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Ring Ruler, Circular and Sphere Grid Sketch Books, Pencils, Sharpener Review by Carol Emmert

Koala Tools

Koala Tools specializes in creating drawing tools for perspective drawing and geometric shapes. They have a wide variety of tools that can be used by both children and adults alike. Their most widely known product is the Ring Ruler, an ingenious design that allows you to draw circles with a diameter from 3.25 inches to 6 inches without the hassle of a pivot-point compass. Our girls have been drawing and doing posters and 4-H projects for more than a decade. One thing they always struggled with was using a compass to get a well drawn circle. The Ring Ruler has ended that struggle.

Because of the popularity of the Ring Ruler, Koala Tools released the Ring Ruler Mini which allows for smaller circles to be drawn with the same ease of use. The Ring Ruler Mini works best on circles with a diameter from 1.75 inches up to 3.5 inches. The original Ring Ruler is also available with metric measurements. So far the Ring Ruler Mini is only available with standard US measurements.

Both the Ring Ruler and the Ring Ruler Mini offer young artists and students the freedom to draw circles without the safety issues or manual dexterity needed for using a traditional circle compass. Plus, they are a lot more fun! For making crafts at home, it stops the search for the perfect sized glass or bowl to draw around and allows you to stay focused on your project. Another feature of the Ring Ruler and Ring Ruler Mini are the degree markings. When these tools are set for a 6 inch (Ring Ruler) and 3 inch (Ring Ruler Mini) diameter, you will see that the top edge markings show the 360 degrees of the circle. So besides being used for fun and creative drawing projects, these can serve as a protractor if you’re in a pinch.

Koala Tools equips and encourages artists of varied ages to work on multi-point perspective drawings. They offer a variety of paper options to facilitate perspective drawing projects. We received both their Circular Grid Sketchbook and their Sphere Grid Sketchpad. Both of these are 8.5 by 8.5 inches, and have covers made from heavy Kraft paper.

The Circular Grid Sketchbook has polar coordinates at 10 degree increments and is printed with light teal ink. This gives you the perspective of being in the middle of the globe and looking up towards the North Pole. This circular design allows for easy drawing of mandalas or spirograph style designs. It could also be useful for lessons about looking at constellations in the night sky. At our house we used it for creating mandalas and other circular designs to color. The 30 double sided pages give you a lot of opportunities to be creative. Both our 18 year old and our 20 year old enjoyed using them as adult coloring books and creating their own designs.

The Sphere Grid Sketchpad is also printed in teal ink and offers a unique drawing challenge. This 5-point perspective paper allows you to draw images as though you were a bird flying over the earth. It looks like a grid has wrapped around the sphere, and it also has lines radiating out from the center. This allows you to draw skyscrapers and still keep correct perspective lines and angles. These 40 double sided pages will probably best be utilized by high school and older age artists as the challenge to think and draw in 5-point perspective takes special care.

Koala Tools also makes The Bear Claw pencils. These thick-leaded, triangular shaped pencils are great for drawing in their sketchbooks, using as shop pencils, and for young writers who need a little grip help. Their unique triangular shape keeps them from rolling away, and their 4mm 2B cores help them leave solid lines without a lot of pressure. These pencils come six to a package and have erasers. These are one of the easiest to write with 2B pencils we have encountered because the leads write smoothly with no drag. They would also be great for filling in those bubbles on standardized test answer sheets. The Bear Claw pencils are larger than traditional school pencils, but smaller than kindergarten pencils or dad’s shop pencil. They are a good in-between size that fit both children and adults. You may need a little trial and error when it comes time to sharpen them, but Koala Tools thought of that too. Their Double-Barrel Wood Sharpener has a slot for your regular pencils, and a larger one that sharpens The Bear Claw pencils with ease. Once you figure out the angle to hold the pencil for sharpening, they are as easy to sharpen as traditional pencils.

Koala Tools make high quality drawing tools and offers them at reasonable prices. We would recommend these offerings for ages six and up, with the exception of the Sphere Grid Sketchpad. Our daughters and I had fun using these artist quality tools. We have always enjoyed art, and frequently use drawing as a way to relax after a busy day, or when we need a break from more textbook heavy lessons. With their soft covers and portable size, our college aged daughter can easily slip one of the Circular Grid Sketchbooks into her backpack for some relaxing drawing time between classes. If you need some ideas to get started on polar coordinate drawing in your own Circular Grid Sketchbook, Koala Tools has a free lesson plan PDF to download from their website.

-Product review by Carol Emmert, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2018