View Full Version : Scratchboard / claybord - difference?

01-08-2007, 01:09 PM
I really like some of the work here on WC with media used on white scratchboard or clayboard. Therein lies my problem; which should I be using?
I went to my local art supply store but the only product they carried was a scratchboard that looks like thin card with, of course, a smooth white surface. I had imagined the product as thick and inflexible.

When I use watercolour on it it buckles. When I use colored pencil on it, since there is virtually no tooth, the pencil glides over the surface with very little colour being laid down. Not only that but the surface indents due to pressure, AND pieces of CP flake off creating speckles and dashes of dark pigment in an otherwise milky wash of colour.

HOW do you get nice dark colours on this stuff? Diana Lee are you reading this!!?

OR am I using the wrong product? Is Ampersand Claybord what I should be using? How is this different? Is there a product similar to the brand above?


01-08-2007, 03:01 PM
I use Ampersand Claybord Black and Ampersand Claybord White. It is very firm, and takes pigment, but it is still fragile. I was amazed by the amount of detail that Ampersand provides over the scratchboard I inherited that was made of white cardstock. It is more expensive, but in my opinion it immediately makes artwork look and feel more substantial and professional than scratchboard on a light cardstock. Try a small piece of it. I think you'll like it!

Diana Lee
01-08-2007, 08:02 PM
Hi Glenn,

I believe scratchboard is the generic term for any of the boards you can scratch on. For black and white work I prefer the PROFESSIONAL grade Essdee Scraperboard (it is on cardboard, but it is very thick) though it is almost impossible to find any more. For color work I like Ampersand's White Claybord (it's backing is masonite) If you can't find it locally try Dick Blick. Even with shipping it is very reasonable.

To get color pencil to work make sure your pencils are sharp and try to keep them that way. A little light sanding with a very fine sandpaper before you start helps alot. I use the crosshatching method so the pencils have something to grab onto.

To get dark colors I start with black and crosshatch a few layers then I use another color. Indigo blue works well.

I would stop using the thin stuff and just save it for practising new techiques or testing colors or goofing around.


01-08-2007, 08:35 PM
I have some of the Essdee here, plus some stuff that no longer has a name (maybe Paris?) plus some copper, silver, and bronze that I like to play with. The all have cardboard backing. I find I have to be very careful of them and usually end up sticking them to a masonite board I have to work on them so there is no bending or tearing. I also use a piece of tracing paper between my hand and board and try to never touch those with my fingers. I just find them more delicate to work with.If I'm serious about a piece though I use Ampersand. I absolute love the masonite backing. I haven't had as much experience as Diane on the white, but have been playing with it a bit...I like it best with inks.

01-09-2007, 12:30 AM
Jerry's Artarama carries the professional essdee in black, white, and foils. Dick Blick carries the ampersand. His ampersand is at a better rate than Jerry's.

01-10-2007, 11:41 AM
Glenn, that thin cardboard stuff was all I could out of Currys a little while ago. I was so disgusted, I put it away and haven't even played with it. :( It may scratch but I don't even know if that will be worth much :( Have you tried scratching it? Results?