Electric Lead Pointer (Sharpener)

chrisburton's picture

Does anyone know of where I can purchase an electric lead pointer (sharpener)?

Here is an old version that Doyald Young uses in this video (at 15s). That one is a bit old. It was made in the 70's thru the 90's. I'm looking for a more modern electric lead pointer.

oldnick's picture

It has been said that is a poor workman who blames his tools; likewise, it is unreasonable to expect that owning the “proper tools” will ensure superior results. Unless you're going to be drawing letters for the next sixty-four years, a manual lead pointer will work very well., IIRC…

chrisburton's picture

Whether Doyald or someone unsuccessful used it makes no difference to me. Although I agree with what you're saying, I believe it's irrelevant and absurd to assume that is why I am looking for one. Especially a lead pointer of all things.

oldnick's picture

Of all things, indeed…

Té Rowan's picture

If ypur local stationery shops don't have one, try yard sales.

chrisburton's picture

Thanks, Té. I think I'm just shocked that I haven't been able to find a modern electric pointer online.

oldnick's picture

Don't worry, Chris: buttonhooks and antimacassars are pretty rare these days, too…

Té Rowan's picture

Just forgot... Check art suppliers, too, assuming you haven't done so already. Also, seems some pencil sharpeners work as lead pointers as well. So many queer things in th' world...

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

So, why is a lead holder better than say a .5mm mechanical pencil, which never has to be sharpened. Or, if for some reason you really like the idea of sharpening things, how is the lead holder than a regular wooden pencil?

cuttlefish's picture

re: So, why is a lead holder better than say a .5mm mechanical pencil,…

It's one of those things that has to be experienced. One advantage is the ability to swap out leads of different hardness without fumbling around with fragile, hairlike leads or populating your draw full of bulky wood. They have a very different feel of weight than either wood or thin-lead mechanical pencils. There is also the nostalgia appeal. Just a few reasons off the top of my head.

sendoushi's picture

@Ryan Maelhorn: I don't know if it's the touch or whatever but... I prefer to use a lead holder. I just... don't feel "confortable" with a 0.5 or even 0.7

I don't see a question. Electric vs analog? What's the best kind of sharpener? Isn't the analog better?

chrisburton's picture

@Te Haha, thanks again. (Read below for my concerns)

@Ryan Maelhorn Preference or maybe it's due to being left-handed? Not sure but I don't really like the grip on an ordinary wooden pencil or the rubber grip on others. The weight of the lead holder and the metal grip is more comfortable, in my opinion. As said above, it's also great to change out multiple lead sizes as well.

@Karl Stange Hmm. I doubt it. Those are made for ordinary pencils which shaves the wood as it sharpens the lead so I'm not positive if it would damage the lead holder as well or if it would even fit.

russellm Thanks. I did come across that but if you look at the date, it's been almost a year from that post. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't end up having it. Even if they did, that model is quite old. It was made in the 1970's thru the 1990's so I'm looking for a modern lead pointer.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

too bad it doesn't take 0.7mm or 0.5mm. I might try it. weight and comfort are incredibly important to a writing/drawing instrument. I find the Stadtler 0.5mm i use to feel a bit heavier and more solid than most others like it.

As far as type design goes, I don't know why you would ever want to use a thicker lead. Sure, if your drawing a landscape or portrait, you need that thickness for the shading, but in the 100% either white or black world of type design, I see no real advantage to it.

chrisburton's picture

@Ryan I'm a Letterer not a Type Designer.

oldnick's picture

Of all things, I used to use mechanical pencils quite often, for incredibly detailed line drawings. In witness whereof, I had holders for leads ranging from 6H (cut the paper if you press too hard) to 6B (draw about a foot of line before needing resharpening). Amazingly, I pointed all of the leads with…a manual sharpener. I never felt that my work suffered, nor did the two juries who awarded me purchase prizes for my work.

But that's just me…of all things…

sendoushi's picture

@Ryan maybe the thickness, the feel of the lead just helps creatively. I dunno... I prefer lead holder as I said. I understand why you'd say that for type design 0.5 or 0.7 would be better but think this way, to black out, to "define" the letters you can simply use a pen where the pencil can be the creative side. A little like comic artists with the blue pencil and the inking process. Did I express myself well?

@chrisburton What do you mean by Letterer?

@oldnick on what do you work? Type design?

hrant's picture

I'm sorry, but: how is a "@" before a name better than a comma after?

hhp

chrisburton's picture

Joel-
Are you unfamiliar with lettering? Unlike Calligraphy which is commonly used with a pen, Lettering is drawn or sketched.

riccard0's picture

is a "@" before a name better than a comma after?

Aesthetically, no.
Visually, yes.

sendoushi's picture

@chrisburton Well I kind of am unfamiliar. Is it like... custom type? Like this: http://sendoushi.com/graphicweb/typoholic/ ?

@hrant riccard0 answered. easier to divide and say for who is eheh. maybe it's a twitter addiction also

oldnick's picture

Joel—

What part of “incredibly detailed line drawings” was unclear?

hrant's picture

I think using a leading "@" is worse because it encourages people to scan for and focus on only the part addressed directly to them, turning a thread into a bunch of unilateral conversations instead a multilateral discourse. It's shallow, and potentially vain.

hhp

riccard0's picture

@hrant: welcome to the internet ;-)

Bert Vanderveen's picture

The best way to sharpen leads is with sandpaper. Art supply stores used to stock a tool consisting of a flat bat-shaped piece of wood with a stack of bits of sandpaper on it that could be torn of piece by piece.

