View Full Version : Color Mediums

Diana Lee
10-13-2006, 02:17 PM
I thought I might submit an example I have been working on showing the differences in several mediums. The first is basic black and white on an 8 x 10 essdee scraperboard. The next is oil paint on an 8 x 10 smooth white claybord. Then color pencil on an 8 x 10 smooth white claybord. Finally clayboard ink on an 8 x 10 smooth white claybord. They were all scratched with an xacto and the scratchboard tool.


10-13-2006, 02:30 PM
Diane you are the MASTER. This is so interesting. I just had a gentleman (and I use the term because it won't get me in trouble, read my thought bubble) who informed me that scratchboard is only negative and there can be no color. I sent him to this site but I doubt that he will check it out. He'd have to eat crow.

10-13-2006, 02:49 PM
You've done it again! What a wonderful demo. :clap: It answers a lot of questions I've had about tpes of color and how they work on the different surfaces!
Thanks so much!!:thumbsup:

10-13-2006, 04:06 PM
Very interesting demonstration! Wow... what patience to scratch the same piece 4 times!!

Diana Lee
10-13-2006, 04:51 PM
Thanks people. I made the four pieces for the book I am working on about making scratch art using different mediums so the patience was for a worthy cause. It occurs to me that I probably should have included an acrylic one as well.

Karen, Hopefully he will check it out and he will have a new avenue in which to play with scratchboard.


10-14-2006, 11:35 AM
Diane, would that be an acrylic ink or acrylic paint?

Diana Lee
10-14-2006, 12:30 PM
Hi Karen,
That would be acrylic paint in this instance. I am including an elephant I did using acrylic paint on black claybord. I painted directly onto the black with watered down acrylic paint and then scratched. Where I wanted black I didn't paint the board. I almost always work in layers. paint, scratch, paint again with transparent color and then scratch again, as many times as it takes to get the depth I want.


10-14-2006, 12:38 PM
Wow ... this is so darned good Diana. Wonderful work:clap: :clap:

10-14-2006, 06:27 PM
Diana this is one gorgeous pachyderm. I'm unclear was the elephant painted in acrylics first or is he scratched into the black?

Diana Lee
10-14-2006, 10:15 PM
He was painted, scratched and then painted. I am including details of his trunk first painted, then scratched then painted with a very thin layer of paint. I don't think acrylic paint is the most transparent medium, but it worked ok for this. They're kind of dark. I hope they show up.


10-14-2006, 10:37 PM
You answered an unasked question too...I was considering painting a background on my latest piece on black and didn't know if it would work without scratching the black off first.
Thanks Diane

10-15-2006, 04:54 AM
On the acrylic demo...how did you get the sketch down on the black Claybord? Or did you work directly on the Claybord?
I'm going to try the acrylics and experiment on a small chunk of black Claybord. I'll have lost any respect I've had for publishers if one doesn't pick up on this book of yours.
From what I've seen so far, it's the best!:thumbsup:

Mary Woodul
10-15-2006, 08:41 AM
This is such incredible work. Your perfect crosshatching is supberb, Daina.

Dave Slaughter
10-15-2006, 11:07 AM
I hope you let us know when the book is finished. I'd like to reserve several copies.

Diana Lee
10-15-2006, 11:22 AM
Thank you for your compliments.

Burt, I used yellow transfer paper to get the line drawing on to the claybord. Since I was going to paint over it I wasn't concerned with the color of the transfer paper. Color transfer/tracing paper isn't hard to find.

Dave, I have been waiting since July of 05 to hear from Publishers. I am now looking into self publishing. I think the biggest concern would be distribution, I'll have to check into that. I could sell a few books locally and a few online, but a publisher could distribute all over the world.


10-15-2006, 11:28 AM
Thanks! I've been using the blue Saral transfer paper!!:)

11-25-2006, 08:40 PM
So, do you paint and the scratch? How do you get the paint to not cover up the scratch lines?

11-25-2006, 10:15 PM
You do beautiful work, Diana! I have asthma and have wondered if there is any danger in inhaling particles of clay when scratching on black clayboard?

