Thursday, January 4, 2007
Scratchboard lends itself well to botanicals and to any subject with hair or feathers. I have a special affinity for irises because of their paper-like petals and veining. The form is delicate and complex that always provides an interesting contour line as compared with a round form of most flowers.
Scratchboard is literally a smooth durable board coated in a white china clay with a final layer of airbrushed permanent black india ink. Artwork can be created in a number of ways on a scratchboard.
The simplest method is to take a sharp tool of any kind and scratch away the black layer to reveal the white beneath. To create a realistic image, an artist must think in the negative. In other words, in stead of drawing shadows as one does with pencil or charcoal on a white page, a scratchboard artist must think in terms of light and only mark on the board where light hits the subject. It is an unforgiving medium, because once a mark is made, it cannot be taken back.
The next method is to add color to an image already created using the techniques just described. Different artists use different media to add color. Usually this process is made in layers. Scratch, add color, scratch again, add color again, until the image is satisfying to the artist.
You can view my scratchboards on my website at