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A sandpaper pointer, usually a block of small sandpaper sheets mounted to a wooden handle, is a handy accessory for artists who use charcoal, pencils, and pastels. Pointers can be used to sharpen each of these drawing implements, offering the highest level of control to achieve a perfect point. They are indispensable for pencils with delicate leads that need a soft touch, and for creating an irregular point, such as for shading. They are also are useful for cleaning drawing tools like erasers, blending stumps, and tortillons, as well as de-burring cutting mats. We have rounded up some trusty, sturdy options below.
Creative Mark Sandpaper Block
The classic paddle shape of this block and its wooden handle make it easy to hold. Simply drag your pencil, charcoal, or pastel across the 1- by-4-inch surface to sculpt your ideal point. Each block comes with 12 sheets of sandpaper that are securely staple-mounted to the backing but tear off easily to reveal a fresh surface. Educators note: you will get a nice discount if you buy 12 or more.
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Art Alternatives Sandpaper Paddle
When choosing a sandpaper block, it’s best to start out with a medium-grit paper. Some materials can certainly take a coarser grit—erasers, for example, are very durable. And you may find the hollow tubes of tortillons respond better to a finer grit. But in general, a mid-range grit is a good all-around pick. This classic hand-held sandpaper block features 12 sheets of medium grit sandpaper (1 by 4 inches) that are attached to a lightweight pressboard backing.
COSMOS Pack of 6 Sandpaper Blocks
This six-pack of sanding blocks is ideal for educators who buy supplies in bulk and plein air sketchers who like to have the same supplies in every bag or carrying case. Each individual block measures just under 7 inches long and holds 10 standard-size sheets (1 by 4 inches). The heavy-duty metal staple keeps the sheets tightly bound for optimum friction.
Buy: Cosmos Pack of 6 Sandpaper Blocks $9.49
Art Alternatives Sanding Block
Unlike most artists’ sandpaper pointers, Art Alternatives’ version is an actual rectangular block rather than a flat tool. It stays put on a tabletop or sits comfortably in the hand if you prefer to move the block rather than your drawing utensil. Choose from two different grit grades: fine/medium (300) or medium/coarse (150), the latter of which is still relatively fine. The block measures 2.75 by 1 by 4 inches and is covered in high-quality grit that outlasts many others.
Richeson Sandpaper Pointer
Beginners looking for a no-nonsense, affordable option will be satisfied with this little tool. It has 10 sheets of 1-by-4 inch sandpaper on a hardy wooden base. As with our other paddle-shaped picks, the handle features a hole for hanging so your studio stays organized.