Thank you,

Diana Lee
11-26-2006, 01:04 PM

Rachel...I paint and then scratch and then paint again, sometimes in several layers. I dilute the paint (whatever it is ink or paint) until it is very transparent. It is easier to do layers than to try to remove some of the color if you add too much, so make it very diluted and do several coats if necessary. Also, if you know you will be painting a layer over your scratches you needn't be so delicate with your scratch strokes. Save the delicate strokes for the final scratching, when you know you will no longer be using a color medium.

Debbie...I, too, have asthma. You definitely do not want to blow the dust out of your way, and even brushing can cause some disturbance. I keep a mini vacuum next to me and use it often, I use a corded one called "Orca". A hand vacuum, like a dust buster, works as well, but it loses it's charge before I am done using it. I have used one of those very small computer cleaning vacuums, but when you are working with a color medium the particles become too heavy for it.


11-26-2006, 01:35 PM
Thank you so much, Diana! I will look for one of the mini vacuums to use. I have been just pushing the dust away from me with a tissue (no additives). It's amazing how many people struggle with asthma these days. But we have to do our art don't we!


11-26-2006, 07:13 PM

11-28-2006, 02:31 PM
The master beyond any doubt...I too wondered about how the book contract is coming on....still hope the publishers 'wise-up' :)

Wonderful work Diana!

Diana Lee
11-28-2006, 06:14 PM
Thank you Meisie,

As we speak (sort of) my husband is researching self-publication. We are getting tired of waiting, some of the publishers have had the package for two years. I included a sase, if for no other reason there is $30 worth of slides in the package.


11-28-2006, 07:10 PM
I wonder how successful one would be marketing it yourself, with all the internet contacts...it will be a lot of leg-work for you I'm sure, but maybe it is the optimist in me who thinks it must be viable ;)

Do keep us updated!

Whether I ever try the technique or not, for inspiration and sheer viewing pleasure a book would be great :D

11-30-2006, 07:34 PM
Just wandering in on the end of this, Diane have you looked at Lulu.com? I know someone that just published his book the Texas Weedeater Massacre on it and has sold out (it's about how he hates to mow his lawn), he a Texas artist.

12-07-2006, 05:23 PM
Diana, I am so excited to discover this forum, and this thread has already answered several of my scratchboard questions. I am going to try and post a couple of pieces I've done, but I have another question. I got some scratchboard ink to use, but haven't tried it yet for color. I tried adding color to a scratched piece with thinned acrylic, but it was a mess. I had trouble with it beading and streaking and giving a dull, flat finish. Did I thin it too much and break down the binder, or did I just give up on it too soon? Hints? Terri

12-07-2006, 05:24 PM

12-07-2006, 05:26 PM
Sorry folks, I don't have this down yet obviously. I just reply posted my own posting, and now am post-reposting. Sorry

12-07-2006, 06:43 PM
LOL, been there! I've had good results with ink with my clayboards. When I use paper scratchboard, I've only used very watered down watercolors.

Diana Lee
12-07-2006, 07:31 PM
Hi Terri,

I agree, this is such a great forum and the people are generous and gifted.

You didn't mention if you were using the coated black claybord or the uncoated white claybord.If you are using the white perhaps if you lightly sand the surface it won't bead up, if you are using the black try not diluting it so much. I really think there are so many advantages to buying the white board and coloring it yourself before scratching. You can use the scratchboard ink to color your blacks where you want it to be black and then venture into adding the color where you want color by using scratchboard inks or other mediums. I like the effect of the sb inks, but your ability to mix colors is somewhat limited.

You don't have to be restricted to one medium. You can use ink as well as acrylics and throw in some color pencil or color pens for detail.


12-12-2006, 05:58 PM
Diana, thanks for your advice. I use Clayboard black. The one I colorized looks better in the scratched areas than I had thought, so I will tackle the background. I am trying to attach very poor copies of the few pieces I have done. Poor because of glare with the photography, experimenting with resizing with inadequate software, etc., but I was eager to see if I could do it. If not, I'll do a Scarlett and tomorrow is another day. Terri

Diana Lee
12-12-2006, 06:13 PM
Did you use acrylics on the portrait? Your work is very good. I really liked the the lady on the right of the first images you posted. I wish I could see some close-up details. Do you use cross-hatching?


