>So who still uses pencils anyway? I do. But maybe it's only a woodworker thing nowadays. I have one of the cool old hand cranked pencil sharpeners in the shop like we had in school (OK yes, I am over 40).
I start with thin layers of carveable wood, in this case, some discarded walnut. I re-sawed the boards and planed them to about 1/4" thick, maybe a little less. Then the various sizes were cut so that they descend in size and the layers build up.