Monday, November 05, 2007

November 5, 2007 Bonus Blog
I've got more scratchboards on the way, but first:

"OK, I have a question about the scratch board process. This is a medium that I have never tried. Probably more from fear of screwing up than anythin else.

"The horse and rider show up in the second image but I swear I don't see them in the first. Were these added in with black ink as well? This is one board not three? Right? In other words, you scratched out the horse for the third image. What are the deminsions of the board? Is there a brand you prefer over another?

"Sorry so many questions but I have never had the chance to discuss this with anyone.

"Thanks for sharing and the inspiration."
—Scott Matula, Art Specialist

Yes, the three scenes are from the same scratchboard. I scanned the first one, then brought the board into my office and fleshed out the horse (look at the first one and you'll see a dark area I left alone, so I could come back in and create it). Then in the third one, I scratched out the horse and walker (you can still see the highlights of the rider's head and shoulders), then scratched in the campfire scene and added the horse.

The boards are about 11 by 22 (all mine are cut up so I can't measure one) and I use Essdee Scraperboard from England, exclusively. I've tried other boards but they are dog meat compared to Essdee. It is the Cadillac of scratchboard. Most art stores can order it.

Now on to the work in progress. Here's a split board, separated with a hand-drawn slash of my Lawrence of Arabia blade, and the knives do wonderful lightning effects (below) and highlights on faces (above, right). Notice there are highlights withini the highlights. You don't get that with just pen and ink.

Here's our character Beauty at a clandestine meeting with her lover in Aravaipa Canyon. She is one sexy Apache, no? Wait until she goes "swimming." Ha.

And, finally, here's a canyon scene I like, because you can capture deep shadows with just a few scrapes of the knife. Then really grind it at the top and get a bright sky. It's the contrasts between the light and dark which make scratchboard so effective. Notice how I scraped to beat the band, but still couldn't eradicate all of the sky coverage, but that gives it an atmospheric quality.

The key, from here, is to supplement these dark scenes with light scenes, done with the other Essdee Scraperboard which is white and you add black ink and scrape off of that. An example soon.

"Look what the cat scraped in."
—Old Scraperboard Saying

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