View Full Version : scratchboard mushrooms

10-27-2002, 07:21 PM
I just did this today and wanted to share it. Its scratchbord then finished with inks, 5 x 7. Its a Fun Fun meduim to work with IMHO and no messes. Kinda intense for some , since u have to think ahead where the lines are to be scratched, but well worth a try. I havent been doing it for long or have finished to many but what I have done has been rewarding. I hope many of you give it a try one day.



Its NOT as yellow looking in the original not sure why it is here. Used sepia, green and red...no red showing either...sigh

10-28-2002, 04:28 PM
This is lovely. How do you work the colors in?

10-28-2002, 05:33 PM
hi Sassybird..I use higgins and koh-i-noor inks to work the color in. And a very very small brush. Like Bob Ross said..3 hairs and some air.. :) Its easier then it looks or sounds but a bit tense. gota have patience with it is all but the end result is very pleasing. Thank u for the nice comment on it :)


Southern Style
10-28-2002, 06:08 PM
Very nice work and interesting technique! Thanks for sharing!

10-28-2002, 08:40 PM
I really like this Laurie!
I can see how it would take a lot of planning.

10-30-2002, 01:22 AM
Looks Great! :D

When you are brushing on the colored ink, do you have to be careful not to get it on the black,or does it matter?


10-31-2002, 07:45 PM
This looks great.
I bought some student-grade scratchboard (Scratch-Art) to try out, and it won't work at all, with a proper tool or anything else. I get better results with ink over oil pastel, but it doesn't have that professional look. I didn't expect student grade to be fabulous, but I did expect it to work! It flakes off when I try to scratch a line.
What kind of scratchboard are you using?

10-31-2002, 10:45 PM
thank you Ladybug.. :)

leaflin..yep it does but well worth it..thank you :)

inkskin...I use such a tiny brush to do it with it doesnt get on the board but there are times it has and hasnt caused a problem since its on black and the inks are transparent anyhow.

awwwwwww sundiver...sorry for a bad time with a wonderful medium...is that paper? not the board? I bought some paper that is not to my liking I had the same things happen when I tried the sheets. I even got holes!! I buy the boards that are 1/8th inch thick I believe. Ampersand is the brand name. site is : www.ampersandart.com. I do hope u can get this board and give it a try..its really fun. good luck and please let me know :)


11-01-2002, 11:08 AM
This is lovely! I've recently started scratching too and it's addicting! I'm going to invest in some Dr. Ph. Martin inks for color, this looks too cool!

There are quite a few scratchboard artists around here for inspiration, be sure to do a search and see what you find!


11-01-2002, 11:23 AM
TY geckonia
hahahha it sure is. u get started and lose track of time. not familiar with those inks. we only have one big art store here and they carry what THEY want to. :( and not very many name brand top of the line products.


11-02-2002, 01:49 AM
I'm pretty new to this forum, and I was surprised not to find a section set aside for scratchboard. Oh well. It's nice to see that there are at least a few scratchboarders hanging around. I guess I'll say "hi" and throw in my two bits.

The student grade scratchboard is total garbage in my opinion. Unfortunately, local art stores tend to provide this as the only option. I can't help thinking that scratchboard would be more popular if a higher quality product were readily available.

When I got started with scratchboard I used the student stuff like everyone else, but not for long. I soon found Essdee Scraperboard was far superior. It was more expensive and only available via mail order (Dick Blick or Daniel Smith), but what a difference! If you haven't tried Essdee Scraperboard you are really missing out.

I recently tried Claybord Black from Ampersand. I am pretty impressed with the product and I'm very impressed with the company. They have nearly won me over. Claybord stays nice and flat where the Essdee board has a tendency to curl. The fact that Claybord is heavy can be a plus and a minus at the same time.

I ordered a few board of Claybord Black but didn't like the surface of the boards. They had tiny sanding marks on them (part of the finishing process). I called the company and they replaced the boards for me. The new boards were much better. They also sent a couple of samples of inked but unsanded boards, which I prefer.

The only color I put on my pieces is with Photoshop. I ruined a nice piece once by putting color directly on the board. I doubt I'll ever try that again. :)


11-02-2002, 07:20 AM

Really like your painting of the mushrooms. Didn't know anything about scratchboard but it looks like something I might like to try.

What do you use to scratch your design with? Is there a special tool? Would watercolors work for the color part rather than inks?

When I was in a high school art class, we did something once that was somewhat akin to this. We first painted a variety of colors on a piece of heavy paper, then covered it totally with black crayon. Next we scratched a design through the black layer with a stylus to expose the colors beneath. I really enjoyed doing that, so I think this scratchboard style of art would be fun too.


