by Stabilo, and my original one came with my Stabilo Carbothello Pastel Pencils.

I don't know if they are better quality blades, but they certainly cut very smoothly.

Good luck,

07-02-2003, 03:03 AM
This sounds very odd. I have several small boxes of CretaColour products, mostly their other pencils rather than the pastel ones, but there are a couple of pastel pencils in there, and I have no problem sharpening ANY of them, including the pastel ones, using a sharp craft knife.

Either you are using too much force with your knife against the wood - or, if you are finding that they break every time you get to a certain stage, then the other thing to consider is that the box might have been dropped at some point, and all the "leads" are broken all the way down, inside their wooden casing. This is a real frustration, happens sometimes if a pencil is dropped or banged onto a hard surface. Let's face it, most pencils are simply a wooden casing around a thin lead, which has to be quite fragile, so it is important NOT to bash your pencils around.
Yours might have been broken in transit, or in the shop, for all you know. I would be inclined to take them back to the shop, or send one or two to Creta Colour and ask what they think.

The only pencils which never break, even when dropped or bashed, are those where the lead is fused to the wooden casing. I believe that some of the best-quality graphite pencils, such as Staedler, are made like this. The others which don't break easily are those which are all graphite without a wooden surround, just a plastic casing - Creta Colour make some watersoluble pencils like that.

Hopeyou get this sorted out

07-02-2003, 05:57 PM
Hi there,

When i sharpen my pastel pencils i use a very sharp knife but i use my thumb as a guide to the blunt side of the knife and try only to take the very top layer of pencil off, i then work my way around the tip till its sharp, it works, BUT it hurts my thumb........................ LOL

07-02-2003, 08:40 PM
The only problems i have is sharpening the blues. I DO use a light touch, as ive been sharpening pencils for ever with a blade because i dont trust mechanical sharpeners. These pencils seem to be fine in their casings and right when i think im going to get away with sharpening one the blues crack in mid sharp. Oh well live and learn, i have yet to try derwent, or faber castell pastel pencils.

One good thing did come from all the breakage of these pencils, i ground up the broken tips into a fine powder then add alcohol a drop at a time to reform them into a new pastel, which also made them softer, so all the hard pastels i had that i could not use because they were to hard i pounded into powder and made new ones out of them with alcohol...................i dont like waste :D

Thanks to all for your advice on this subject.