David Rees relinquished his career as a political cartoonist for a more obscure profession—artisanal pencil sharpening. Rees takes pencil sharpening to new dimensions, crafting each point using classic manual sharpeners, aiming to fit the needs of writers, artists, contractors, and standardized test takers. Rees shares his secrets in his extensive new book How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical and Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening (Melville House). This month, Rees, a Beacon resident, returns to the Hudson Valley on his nationwide tour to lead a “How to Sharpen Pencils” workshop and book signing. Bring along a dull pencil when Rees comes to Hudson Valley Auctioneers in Beacon on May 5 and The Spotty Dog in Hudson on May 6. Call for times. To discover more information on the art of pencil sharpening and how to have your pencil hand-sharpened by David Rees, visit Artisanalpencilsharpening.com. (845) 831 6800, Hudsonvalleyauctioneers.com; (518) 671-6006, Thespottydog.com.