Scratchboard is a unique medium because it is subtractive. I start with a solid black ink coated board and scratch away the ink with sharp tools to reveal a layer of white clay that is beneath the ink. The more I scratch the lighter that area will become, allowing me to create a range of tones. Some of the tools I use are a xacto knife, sandpaper, tattoo needles and fiberglass brushes. Because these tools leave quite fine marks, the medium is great for realistic details, especially fur and feathers! After I scratch out the animal in black and white I can choose to leave it that way or color in the scratches with transparent colored inks.
I have been creating animals in scratchboard for almost 20 years, but I still find it exciting when they start to come to life out of the blackboard! Their individual personality and expression are revealed scratch by scratch until I feel that I have captured a little piece of their spirit.
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