SCRATCHBOARD ART What is Scratchboard art? Scratchboard Art can trace its heritage to Paleolithic man's scrimshaw etchings on reindeer antlers and bones. It shares some kinship with the woodblock patterns the ancient Egyptians used for printing on fabrics. And it is decidedly related to the wood engravings of the 18th century which began to express halftones with varied permutations of etched lines, dots, dashes and cross-hatchings.
The scratchboard, or scraperboard, was developed in 1880 by block makers in Vienna, Paris and Milan. The first version was a cardboard coated with hard wax and chalk, which was embossed with a grained pattern and painted with India ink. Initially, this was used as a template to be photographed onto a metal plate in preparation for printing the etching. Today scratchboards are either black or white and coated with white chalk or china clay in various textures and smoothness.
Traditional scratchboards consist of a layer of posterboard or other stiff surface, a layer of white clay and a layer of India ink. Artists scratch through the ink layer to reveal the white clay beneath.
An image done in scratchboard is first sketched in pencil on tracing paper. A sharp point is then used to transfer the outline of the image to the scratchboard. Then, the image is etched into the scratchboard using thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of tiny cuts with a knife or other etching tool.
Many contemporary artists color their completed scratchboards using watercolors or other painting media. This addition of color was first done by artist Norman Gaddini. Mr. Gaddini’s work graces collections around the world. “Sonoma County Fair Poster” Norman Gaddini
“Armstrong Grove” Norman Gaddini
The following are some examples of scratchboard art from master artists of this medium.
Scratchboard gives me the opportunity to create the detail I need to portray the animals I love. I now have two series of scratchboard prints out (signed and numbered).Part of the proceeds of these prints help pay for my other love, the rehabilitation of wildlife. I belong to three wildlife organizations and have had two adult Opossums living under my bed. “Precocious Puddy” Nanci Wright
Scratchboard is capable of extremely fine, realistic detail. Nanci has been jokingly accused of gluing fur to the surface of her work. "It looks so REAL!" the viewers often say. “Blue Ice” “Himalayan Hunter” “Hundreds of motorcycles zoom around the nation with my wildlife etched into their windshieldsand windwings. I use a tool I designed for this purpose and am the only windshield artist to etch by hand. Many of my motorcycles have been award winners at motorcycle shows, and I like to think that my art helped their owners win.” Nanci Wright
John Karl is an artist who has devoted his life to protecting wildlife. His love of wildlife is reflected in his beautiful scratchboard portraits of animals. He has traveled world wide to observe animals in their natural habitats. The following are just a handful of his exceptional works. “Frosted Bison” John Karl
“Lonesome Cry” John Karl
Kathy Yaude was first Published by Figi Giftware. She then had a half dozen animal images published in limited edition prints that were auctioned in traveling auctions internationally.She later became one of the top 5 scratchboard artists in the country and was probably the most prolific of her time with 95 images being published and sold. “Show Off” Kathy Yaude
“Cuddly Cub” KathyYaude
“Tigress” By: Kathy Yaude
“Clouded Leopard Eye” Martiena Richter “Tiger Eye” Martiena Richter "Capturing animals and their unique personalities in the exacting medium of scratchboard engraving is my joy. With a sharp knife I engrave the texture and intricate detail of my wildlife subject. Then with a brush and watercolor I add an exciting dimension of color. The resulting colored engraving is the perfect medium for me to express the beauty and wonder of nature."
Individual objectives: 1. __Practice scratchboard techniques by completing the eye of an animal or bird. This will be graded. DO NOT OUTLINE THE EYE. 2. __Using a photograph as a model, draw the outline of an animal or bird and an outline of it’s value areas using pencil. 3. __Lightly trace your drawing onto the scratchboard so that you dent the surface slightly. Place a stack of newspapers beneath your drawing. 4. __Using the photograph as a model, scratch in the textures and values of the animal/bird so that you create the illusion of form and create visual textures (make it look 3-D and fuzzy/hair/textural). DO NOT OUTLINE THE ANIMAL. Both assignments should show gradation (gradual shading to create the illusion of form). Both assignments should show appropriate textures for the type of animal being drawn. All precautions should be used to avoid wrinkling paper and causing unwanted scratches as these will cause you to receive a lower grade. Do not touch the surface of the scratch board paper.