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Until you’re practiced, you may find it hard to judge when the edge has been completely sharpened. Here’s a tip: Before starting, run a permanent marker across the blade edge. When the marker has disappeared, you’ve sharpened the entire blade.

STEP 4 Repeat Step 3 with the second blade of the scissors.


STEP 5 Once you’ve finished with the sharpening stone, you will see a fine edge of burrs along the blade; these need to be removed. Reassemble the scissors by screwing the blades back together, and open then shut them a few times. Knock the burrs off by making a few trial cuts through a piece of material those scissors are meant for, be it fabric or paper. If you’re happy with how sharp the scissors are, you’re finished. If not, repeat the process.


You should practice on some old scissors until you get the hang of it—Grandma will be mad if you ruin her antique sewing scissors! But it won’t take you long to get comfortable, and then you’ll never have dull scissors in the home again. Once you’re familiar with how it’s done, it’s really no sweat to sharpen scissors and keep them sharp with quick, regular maintenance every couple of months. Happy cutting!

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There are a number of potential problems with this design. A fine point such as this is prone to constant breaking so it's only suitable for harder pencils. The needle point can only make the one type of mark too, a fine line, so there is not a lot of flexibility here. Colouring in large sections of solid tone can be very time consuming so you are limited to smaller sized drawings.

See one of my drawings done with the needle point style: Man with white beard: Graphite pencil portrait

This is my personal favourite and one I devised myself. In this style the wood is removed from the last centimeter of the pencil then the end of the lead is sharpened into a bullet shape. Two types of marks can be made from this design; a softer line from the side of the bullet and a sharp line from the point. Like the chisel, it has a 'self-sharpening' property. The bullet point is also good for hard and soft pencils.

There are not many drawbacks with this design except to say that it does take a minute or two to carve the design to begin with. If you haven't tried this before, give it a go.

See one of my drawings done with the bullet point style: Billie 100 pumps Metallic Jimmy Choo London Gh39yMK

Here are the four main methods that I use.

It's always handy to have one of these in your pencil case for a backup. If you like experimenting with lots of different media then it's a good idea to get your hands on the double sharpeners that have two different sizes. There are a lot of great pencils out there that are a little bigger than normal so if you forget your knife then you can still sharpen them.

A knife is the most versatile method of sharpening a pencil. It can take a little practice but it's a very useful skill to master. Make sure you cut away from yourself and preferably over a bin. With softer leads try cutting smaller bits at a time to prevent breaking.

This is a neat little trick that I use regularly. Try clipping a little piece of sandpaper to your drawing board and if your pencil starts getting a little blunt just run it over the paper a few times to bring the point back. This is especially useful during quick figure drawings when there is no time to get out your sharpener.

This is a very neat way to sharpen charcoal pencils. Simply pull back the string a little then peel off a roll of paper. The best thing about this method is you are left with the 'bullet point' style of sharpened pencil, very nice!

This is my favourite pencil sharpener. It's a dolls head and you stick the pencil into her eye to sharpen it. There is a little button on the back of her neck that pushes the shavings out of her mouth, very nice!

Most people throw away their pencils when they get too short but I actually find them easier to use. When drawing I hold my pencil in two different ways; on its side or on its point. I'm constantly moving between the two positions as I draw and I find my hand gets in the way if I use a long pencil. With a short pencil I can fluidly and rapidly move without restriction.

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The ARTery

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May 29, 2018
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Boston Calling pulled off its ninth musical festival this weekend — its second at the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston. (Check out our photos from the weekend here .) Here's a few thoughts from The ARTery on everything from the lineup, new music discoveries, food, lines and the New England weather.

It seems Boston Calling is settling into its Allston digs. The festival's physical flow and overall vibe felt more controlled and relaxed than last year. Complaints about the frustratingly-long security and food lines appear to have been addressed with sensical solutions like more entrances and more food vendors.

The millions of dollars it takes to pull off a music festival of this scale was on full display. Corporate participation came in different shapes and sizes. Partner Delta Airlines had the Blue Stage. The speaker manufacturer JBL’s logo graced a bigger Ferris wheel that raised money for the local organization Music Drives Us. IKEA introduced a “Music Lab” featuring Swedish hip-hop artists, space for fans to lounge with hanging plants and a “Food Lab” promoting the value of fermented foods and the company's 100-percent veggie dog. The masses walked around with cans of beer from local partner Sam Adams.

The bands on the bill attracted dedicated followers, peaking each night with headliners The Killers, Jack White and Eminem. I spoke to folks of various ages who said they came to the festival specifically to see these acts — their musical heroes. So do those big names sell general admission, three-day passes that cost nearly $300, single day GA at $105, and single day VIP tickets for $229? Maybe they do.

Questions along these lines rolled through my head this weekend. The necessary, often-conflicted relationship between art and commerce is made manifest before our very eyes at a music festival like Boston Calling. It's a complex beast with many moving parts. Opinions abound.

On the artistic end of the equation, there was a notable political thread connecting a slew of acts. From The Decemberists' lead singer Colin Meloy calling the president a “white supremacist” to the once-imprisoned, all-female Russian art collective Pussy Riot's lengthy condemnations of Putin and Trump.

Nadya Tolokonnikova took the stage in a DayGlo green ski mask, her body covered head-to-toe in track-suit gear. One Pussy Riot song married poppy dance beats with lyrics about morning exercise routines in prison. Another stated, “Bad Apples are good for something when they're six-feet underground.” At one point, audio from a dramatized newscast reported Trump had been impeached. The marriage of hard-core political messages with upbeat music, video game-like imagery and dancing delivered a novel juxtaposition.


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