The History of the Crossword Puzzle

A Brief History of Crossword Puzzles

Crossword puzzles, like so many things I love, originated in England in the 19th century, although they were first widely published in the United States. They were a derivation of the “word square,” a children’s puzzle that looks exactly how you imagine it looking. credits journalist Arthur Wynne of Liverpool as being the author […]

Drawings by Pencil Artist Jekaterina Dancheva-Ustrikova

Pencil Artist of the Week: Jekaterina Dancheva-Ustrikova

This week’s featured artist is Jekaterina Dancheva-Ustrikova, a pencil artist from Estonia who creates biological taxonomy drawings of fish, lizards and other wildlife. Jekaterina’s drawings would be right at home in the pages of a naturalist’s field notebook, and her tools are simple but effective. “My tools are usually Derwent Watercolour pencils (I use them […]

How Pencil Sharpeners Work

Pencil Facts: How Pencil Sharpeners Work

Image courtesy of We’ve explored the mechanisms of pencils and erasers, and now it’s time to discuss how pencil sharpeners work.  If you’re exploring the site, chances are you understand just how essential our pencil sharpeners can be.  There’s nothing quite like a well-pointed pencil tip!  For many, the appreciation stops there – the […]

Drawings by Doménique Steverinka

Pencil Artist of the Week: Doménique Steverink

This week’s featured artist is Doménique Steverink, a self-taught pencil artist from the Netherlands who creates drawings using a variety of paper and pencil types. She gave us a breakdown of her tools,  including which pencil and paper combinations she uses to create her drawings: “I make different drawings on different colors of paper and therefore my tools […]


Pencil Facts: How Erasers Work

We know pencils work thanks to graphite molecules breaking off and catching onto the fibers of paper.  Today, we’re going to figure out how erasers work to remove those bits of graphite when you make a mistake.  As it turns out, erasers work using complicated chemistry.  Because this is a pencil blog, we’ll try to avoid too much […]