View Full Version : Scratchboard WIP

01-20-2002, 10:48 PM
Some people asked about this in chat.


I've been to paranoid to finish this scratchboard because I'm so proud of the stones in the arch. I'm not too keen on the detail on the right wall, but I don't dare do more to it because (a) I'm not done with the stuff around it, and (b) I purposely want the brightest light to come from the arch.

I used a photo from the WetCanvas reference library (http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/index.pl?photo=476) and if you look at it, you'll see that the leaves are essentially the same brightness as the rocks. This is my problem -- in black and white, they'd look virtually the same. That's my hangup, and I need to do some practice "sketches" to see how I would do it. But I'm such a scaredy cat. :)

Any advice, encouragement, kudos appreciated.


01-20-2002, 11:12 PM
I see what you are talking about:( Looking at the reference photo the leaves do not show the texture that comes through on the stones. Maybe if you completely scratch out the high lighted areas of the leaves and then just small scratches in the darker part to indicate where the leaves stop that might work. I think that practicing on a small piece of scratch board is your best bet. In a medium like that you can't know what it is going to look like until you have done it.

01-20-2002, 11:30 PM
Thanks, Sass (hey, I think you offered advice on all 4 postings I've done on this board, you're very helpful).

The one time I tried it on a scratch scratchboard (haha) I wasn't too happy, so I decided to wait on it. But I think I get an idea of what you're saying, and I'll give it a shot.

I also thought about skipping the leaves altogether, but that darn anonymous photographer (the ref. image is not credited) had such good composition that I realized a little border of leaves across the top would really help out. Nuts on that.

Sometimes when a photograph looks so good that I feel I can't improve on it, I don't (that's why I'm not happy with the right wall -- there wasn't much in the photo to start with, so I couldn't really get into it). But maybe if I take the agressive view and sort of make up my own leaves (using your suggestion) I can get this done.

01-21-2002, 12:03 AM
i think sass gave u great advice...and i think this is coming out great.

Lady Grey
01-21-2002, 03:31 PM
I can't be very helpful, 'cause I have no idea about scratchbord :( (but definetely have to try it some day) BUT ;)
1. I love the texture of the stones in the arche
2. Don't skip the leaves - they add a lot of atmosphere
(I think the idea about practicing differend techniques on small pieces is great - I usually do lots of such samples before I cut out something from my work and the scratchbord is in some way similliar to cutting out paper - you can't improve easily your mistakes)
3. What I don't like is the moss on the left wall - it looks more like hay or grass
4. It's funny how differend media change "the mood". The referece photo is very nice but does not hide any secret. Using the scratchbord you've changed it into mysterious place. Its dark, dangeonlike - I almost feel the breath of monsters on my neck :evil:
I like it - you roused my imagination - thanks :-)))
Lady Grey

01-21-2002, 10:12 PM
Excellent work so far.

Remember, that scratchboard is all about contrast. The harder the contrast the more dramatic it becomes. My favorite part is the outside of the blocks on the right side of the arch. It 's sort of mysterious. The brighter the white next to the solid black, the more it will pull your eye to it. If you want the arch to be the center of attention then the leaves will have to be close to the values of the bottom or you'll be lopsided. Maybe you could punch up the white on the steps, and the hut. Just spot fill ,don't try to bring all of it out. That will allow you to have nice soild leaves. Scatchboard can get away from you when you have too much gray. If you bring that branch across the top leave it solid black. With close-to solid white leaves poking out from behind it. This might give you the depth your looking for. With scratchboard less is definatly more! You might also want to use a #11 exacto for wide solid areas. India ink while your working, and after, will allow you to put some of the solid black back. So, don't worry about making changes you might get something you never thought it would be. Let the art have its own life. You can always rescratch, just don't scratch too deep.
That's all for now, good luck, and don't worry! It'll look great.
P.S. I get scared to death every time I start one.

01-22-2002, 12:29 AM
Now go get some "real" scratch board and see what you can do with that ;)

Do you get a grayscale image to do your scratch board with?

01-23-2002, 12:15 AM
Nice to get some attention. :)

Lady Grey: You're right, it looks like grass. Know what? I got carried away, stopped looking at the reference photo, and scratched in grass. Then I squinted and looked back at the photo and went "oh, that's moss." I may leave it that way, but if you think it's out of place, I can probably shorten the blades. I want to make sure I don't overwhelm the other bright spots, though, so that will have to wait.

Calleorange: I'm ahead of ya on some of those ideas, but thanks for helping me validate my thoughts. My problem with paranoia and reworking this piece, though, lies in what bendaini alludes to (from my remarks in chat): I have crappy grade-school quality scratchboards. They don't hold up well to multiple scratches, and reinking won't work too well with torn up paper underneath. I've got some good ones on order, but they didn't get here in time when I started this project. :) So I have to suffer.

Thanks for looking, folks!

Lady Grey
01-23-2002, 01:06 PM
:D :D :D Now I get it ! I don't think the grass is out of place. I just thought, you wanted to stick closely to your reference photo.
Keep posting ! :)
Lady Grey

01-30-2002, 08:48 AM
Hi Daedalus
I know absolutely nothing about scratchboard :)
It looks quite difficult.
I love the mood you have created in this piece.....as Lady Grey said "mystical".
I feel if I wonder up the steps a world of magic and mystery awaits on the other side.