11-03-2002, 12:06 PM
Russ, I agree with u totally on the student grade boards!!!! IF I had continued to try working with them I think I would have given this wonderful medium up all together. I am going to look into the Essdee Scraperboard u speak of. What are the assets over the Ampersand? I did have a few boards I got that when I scratched a large area it came out with the circles... :( good thing they were only practice boards. I was playing with the inks then.

The only color I put on my pieces is with Photoshop
U might try getting a big board , one that u can do lots of practice on, to play with the inks til u are sure of yourself. Someone in here suggested I do that and its worked out for me :)

Sylvia ...thank u for the comment :) go for it but as the post before DONT get the student grade..pleeeease!!! it discourages u IMHO
I use just about anything that I think will work for scratching. They do make tools for it though and I did buy some but I still found I needed more so I went looking for different things. Geeeeeee we never did that when I was in school!! That would entice the imagination in a child to continue on.


11-04-2002, 01:00 AM
Hi Laurie,

Here is what I know about the two types of boards:

There isn't much difference in the working surface of either Essdee or Claybord Black. There are differences, but both are a joy to work with. Claybord has a more uniform surface so the scratches tend to give less friction - not a criticism, just an observation.

Essdee Scraperboard is produced on a mat board-type substrate (hey, fancy word!). This gives it a tendency to curl with temperature and humidity changes. This movement could potentially shorten the life of the work, but I have illustrations that are 10 years old and no worse for the wear. In fact, I have abused them by keeping them in stacks instead of framing them or archiving them perfectly flat. With Essdee the ink/clay surface can crack if bent too far, and for some reason people have a tendency to try this sometimes without asking what the consequences will be. :mad: The lighter board makes Essdee easier to move around on the table. I tend to spin my work around, which isn't quite as easy to so with Claybord. Essdee also has a brighter white clay than Claybord. This isn't a show stopper, but it's easy to see the difference - again, just an observation. Cutting Essdee is like cutting mat board. I cut mine with a ruler and exacto knife. Since I often work small, I can get a dozen illustrations out of a single 19" x 24" board (sometimes more, sometimes less). Essdee comes in white, and pre-inked black boards. The "professional grade" board is about twice the thickness of their regular board. It has the same tendency to curl, and the surface is identical.

Claybord is produced on tempered masonite, which stays nice and flat. This stability should theoreticially make the art last longer. It would make it easier to frame and there wouldn't be the need to sandwich the art between glass and a backer board to keep it flat. I have never framed any of my work so I'm not speaking from experience here. Clayboard is heavy (1/8" masonite), and not as easy to move around on the table. Small pieces haven't presented any problems for me. Also, you wouldn't want to let it fall off a table onto a hard surface. The corners would most certainly chip. Claybord is not easy to cut. I use a table saw to cut it, and I have to be very careful not to scratch it in the process. It does come in precut sizes. Claybord also comes in white and pre-inked Black. Boards purchased from an art store will most certainly have a light swirl pattern in the surface (the circles you saw). This is from the sander they use to make the surface uniform. I don't like the swirls, and Ampersand sent me some unsanded boards to try out. I really like them. The surface is still very flat with only a few little bumps on the surface. I know these can be special ordered. I'm not sure if they charge the same for them or not.

Student grade scratchboard (postcard thickness) is junk, junk, junk. I can't express how much I hate that stuff. Art stores have piles of expensive boards of all kinds, but they hardly ever stock good scratchboard. It's sad. If I had a classful of kids and needed to show them scratchboard, I would prefer to give them each a 3"x3" piece of Essdee instead of a dozen sheets of the other junk. They would enjoy the experience more, and they would have a better chance of success. Did I mention that student grade scratchboard is junk? Oh yeah, I guess I did :)

Here are a couple of articles I've written if anyone is interested:




11-04-2002, 01:25 AM
Hi Russ,

Just looked at the two links you gave in your post, and the info you gave on your experience with Claybord and Esdee was great. I too have had problems with the sanding marks as my post above yours states and Ampersand has ALWAYS been very good in replacing them. If you ever find out if the unsanded boards are available please let me know. I will do the same.

Thanks for the great info!


11-04-2002, 04:14 AM
Hi Bob,

The unsanded boards are available, but only direct from Ampersand. Elaine Salazar (president/CEO) told me they would be a custom order. I haven't purchased them yet so I'm not sure if the price would be any different.

I'm glad you liked the links. :-)