12-13-2006, 11:25 AM
Thanks, yes I used thinned acrylic and found the surface quite hard to scratch through afterwards. I am getting better with my camera so will try to get some details. I actually did not mean to send them as attachments. I guess I should have pasted rather than attached. The woman is a picture of my mother done from her high school graduation photo circa 1922. I should have copied it next to that photo, but didn't think of it. I cut too deeply with a dull blade in parts and wasn't sure if that was fixable.
The angel was done in 3 parts last year. I started it just before the death of our good friend, set it aside, started it again during Hurrican Katrina and the bus fire that devastated the nursing home I do outreach with, put it aside, picked it up again during Hurricane Rita and finished it in memory of my coworker who died then. It sounds very sad, but somehow wasn't, because my friends were such jolly souls. Again, thanks. Terri

Diana Lee
12-14-2006, 03:55 PM
OK, I promise I won't get in here and show how all my pieces look with the new scanner, but I really wanted you to see a more accurate rendition of color in this thread. Mostly so you could see the trade off between color pencil and ink. Color pencil gives a better range of color, but ink has better depth and contrast. I need to try a different brand of ink. It is so difficult to find a "permanent", nonsoluable ink in a wide variety of colors. I just bought a bunch of Bombay inks and a set of F&W inks. I will let you know how they work out.


12-14-2006, 04:42 PM
Personally I don't mind seeing them again and again and again :D

12-14-2006, 06:39 PM
Please, keep scanning. This is why I keep coming back to this page.Terri

corvus albus
09-17-2009, 02:00 PM
Diana, you are truly a master of the art. Where is your book???
Corvus Albus

09-17-2009, 08:35 PM
Thank you Corvus for bringing this one back from the bowels of wetcanvas. Diana, you are one hard working artist!! Four of the same piece? Wow!

Diana Lee
09-18-2009, 11:30 AM
Corvus, we are so near the end of editing it makes me want to tell my husband, "Let's just do it as is!", but he's right in waiting til it is totally done, dang!
Thanks Patrick!


09-18-2009, 12:12 PM
Diana, you do such exquisite work. All the color mediums look really good but I think the ink is more intense in color. Does the oil scratch hard when dry?

Diana Lee
09-18-2009, 12:24 PM
Thank you Harold. I really don't recommend oils. Not because it is hard to scratch, (because I diluted it alot with terpenoid and worked in layers), but because it takes so long to dry in between layers.
If you are using it to inhance a painting with more detail then go for it, but if you are using it to color a scratchboard there are better mediums.


09-18-2009, 12:31 PM
Thanks, I've always been a little curios about it since you first mention using oils.

09-18-2009, 03:17 PM
Wow...What an informative thread. Your work is just beautiful Diana! And, I am in awe that you could do the same piece four times....


09-18-2009, 04:00 PM
Diane - wonderful pieces naturally - please could you tell me which cp's you use? Are they water soluable or not?

Re transferring an image - just thought I'd mention that I being a cheapskate just use ordinary tracing paper - trace my image, then on the back of the tracing use white charcoal pencil and follow the pencil lines. Then place the paper charcoal side down and gently rub leaving a light impression on the black board.

I might add that I will be first in line to get your book so please let us know as soon as it becomes available:thumbsup:

09-19-2009, 02:49 PM
Diana you were asking about inks in a variety of colors - well I was very fortunate in having some given to me by a friend a retired stationery supplies guy. They are Sanford Design Higgins - here is a link I found http://www.misterart.com/g1035/Higgins-Color-Drawing-Inks.htm they are waterproof and transparent and there are 17 colors. I have started to use them and really like them.

09-29-2009, 12:56 AM
Diana - Have you had a chance to try the inks yet? I believe I tried both Bombay and F&W but seem to like the Ampersand inks still the most... with the exception of their limited color range (mixing is not my strong suit). I know I have definitely ruled out the Winsor & Newton line a little while ago (I found the color tends to shift on paper after a year or so). Have you done any light exposure tests to determine colorfastness for any of the inks that you use?

Jeniart - I'm SO tempted to try out the Higgins line. Do you have any pieces here that you created with them? What do you like most about them?

