Scratchboard Tool Feature: The Fiberglass Brush
Updated: Feb 10, 2021
The small fiberglass brush has been pivotal in the growth of my scratchboard artwork. It is my go-to tool and I use it on every single piece that I do. This versatile tool takes some practice and has a mean learning curve, but if you are patient with it, it will reward you!
A fiberglass brush is many long strands of fiberglass compressed together to form a 'stick' of fiberglass used within a holder. It is called a 'brush' because when scratched with, it creates many very fine scratches - the strands also slightly separate, so it does resemble a brush.
I start every piece with the fiberglass brush. I use it to create the soft glassy texture in the eyes, the base layer of fur (both fluffy and fine), the bumpy texture of the noses, and the smooth texture of skin.
This tool can be used at an angle, on it's edge, and straight up (perpendicular with the board). The textures you get will depend on the strokes that you use at these different angles.
Here are several examples of basic drawing techniques done with the fiberglass brush on scratchboard...
Hatching is parallel lines close together to create a certain value. In scratchboard, the amount of black left between these individual scratches will create the 'grey' in your piece. [i.e. the further apart scratches are and the more black that remains, the darker your grey will appear - even though the individual scratches are white.]
Cross hatching is perpendicular lines repeated over and over. This technique can be used to create different values and textures.
Stippling is when you dab the fiberglass brush into the board to create small dots. I use stippling to smooth out hatching textures and create bumpy textures (sand, noses, reptile skin).
Varied hatching is lines going in the same direction, but that are not parallel. This type of hatching is what I use to create fur textures. Realistic fur on scratchboard is created by these marks that are not perfectly placed, but that are perfectly random.
This video is 2x the speed of normal - to help keep the video shorter and file size smaller.
I demonstrate hatching with the fiberglass brush at an angle, flat and at an angle using the brush on its edge. Then I show stippling and scribbling slightly at an angle, as well hatching with the tool straight up from the board.
The textures in my scratchboard wildlife artwork are created with a combination of these basic techniques.
Get your scratchboard kit started!
You can find the small fiberglass brush that I use here.
The refills for the brush are here.
Other scratchboard tools in my kit can be purchased here.
The Ampersand scratchboards that I use can be found here.
(That's what the refills look like, to the right).
Please let me know if there are any other questions you have about the fiberglass brush!
Find your joy!