Get your pencils out and sharpeners ready because today, we're making pencil shaving art!
You've probably already seen examples on greeting cards– maybe an "I Love You" card where a small shaving forms a heart or a birthday card with a bunch of shavings as party hats! Ruth Jackson makes some great ones: https://www.ruthjackson.com/product-category/cards/pencil-shavings-cards/
There are a ton of things we can draw with pencil shavings, so let’s get into it!
To begin, gather your supplies: pencils, a sharpener, paper, adhesive, and an X-acto knife (optional). I sharpened my pencils until I had plenty of shavings to use. You might notice I took my Sect sharpener apart– this was so I could continuously sharpen without being limited to the canister. It’s good to be careful and not rush when sharpening so you don’t end up with a bunch of broken pieces.
For my first go at pencil shaving art, I chose to draw a Siamese fighting fish, or betta fish. They have these really lovely fins, and I wanted to use the shavings for them. I used flat notecards that were gathering dust in my stationery collection, so I could have the option of sending them as postcards. I couldn’t find my regular glue, but this glue tape dispenser from Tombow actually worked really well!
I layered the shavings to build the tail and fin. Have you noticed the different shaving edges you can get from different pencil barrels? The frilled shavings are from semi-hex pencils, and the smooth ones are from round pencils, naturally. Here's a good close-up of the Sect sharpener– notice the difference in length between the long point and standard point blades.
I added in some last-minute details, and ta-da! This was a good introduction, but I wanted to try some other things.
On my second go, I channelled Spring energy and drew some lines for flower stems and laid down my "grass." Since it's Spring, I had daffodils on my mind, so I took the flowers in that direction. I'm the boss of my drawing, so I made the daffodils all different colors... it's more fun that way!
The shavings were the perfect shape for daffodil trumpets! My X-acto knife came in handy for when I wanted an exact shape that I couldn't achieve just by tearing a shaving.
I colored in some blue for the sky, popped on some black shavings as leaves, courtesy of a beloved discontinued pencil, the CWPE Blackwood (R.I.P.), and called this one done. But! I still wasn't satisfied... I wanted to make one more.
Can you tell it's a parrot from the base drawing? Because yes, it's a parrot!
Unlike my last two, for this one I limited myself to very specific shavings and chose them methodically– I wanted to keep the shapes of the parrot as legible as possible. The yellow shavings are from a pencil we no longer carry, the Apsara Matt Magic, which featured dyed wood in different colors. I wish I'd grabbed the other colors now... they would have been perfect for this tropical bird!
And there you have it! I was happy with this one, after having learned through trial and error with the first two. Doing this made me very aware of the gaps in my pencil collection... being around pencils all the time in the shop, I don't usually miss them at home, but I wished I had some Nataraj Marbles and more Koh-I-Noor Magic pencils while I was doing this.
In any case, this was a really fun and meditative craft activity– laying down each shaving felt like dropping a puzzle piece into place. If you're looking for a new craft for your kids to do or just want a project to distract yourself with, give it a try! You can see pencil shaving art by others and get some ideas from Google Images– there are some really cool ones out there! As always, have fun if you decide to give it a go!
P.S. If anyone has a CWPE Bugle at home, I personally would love to see you make something out of its iconic striped shavings. A zebra, perhaps?