09-29-2009, 07:04 AM
Just wanted to add that Matisse (Aussie company) have inks in 22 colours....I have a few of their colours but haven't tried them yet. Link below:-


09-29-2009, 12:10 PM
Jeniart - I'm SO tempted to try out the Higgins line. Do you have any pieces here that you created with them? What do you like most about them?

Hi Sandra - here's a link to the latest one I did using these inks http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=584209. I like them because they are transparent and the colors I have seem to be just right for animals. I wouldn't recommend using mixing them with any other brand such as the Ampersand as they are of different consistency. Hope that helps. I might add that I am completely new to sb so can only tell you of my (in)experience so far.

Diana Lee
09-29-2009, 01:29 PM
Hello Jenny, Judy and Sandra.
I have tried F&W inks. I will include a wolf I did with them including close ups.
I have played with Higgens and Bombay, but not with a serious piece. I have never heard of the Matisse brand and now that my curiousity has been piqued, I will have to.
No matter where I go I always come back to Ampersand. They work especially well on the black boards. Too bad about the color limitations, but I still like them the best over all.
You can always enhance the color with color pencils. I use Prisma color and I don't know if they are supposed to be water soluible, but they are. I have also used water color pencils.
I hope I answered all your questions.



10-12-2009, 01:48 PM
Thanks annamelia (I will check them out!), Jeni (your work is lovely!) and Diana (You're a master at color!).

I just finished a piece with Bombay inks (see below) and I really like how it came out. I agree with you Diana about the Ampersand inks. How do we petition them to make more colors??? :D


Diana Lee
10-12-2009, 02:32 PM
Oh Sandra, these are just beautiful!! I sure would love to see a closeup or two. (hint, hint).
I don't know how to get more colors out of Ampersand. I would be happy with getting just the 6 mixable colors. A warm and cold blue, red, and yellow. I like mixing my own.
And thank you for the compliment.:o :D


10-12-2009, 02:46 PM
Hi Diana, This is your number one fan here :wave: I will definetly buy your book. You ae just awesome, Nickib

Diana Lee
10-12-2009, 06:25 PM
Hello nikkib!! Welcome to Scratchboard! Perhaps one day we will see a post from you, Hum?


10-12-2009, 07:13 PM
Hello Diana Lee, just a note of appreciation for your splendid art work. I too hope that you find a publisher -- have you tried North Light?

10-12-2009, 07:24 PM
Gee Sandra, they are beautiful!

10-12-2009, 10:51 PM
Gee Sandra, they are beautiful!
I agree! Very dramatic.


10-13-2009, 12:05 AM
I certainly can take a hint ... so here are some detail pics:



The original is on a 5x7 board so it's not very big to begin with.

Thanks Diana, Patrick and Rich! It's so encouraging to hear that you like it. The whole "adding colour to scratchboard" is new to me so it's still a learning process.

10-13-2009, 12:09 AM
I wanted to add that I'm starting to learn alot from you Diana. Looking at the detail parts of your wolf picture above, I can see that you use many layers when applying color. So it's like you are building upwards. It looks like you start out with a fairly rich color layer at the base and then scratch, then apply a slightly lighter color (or different shade), scratch, and continue on from there. Am I even close?

Also, you are in the workshop video, right?

10-13-2009, 02:26 AM
Gosh I too am so glad someone dragged this thread up because I'd never seen these before either Diana. Beautiful cat examples, and I want your book whenever it is done! (tell your husband to hurry up :) )

10-13-2009, 11:37 AM
Sandra your work is beautiful - I love the shadows and atmosphere. Thanks for showing.

Diana Lee
10-13-2009, 12:44 PM
Thanks Ltaniea. Hurry up Husband!!
Sandra, thanks for the close ups, beautiful, just beautiful.
Yes, Sandra, that is exactly how I do it. I will include a close up of my Young Tiger's paw in various stages. I do believe it took 8 + layers but I will only show a few to give you the idea. You will also notice I used artistic license with the color. I wanted brighter and bolder that the reference photo, mainly because this image was to be used for t-shirts.

The first one is the reference photo. I found the darkest colors in a given area and used those for my base.
The second is the painted first layer.
The third I have scratched and there is already some layering.
The fourth is the finished product.

