What is the Slice Tool?

What is the Slice Tool?

Liz submitted today’s question, and she asks, “What is the Slice tool?”

She also wants to know where to get one.

The answer to the second part of her question is easy. The Slice tool is available through art supply stores like Dick Blick, Jerry’s Artarama and Jackson’s, as well as directly from Slice, Inc.

Now that we know where we can find them, what exactly is a Slice tool?

What is the Slice Tool?

The Slice Tool Described

The Slice tool is a ceramic knife similar to the X-acto knife.

The X-acto knife is a long-time artist’s tool with stainless steel blades and great cutting ability. I have two in my art tool kit and I use them for a number of things.

Unfortunately, cutting fingers is one of the things in that number. X-acto knifes and other knives with stainless steel blades must be handled with care because they are so sharp. I know of at least one artist who doesn’t use them due to a propensity for cutting herself.

Slice tools were originally developed for fine industrial cutting work because the ceramic blades maintain an edge much longer than steel blades. Slice, Inc. makes a wide variety of cutting tools, including scissors, with ceramic blades used by industries of all types world-wide.

According to the company’s website, ceramic blades cut better, require less force, and last longer than the best stainless steel blades.

But more important to many of us is the fact that they don’t cut human flesh nearly as well as they cut other things. That’s why their official name is Slice Ceramic Safety Knives.

Types of Slice Tools for Artists

It didn’t take artists long to discover the usefulness of these tools. Artists use Many of the Slice tools. Depending on the type of art you make, and what you draw, they may be helpful to you, as well.

Following are two of the most often used tools.

The Manual Pen Cutter

This is the manual pen cutter. It’s the tool I see most often on the videos published by other artists.

The Manual Pen Cutter is ideal for adding whiskers, hair details, and other fine details to colored pencil art. It has quickly become a Must-Have tool for pet portrait artists and wildlife artists, but I can also see that it would be useful for adding highlights to grassy areas in landscape art, as well as highlights and details to floral art and still life art.

The Manual Precision Cutter

The Manual Precision Cutter is also a great fine art tool. It’s used in much the same way the Manual Pen Cutter is used.

But it’s also useful in cutting intricate shapes when necessary. If you do a mix of fine art and craft art, or if you cut small, complex shapes in non-art applications, this is probably the best Slice tool for you.

The blade is smaller, giving the artist more control in every application.

Using a Slice Tool

How to Use a Slice Tool

Artists use the Slice tool the same way they use any type of etching tool: By scratching out details.

A short video on the Slice Company website shows an artist creating hair-like details on a horse.

Peggy Osborne, who has written tutorials for this blog, uses a Slice tool to draw whiskers and other details on her pet portraits. She used it several times in her Irish Setter tutorial.

Other Basic Information

As I mentioned before, I’ve never used a Slice tool, though I have tried scratching out details with an X-acto knife.

Hopefully, between the information I’ve shared here and additional information from the company website and other artists, you’ve learned enough to decide whether or not you want to give them a try.

In closing, I want to thank the Slice, Inc. representative. He not only answered my questions, but provided the product images you see in this post. It’s always good to get information directly from the source, and it’s especially nice when the people with whom I chat by email are friendly in addition to being helpful.

By the way, here’s something else I learned in email correspondence with the Slice, Inc. They offer three Slice Tool kits for colored pencil artists ranging from a basic sketching kit, to the Masterpiece kit that comes with everything. Each kit includes free shipping. If you’re not sure which Slice tool is right for you, you can check out all the details here.


    1. Patricia,

      The beauty of the Slice tool is that it does not cut flesh as easily as stainless steel blades. It’s designed for safety as well as cutting. My friend who doesn’t keep X-acto knives or other tools uses the Slice tool and hasn’t yet cut herself.

      At least not that I know of. 😉

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