Pencil carving has taken an increasingly firmer foothold among Vietnamese youth in the past five years or so.
This form of art of creating intricate miniature sculptures on pencils, which began in Japan, has gained appeal among local youngsters, particularly university and high school students.
Enthusiasts have founded several clubs, where like-minded members can share and indulge in their hobby.
According to Nguyen Duc Hai, head of the Hanoi Pencil Carving Club, tools include specialized knives like paper knives, scalpels and home-made cutters.
Choosing a pencil to carve on is also crucial, as it can make or break the finished product.
Pencils made of plastic are usually the easiest to carve on, Hai added.
Carvings range from words and images to sophisticated miniature sculptures.
It takes creativity, patience and dexterity to turn average pencils into vivid works of art.
Pham Van Binh, a student at a university in Ha Nam Province in northern Vietnam, who is a member of the Hanoi Pencil Carving Club, said it typically takes between 30 minutes and an hour to create simple carvings, while more technically demanding sculptures take two to three days.
The most challenging part is carving on the pencil tip, which is minute and fragile.
It thus requires great care in order not to break the tip or cut one’s fingers.
Twenty-four-year-old Dang Hong Khanh, who won a national pencil carving contest in 2013, has mesmerized netizens with his gorgeous pencil carvings.
Khanh said that he took up the art form in 2008, when it was in its infancy in the country.
He has founded Sai Gon But Chi Khac (Saigon Carved Pencil) Club and is doing good business selling his carved pencils on social networks.
Khanh also co-owns a café, a venue where his pencil carvings are displayed and like-minded enthusiasts gather and indulge in the art.