Finished Product


10-15-2009, 01:25 AM
You have no idea how helpful that was. Can I send you an electronic hug somehow? :D :D

PS - I so badly would like to scratch him between his ears and give his nose a little kiss. What a cutie! Did you work this from a reference photo that you took?

10-15-2009, 12:30 PM
I'm so glad this one came up again cuz somehow I missed seeing this Diana...Thanks so much for doing all this! I soak up all your tips and knowledge whenever I get the chance! I'm putting this in my favourites so I can find it again easily.

P.E.N. Studio
04-25-2011, 01:32 PM
Awesome work!

04-25-2011, 03:06 PM
Book Book Book Book Book Book!!!!

04-25-2011, 10:27 PM
This thread is so helpful. Thank you for taking the time to do this. I have to say that I still am most fond of the black and white.

04-26-2011, 01:10 AM
Wooo! I'm so glad someone bumped this thread. I hadn't seen it before and it's great!

04-26-2011, 01:44 AM
Great thread Diana! I have been wondering about the inks, so now I know.

BTW, what happened to the book deal? Did you ever get it published??? I would be very interested in getting a copy.

04-26-2011, 09:36 AM
This is wonderful to see the differences. Each is good in their own right, but to see how they are different really helps.

04-27-2011, 02:41 PM
this is a fantastic thread, thanks for bringing it back i dont know how i missed it.

Has anyone tried Liquitex acrylic ink? it's what I use but I'm new & my work is still garbage and doesn't do it justice yet.

12-30-2014, 08:30 AM
Goodness! I love this thread! What a wonderful learning experience. I may have to try this whiteboard stuff...

Sue W

12-30-2014, 01:34 PM
This is a wonderful thread. As a new member, I had not seen it. Thanks to Sue W. for bringing it forward again. :)
I have one more option for adding (almost) unlimited colors to scratchboard. I use airbrush thinner to thin my heavy body acrylic paint. I use heavy body acrylics just because I already had lots of it. I use the airbrush thinner instead of water. It thins the color and keeps it permanent and water proof (which I need because I sometimes rework areas multiple times). It also creates a layer that is very easy to scratch through. Although I might try something different next time, I paint the lowest layers with acrylic inks (where the color is not as important). The piece I posted in the best of 2014 and the beagle on clayboard earlier post were both created with washes of the airbrush thinned acrylics.

12-30-2014, 07:11 PM
Linda, are you also airbrushing the color onto the clayboard, or are you using paintbrushes? I like the acrylic inks, but I also have a lot of tube acrylic paints. Maybe I need to try some airbrush thinner with them next time. And now I'm also wondering if the thinner would work well to dilute the acrylic inks.
I really admire your work.

12-30-2014, 08:52 PM
Thank you, Sande. I only airbrush my backgrounds. I paint in my subjects with a paint brush using the airbrush acrylic inks. It is after I have completed my first layer of scratching that I use the heavy body acrylics thinned with airbrush thinner to paint (with a brush) washes of color over the scratches. I just found it worked for me because I was already used to mixing colors with the heavy body acrylics. I also found the acrylics were much more water proof when dry then some of the inks I tried.

05-21-2015, 12:46 AM
Wow this is a great thread! I hadn't even thought of scratchboard since I was in college ages ago and I had never heard of whiteboard. I am being considered for a commission and "engraving" is the style they mentioned. This thread was a bit of a bunny trail for me but I'm glad I found it. Now I want to get back into this, especially with the whiteboard and color. Ohhhh where am I going to find the time!?!
Diana your work is stunning! Thank you for all the detailed shots. I wasn't sure what exactly was going on with all the different approaches but this really helped. And I hope you got your book published by now! :)

05-25-2015, 09:37 AM

I am also glad that someone bumped this one up as I had not seen the tiger! Fantastic work and helpful instructions! Thanks Diana!

06-01-2015, 02:16 AM
Great thread! My first intro to Wetcanvas was from a random display on the web with Diana's art and a link to this site. Thanks for opening up this whole menagerie of artwork Diana and for your work specifically as an intro!
All the best on the book project!

06-07-2015, 01:03 AM
Diana's book was published a couple of years ago and it's well worth buying.

You can find it on Amazon.