Monday, March 31, 2014

Ashleigh - new scan and tinted

I needed to rescan and touch up this - here is the latest and best version.
Ashleigh, 5x7" Black Ampersand scratchboard

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Owen No. 3

Owen #3 
5x7" on Claybord with Ampersand black ink.
This was done mostly with a #11 scalpel for the face and hair
and a Tombow abrasive eraser for the background. 
Of the three versions from the same original photo this is the one I like the best.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tracing and Transfers

Not a good photo, but I wanted to show something about transferring images onto scratchboard. In this one I started tracing with a pen (the head on the left) then switched to a soft pencil once I saw what a hard line I was getting with the pen.
I've not been doing scratchboard for long, but I already know that the lighter the white transfer line the easier to get rid of it on the black board. The pen left a line that was much too strong. Easy to see and follow, but hard to cover especially in lightly scratched or black areas. So far even some of my finished sprayed works the transfer lines still show.
I also switched from Saral transfer paper to Super Chaco paper. It seems good and comes off a bit easier.
When I was using the white Claybord a few years back I drew the sketches in ink, but now I just enlarge my images on the computer, print them to size, and trace. It's so much easier and, for me, faster - plus, less mess on the black scratchboard to have to cover or work around.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Ashleigh is the daughter of some friends of mine. As a drawing this one is just weird to work on. She has a high forehead anyways and it is  exaggerated with her head tilted down like that. She also is framed in the photograph in a halo of very light blond hair. I haven't done one like this before but it seems all that light hair will have to be added in last so I can get the skin values correct. So I feel like I'm working on a bald little gal so far.
I really wish I had an airbrush for the skin shading on the forehead though. When I add ink washes it gets splotchy and I have to work back into it a lot. I think I'm going to have to drybrush on it to get it a bit darker without having to rescratch it all.

Here it is as a finished work. See what a difference the hair makes. The color difference is just a scanning and color correction issue. I forgot to adjust the yellow to allow for the warmer tones of the Ampersand boards. The top colors are probably more accurate. This is not sprayed with a varnish yet. I'm waiting for warmer weather to spray the boards so I can open windows.

Jen Finished

Jen, 6x6"  black Ampersand board.

Owen Finished

This is 2 7x5 black Ampersand boards photoshopped together. I got so used to seeing them side by side like this I like it now. Maybe if I get the 3rd one finished it will go on here too.
The first one has a very light watercolor tint on it. Neither have been sprayed with the finish coats of fixative yet, but both have 2 light layers of Blair workable fixative on them. That is what is causing the mottling right now. I don't have enough of the Blair to finish these and other scratchboard artists have cautioned me not to mix brands or types of fixative. I guess I'll hunt a bit harder for the Blair. Too much work in these to want to ruin them.
I'm pretty happy with them even though his daddy doesn't think the likeness is good enough. I'm still learning so I'll keep practicing. I've already found a variation of the skin technique that I like better for smoother skin that involves going over the skin in every direction with very small light scratches. It gives almost an etched quality to it.

Friday, March 7, 2014

WIP: Owen

WIP: Owen, 7x5, black scratchboard from Ampersand - Stage 1
My grandson, a very sweet 2 year old. This is about 2 hours worth of work so far with a long ways to go, but I'm happy with the progress so far. I've not tried any portraiture in scratchboard and haven't done any kind of portrait in art for a long time.

Stage 2: lots of scratching into the shadows. It's too light now compared to the bright side so the next step will be to brush a diluted ink wash of the Ampersand black ink over the shadow side and work on the planes of the face. The shadow side looks too flat.
More progress to be posted here as I work.

Still working. The bottom right is the latest scratch progress. I need to work in the shadow areas more with dark ink washes. I'm also distracted by the 3 sunlit dashes in the bottom right area. I'll wash over those too. Coming along though. I want to do a couple more versions of this in the same size. One on blackboard again leaving the dark areas unscratched, and one on whiteboard.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

WIP: Buddy

Buddy, 6x6", black scraperboard, watercolors. from my own reference photo. Buddy was my favorite cat. I'm still pushing and pulling shades of grey and working on the chair. Since Buddy was grey anyways I probably won't add any more color to this that what is there in eyes and nose. 

After several years of working in other art forms, I am returning to scratchboard. I miss it. And there are so many more resources out there now on the internet for help and networking that I think I will enjoy getting into it again. 
One of my big problems right now is deciding which of my photos to work from! No matter what other kind of artwork I'm doing I always take lots of photographs. I have a large stack that I picked out as possibilities for claybord and scratchboard.