Scratchboard as a Medium Negative as Positive, Drawing the Natural World, …and creating texture.
Scratchboard Began in Printmaking Scratchboard or scraperboard (as it is known in Europe) is a direct form of engraving which originated in Europe in the 19th century prior to the introduction of modern photographic techniques. It was used as a less expensive alternative to other engraving grounds such as metal, woodcuts and linocuts. http://animalfineartbycheryl-ann.com/index.asp?ID=26
Scratchboard was used widely for scientific illustration, such as botanical, zoologicaland anatomical drawings; in mapmaking and product advertising illustration in magazines, newspapers, and books. http://animalfineartbycheryl-ann.com/index.asp?ID=26
Scratchboard is still the preferred medium of many professional illustrators today and is widely utilized by publishing and advertising industries' professional illustrators and/ printmakers. http://animalfineartbycheryl-ann.com/index.asp?ID=26
The very first scraperboards consisted of cardboard coated with chalk. (and then covered with india ink) Scraperboards used during the 1930's were white with no ink coating. Cardboard and paper based Scratchartproducts are still in use today as cheaper alternatives for art students. http://animalfineartbycheryl-ann.com/index.asp?ID=26
Fine artists re-discovered scratchboard during the late 1970's/1980's when it became popular as a direct engraving medium, where the original engraving is used as the finished artwork. Scratchboard has been making it's mark in many fine art circles, receiving awards in some of the most prestigious art exhibitions both nationally and internationally. http://animalfineartbycheryl-ann.com/index.asp?ID=26
Tools and How-to Scratchboard uses a specific kind of surface upon which to work: generally scratchboards are made up of three layers: • A substrate, such as paper, cardboard or masonite. • A thin layer of chalk or white clay. • A fine layer of ink.
Some sort of scraping tool is used to remove the layer of ink, exposing the white layer of chalk or clay beneath. The tools can be as simple as a stick, a needle, a blade, or a bundle of sharp wires. Often, steel wool or even sandpaper can be used to create specific visual textures.
Different tools create different types of textured marks. In this scratchboard by Francis Sweet, the artist used small pointed wooden sticks, bundles of sharp-tipped wire, steel wool and a needle-like scraper to remove the ink surface, exposing the white substrate.
To begin a scratchboard, the artist first choses an image, drawing it EXTREMELY lightly on the prepared surface in pencil. Following this, the lightest areas of the image are removed first, followed by successively darker areas. Like most forms of artwork, developing a plan through a series of thumbnail drawings makes success more certain.
Because only white lines are made using scratchboard, care must be taken to only remove those areas that are to be highlighted. This drawing uses too many outlines, and not enough thought towards where highlights should be placed.
Artist Amy Staufer makes good use of highlights in this scratchboard drawing of a tiger. http://amystauffer.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/img_7693.jpg
Heather Ward also uses highlight and shadow effectively in this scratchboard of an elk. http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/heather-ward.html
Francis Sweet also considers the effects of light and dark contrast in the following scratchboards.
John Agnew is another artist who specializes in scratchboard with typicl wildlife subjects.