Art Scratch-board Fever

'Moonlight Dance' Black Scratchboard/paper 8 1/2 inches X 11 inches

Unpacking my art boxes into the new studio space, I came across a package of scratchboard paper (also called scraperboard, clay-board). The shiny black surface called out to me and said, “take a break and come scratch with ME”.  

I had a lot of fun with this paper, scratching out a drawing titled, 'Moonlight Dance' on black & white scratch-board.

Moonlight Dance framed by Minaz Jantz

Moonlight Dance framed

The only tool I used to create this drawing was a sharp Exacto blade using sgraffito techniques but know with some online research, that there are scratching tools for finer control. Its surface can also take on inks and paints for color enhancement but I just wanted to get the contrasting Black and White effect and try out some cross-hatching, scrapping, dotting, and gouging to create texture, form, and depth. It is reminiscent of creating prints with linocuts, only it’s less expensive, instant fun, less messy, and can use simple tools. 

Scratchboard is not a new method of drawing but goes back to the 19th-century printing era, replacing traditional engraving practices, as this was easier and cheaper to reproduce illustrations and very popular for medical textbooks and product design.

Scratchboard/paper is still used today by various illustrators for comics, magazines and many wildlife artists can get the fine detail with this surface and further paint over top of the etched-out areas, getting realistic drawings. Here is a link to the ISSA member's gallery to view some master scratchers' works of art... www.scratchboardsociety.com

Close-up view of the sgrafitto techniques.

Close-up view of the sgraffito techniques.

There is cross-hatching, scrapping, and flicking
with the tip of the sharp Exacto knife for fine dots.

Scratchboard/paper starts with a board or paper which is then coated with a thin layer of white china clay, then finished with a coat of black India ink. I notice other types of scratchboard come in silver and multi-color layers under the black and some even come in a white surface with black clay for reverse scratching but something about the black and white is more appealing to me for now. I will experiment with another scratch using the CIAO ink pens and may even try my soft pastels and rubbing alcohol and see what color effects I can scratch the paint.

Till next time, you might find me scratching away and not just my summertime mosquito bites!

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