Pencil Shavings

September 26, 2012

By Raleigh-Elizabeth.

I love artists who turn trash into truly artful treasures, like these pencil shaving illustrations made by artist Marta Altes. Her creative reuse of the colorful curliques makes for the perfect toreador and lion’s mane! They’re delicate and unexpected and prompt me to wonder how I’ve made it this many years without making a tiny tutu from the stuff! That must change.


Look around your desk right now. I’m sure there are at least three items within reach that could be turned into art, right?

P.S. — Altes also has written and illustrated a gorgeous children’s book about a dog called No! who is very confused by his name. Its drawings are equally sweet, even if it is missing the pencil shavings.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah September 26, 2012 at 7:56 am

that tiny toreador is killing me! it looks like it could have been drawn in the 1950s, not sure what it is…

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2 raleigh-elizabeth September 26, 2012 at 8:54 am

Doesn’t it have a vintage feel to it? I loved them so much I spent half the day yesterday trying to recreate my own. (It turns out not to be terribly easy. Maybe it’s because I lack the incredibly expressive drawing ability… because I certainly wasn’t lacking pencil shavings.)

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3 val September 26, 2012 at 8:45 am

I love these. The simple drawings really allow the shavings to shine. What a beautiful and fun idea!

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4 raleigh-elizabeth September 26, 2012 at 8:54 am

Don’t they? They’re so impressive! I want to fill a room with them!

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5 amy c September 26, 2012 at 8:53 am

love these!! wow!!

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6 Christina @ Homemade Ocean September 26, 2012 at 9:05 am

so adorable!

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7 Jenni Bailey September 26, 2012 at 9:41 am

Oh, I love these. They really are inspiring. I love anything that makes art and creativity feel more accessible.

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8 raleigh-elizabeth September 26, 2012 at 10:29 am

I think you put that just right. Accessibility is so important!

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9 how2home September 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm

This is awesome! So creative!

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10 tere September 26, 2012 at 1:01 pm

These are genius!! Plus all illustration on her website is really awesome, such a talented gal! Looks like a stylish version of Quentin Blake (he is the master anyways!)

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11 Design Mom September 27, 2012 at 9:26 am

I agree! They are totally Quentin-Blake-esque. I think the whole idea is so genius!

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12 TsipiLevin September 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Great drawings! love the toreador :)

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13 teresa September 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm

wow! how nice .I adore them!

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14 Lover of pencil shavings September 26, 2012 at 7:49 pm

That quote from “You’ve Got Mail” — what is it? Something about Fall and a bouquet of pencils. And that would mean shavings galore. I’m already thinking of the gazillion wonderful lil’ sketches — you mentioned the lion’s mane. How about the hula skirt? Or the crinoline under the just-gotta-have Poodle Skirt because you never know when it’ll be the perfect moment for a 50′s Party. (Indeed, I’m thinking: Next month for my daugher’s b’day party. Or a flamenco dance fan (now I’m think my Mom-Birthday-Party in 2 months. ha!). Makes ‘ya dizzy considering the pencil-possibilities–of-the-shavings. What a great post. Love it; love it; love it.

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15 Amy Hackworth September 26, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Ha! I once saved a whole mason jar of colored pencil shavings when I was a kid! I thought they were so beautiful. I knew they had possibility, but I didn’t know what it was until now! Thanks, Raleigh-Elizabeth!

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