Pencil Pointers: the Foray Electric Sharpener

The average #2 yellow pencil on the street is of standard diameter – about 7mm around. Artists’ pencils, however, come in a variety of diameters depending on their maker, some up to 10mm. This can be inconvenient at best for artists looking for a sharpener that works for all of their various pencils, as most sharpeners are made to fit the standard diameter.

The Foray Multi-hole Electric Sharpener.

Foray, a private-brand label for Office Depot products, makes a multi-hole, helical-blade, electric sharpener that accommodates these larger-diameter pencils, their average-sized cousins, and a few sizes smaller and larger than I have yet encountered in Pencildom. The Foray Multi-hole Electric Sharpener, ordered online from Office Depot, was a great surprise – it was far less expensive, quieter (although not quiet) and makes a better (and beautifully smooth) long point for drawing than competitive brands of multi-hole pencil sharpeners sold by the art supply stores.

A slider guide adjusts for pencil size and holds your pencil steady
while sharpening.

Drawbacks are few, but include limited availability (it’s only sold through Office Depot’s web site, and not regularly available in their stores) and a slightly uneven sharpen (rotating the pencil each time it’s sharpened easily fixes this). The noise level, as mentioned before, is not quiet but not at all loud for an electric sharpener, and not as noisy as similar models I’ve used.

My high-tech arrangement for removing sharpening dust from pencil points.

Interestingly, the web text on Office Depot’s site describing the sharpener says that the “Adjustable design conveniently sharpens 3 pencil sizes.” As one can see in their product photo and I can vouch for from my own model, the sharpener actually adjusts to accommodate five different pencil diameters.

The sharpener easily accommodates average-diameter pencils (Prismacolor Verithin at right), as well as larger-diameter pencils (Caran d’Ache Grafwood graphite drawing pencil at center and the chubby Ticonderoga “My First”
#2 pencil on the left).

Having used the Foray sharpener with many brands of color and graphite pencils for close to a year now with no difficulties, I would not hesitate to recommend it.


July 18, 2011. Tags: , , , . Art Supplies, School Supplies. Leave a comment.


After a few suggestions to start a blog such as this, here it is, friends! (You know who you are.)

Expect some fairly random posting, no schedules here, just inspiration when it hits. Your input, suggestions, comments, etc. are always welcome – I look forward to connecting with other people who get as excited as I do about this stuff!

As I noted in my profile, unless otherwise stated in my posts, I am in no way connected to the companies or products reviewed, nor do I receive any form of compensation from those companies.


July 15, 2011. Tags: . Art Supplies. 2 comments.

Zip It!

A good first, and true toy, the Zipit pencil case is just what it sounds like – a pencil case constructed of a single, long, trippy-colored zipper! I found this one at Staples for $6, but a quick web check shows that not only are these available elsewhere (, eBay, etc.), but that there are many other incarnations of Zipit – laptop cases, totes & handbags, messenger bags and of course the pencil cases. The company web site can be found here:


Love the tag line!

Before playing with it …

… and after! It can be unzipped all the way to the bottom – not the most practical feature perhaps, but it scores high on the fun factor!

Oh, and did I mention it also holds pencils?

July 15, 2011. Tags: , , , . Art Supplies, School Supplies. Leave a comment.

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