The best about this method is that one could shape the lead in such a way that broad sweeps and sharp lines could be produced with one tool (if you get my drift).

chrisburton's picture

Joel
Custom type and lettering are not the same. The following image would be considered lettering. http://jessicahische.is/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/npr.jpg

Bert
Sounds quite messy.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

I'm just asking questions. I certainly would never tell an artist that they were 'wrong' for using a certain instrument. Whatever works works. I'm just curious about the differences.

oldnick's picture

Ryan—

You are just plain curious. Just sayin’…

sendoushi's picture

@chrisburton sorry the newbie question but... is there a market for that? Isn't that a work of a graphic designer?

chrisburton's picture

Joel
Absolutely there is a market for it. Lettering is custom. There has been a market for it for a very long time. Take a look at the work of Jordan Metcalf', Jessica Hische, Doyald Young, Jeff Rogers and Dana Tanamachi. They've all done work for companies such as General Electric (GE), McDonalds, New York Times, Tiffany, Tommy Hilfiger, Oprah, Popular Mechanics, etc.

Lettering is a sub-category of graphic design which one can specialize in. I guess I would compare it to Journalism. You have Business, Fashion, Science, Art, etc.

sendoushi's picture

I see what you mean. You can add there Alex Trochut. I've been a web and graphic designers for long. Never thought of it that way which seems to make sense. I always found out those guys pretty interesting but never had the creativity to do such work and from what I see only the really good ones can make a market out of it, a bit like artists. Am I wrong?

chrisburton's picture

Joel
Well, like I said above, there already is a market for lettering and has been for quite some time. Let me ask you this, do you find all art by successful artists to be amazing? I don't think the American Gothic painting is all that great but that doesn't mean others agree. People have different taste.

sendoushi's picture

Well Chris... you got a point there. Not trying to go much off-topic but... i'm curious since it's an area of my interest. How do you market yourself? How do you reach to possible clients?

oldnick's picture

Chris,

Where do you come up with these brilliant insights? “People have different taste.” Wow: that’s something worthy of a mind no less subtle that Thomas Aquinas…

chrisburton's picture

Joel
I'm not marketing myself or taking on clients at this time. I think it's much more important to educate myself first before doing so (unlike most people who jump right in).

Nick
Are you always this antagonistic?

sendoushi's picture

Once again... that makes sense. Although... I find the better way to educate ourselves is by doing and at least for me client work is always more exciting and more motivating. Still, that makes sense. I guess I wouldn't take any client work related to the subject at this time with the knowledge I have but from what I see you already have a pretty good "knowledge bag".

By the way... you're learning with some books or something? I'm kind of wondering which books are good books about lettering, type design and stuff. Some I know from my old type design teacher but there are so many out there...

chrisburton's picture

Joel
I hear the Doyald Young books are really great. There might be a forum topic about educational books/videos. Honestly, I'm nowhere close to knowledgeable like the rest of the users here. I learn mostly from research online which could possibly have its limitations. It's unfortunate that there are not many educational classes about type or lettering in the US.

sendoushi's picture

You shouldn't even talk about that. I'm in Portugal! There is like no classes at all! The ones I had were part of my communication design degree. Fortunately I got one teacher that is kind of known in the typography world who could spread a lot of knowledge. Still, no calligraphy, no lettering, no type classes around (besides these).

chrisburton's picture

There is only one that I know of which is Cooper Union in New York. It would be great if there were online educational videos we could pay a monthly subscription to.

sendoushi's picture

Chris, you hit it right on the spot now. If there are about other stuff why not type?

chrisburton's picture

Hopefully in the future we'll have something like this but I couldn't imagine the work that would entail.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Custom lettering, especially hand painted stuff, is going through a big Renaissance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFr5PUGb8lY

chrisburton's picture

Great share, Ryan. Also check this: https://vimeo.com/44200022. There's another one on Vimeo that's even better but I can't seem to find it.

Edit: Here it is: https://vimeo.com/14985356

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Nice post, Chris.

IMO its all part of the backlash against the all too clean and easy world of design via computer these days.

Damon, who I posted the video of, is booked farther into the future than Jesus Christ and Armageddon.

Buzz-zing!!!

sendoushi's picture

That Damon Styer video is pretty awesome. I didn't know about fontcast, i'll check them all. Other two videos from chris on the queue line!

hrant's picture

What's with the focus on what country you live in? Unless you can commute to a place like the Cooper Union daily, location is largely moot. It's not like there are great design schools we're not allowed to attend in North Korea.

If you're serious about it, make the move. My vote goes to Reading:
http://www.reading.ac.uk/typography/

hhp

5star's picture

Does anyone know of where I can purchase an electric lead pointer (sharpener)?

Why not 'simply' attach the hand held one to a cordless power drill?

n.

chrisburton's picture

5star
Haha. Best solution I've read so far.

Darling Designs's picture

I know this is an older post and you may have found a solution, but I too have sepnt countless hours looking for anything like the old Kroy pointers. None exist that I can find. I have 2 old ones...nursing them along as long as I can. "Old Nick" must be the wisest man alive and shame on us for not seeing the world through his eyes...yeah that was sarcasm. I am an architectural designer...been designing homes since 1977 and I still draw everything by hand. Hate the cold world of CAD.... For those who recommend the .o5, .o7 mechanical pencils...for lettering and line weight nothing gets close to a sharpened lead. If you can find the pointer portions and attach it to an electric eraser...that's the best I have found...but the drill idea ain't bad...some of those new real small battery powered units might just work.

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