Updated: Feb 23, 2021
Hey there everyone! I am back with the second edition of my Frequently Asked Questions blog post series. I will be answering more of the questions I get asked at every art festival in greater length here and hope that it makes things more clear for you. Scratchboard is not a well known artistic medium, so I'm happy to be able to give you a glimpse into the world of highly detailed, photorealistic, black and white scratchboard wildlife artwork!
Here we go!
#1 How do you fix a MISTAKE?
My process is pretty slow, so large unmanageable mistakes are rare. While I can use ink washes and India ink pens to mask an area that isn't scratched just how I want it, there is no way to 'erase' a scratch that's been put down. Most of the time, the mistakes are that an area has been scratched too much and is too light for the desired effect, so darkening it slightly with an ink wash works very well. Ninety percent of the work that I do is wildlife portraits, so any 'mistakes' that I may see are never really visible to an outside observer. I work the undesired scratch into the piece by scratching over it in a different way.
#2 How do you get the FINE BLACK LINES on a piece?
The fine black lines that many people refer to with this question are the whiskers or fine hairs on the face of an animal. I use the same India ink pen that I mentioned in question one to draw the whiskers back in after the background scratching is done. It would be incredibly tedious and time-consuming to scratch around a fine whisker.
#3 What TOOLS do you use?
This question can be both a technical question from those interested in learning scratchboard themselves or one of simple curiosity because they don't know how scratchboard works. I use a variety of different tools to create various scratchboard effects, but I use the fiberglass brush and x-acto knife on all of my wildlife scratchboard pieces. I also have different wire brushes, scratchboard stylus', steel wool, and sand paper. You can hop over to my "Tools of Scratchboard" blog post for even more information and photos of these tools.
#4 Are the scratchboards PROTECTED or can they still be scratched?
Yes, archival varnish is sprayed on every piece to protect it from dirt, dust, moisture, UV damage, and minor scratches. The artwork is perfectly safe being displayed in your home and is more durable than most people assume. However, pieces should be properly protected during transport because the varnish can be scratched through if gouged with a sharp object.
I hope this second edition of the FAQ blog was helpful and I would love to hear from you if there are other questions that I haven't answered! Send me an email or connect with me on social media to submit your new questions.
Find your joy!