View Full Version : Cat Portrait - Ink & Ink Wash (+ watercolor eyes)

02-21-2011, 11:51 AM
I've been lurking in this forum for a while and the work here is amazing! I figure it's time to get more active.

I do a lot of pet portrait commissions and one of my favorite mediums is ink on scratchboard. I use a white scratchboard and apply ink & ink washes. I used to buy the EssDee brand and still have a stash of it that I treat like gold! Until they changed the EssDee drastically, that was my board of choice, now I use the Ampersand Claybord and reserve the stash of EssDee for commission work. I even got my hands on some of the EssDee professional grade some time ago and have a few sheets left. That's what I used for this portrait of "Wonkers".

Here's the finished piece, 6" x 6". The very last step was to put a wash of watercolor on her eyes.



02-21-2011, 12:18 PM
And now for the steps. . .

This image isn't the best, but it's the best I could get - this is the line drawing transferred onto the scratchboard from my reference photo. I use Saral graphite transfer paper. I always have a color & greyscale version of the photo on hand as I'm working. This step is my roadmap - I'm always refining and defining as I move through the process.




There's a clump of light fur missing from below her chin - I filled that in. I also made the pupils larger per the client's request.

02-21-2011, 12:20 PM
Here I've inked the darkest parts with India ink (Koh-i-noor UltraDraw) in a Rapidograph pen.


02-21-2011, 12:33 PM
welcome and outstanding work....and what looks like a great WIP!! im sure many will enjoy this...bravo! please stop the lurking and get to posting!!!

Harry Seymour
02-21-2011, 12:36 PM
Gorgeous piece and love the WIPs.

02-21-2011, 12:45 PM
Washes of ink laid in.

I mix 3 shades - dark, medium & light - to block in the basic tones of the portrait.


02-21-2011, 12:47 PM
The first round of scratching. I pretty much scratch the whole thing to soften & blend the tones. I use a #16 X-Acto blade.


02-21-2011, 12:48 PM
Thanks, Harry & Rod . . . I'm still posting! Had to take a break to play tennis ball with the dog & feed the horse :-)

02-21-2011, 12:52 PM
Now I've added another layer of ink washes. I love the way this fills in the scratches and adds depth & texture.


02-21-2011, 12:54 PM
Fine tuning with scratching where needed and ink (with the pen) and ink washes


02-21-2011, 12:54 PM
More fine tuning and it's nearly finished


02-21-2011, 12:55 PM
Scratch in the whiskers, use a bit of pencil to pull out the long hairs around the edges and tint the eyes with watercolor and it's done!

The bottom and left/right edges of the portrait are rough - that part will be covered by the mat. I always give my clients a "dummy" mat to indicate how I intend the art to be cropped.


02-21-2011, 01:03 PM
I also did a series of details from the portrait - as follows:








02-21-2011, 01:06 PM
And lastly, I made a video with a time-lapse of the steps. If you want to see that, it's on my YouTube channel - click here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGywl_mhIew)

02-21-2011, 01:18 PM
This is great Ann! I really enjoy seeing the WIP too! Off to go see the video too.

02-21-2011, 01:36 PM
Very well done... :thumbsup:

02-21-2011, 02:37 PM
Welcome Ann...thanks for the WIP and the video...this turned out really great!

02-21-2011, 06:59 PM
Welcome! Great to see the WIP, very informative and extremely well done.

How come it says you have over 4 billion posts to your name? Must be a glitch!!

02-21-2011, 07:46 PM
4 billion posts, eh? LOL- I hadn't even noticed that Patrick. I guess my doppelgänger has been busy ;-)

Thanks for all the nice comments everyone!

02-21-2011, 09:18 PM
From one kitty scratcher to another - very well done Ann. Welcome to the dark side and looking forward to seeing your next work. I always admire people who can work white boards as i think they are more difficult than black ones.

Thanks for the tutorial!

02-21-2011, 09:26 PM
Oh, I've been in the dark side (of the white board?) for a long time! I've been hooked on scratchboard since about 1999 when I took a workshop at an illustrator's conference. If you want to see some fantastic work on the white scratchboard, check out Trudy Nicholson (she taught the workshop). Her work is stunning!!

Her "White Oak" on this page is one of my favorites.

Some of her work is pencil on scratchboard. Haven't tried that yet, the "smudge factor" would drive me crazy and she doesn't erase, just scratches.

Diane Cutter
02-22-2011, 05:20 AM
Beautiful work... Thanks so much for walking through your process. That's a real education...


Harry Seymour
02-22-2011, 09:09 AM
Terrific tutorial.

02-22-2011, 10:56 AM
Thank you for the wonderful tutorial. I really learned a lot. Beautiful work. I enjoyed Trudy's site also, but have to wait until I get home to check out your U-tube site. Thanks again for posting this wonderful tutorial with the great closeups and with all the separate steps and explanations of each. I can't wait to see more from you.

02-22-2011, 12:46 PM
This is a great WIP...thanks a bunch. Love the cat also looks so fluffy. Glad you stopped lurking and starting posting here great contribution.

02-22-2011, 02:03 PM
Really super scratching. Sure hope you show us more of your work.