Scratchboard experiment

I finally got the chance to try scratchboard for the first time last week. There are different types and qualities of scratchboard but the general idea is that you start with a black board and gradually expose the white lying underneath by carving away the black.

Scratchboard knife tips and holder
Scratchboard knife tips and holder

Above are the tools I used to complete my piece: these are called scratchboard knives, which are tips that fit into my calligraphy pen holder. The pointed one is used mainly for thin lines and delicate work, whereas the one shaped more like a spade is used to carve larger areas.

Gone but Not Forgotten, scratchboard
Gone but Not Forgotten, scratchboard

It was tricky to get used to the scratchboard at first but after practicing mark-making and planning out the composition in more detail than I usually would, it came quite naturally. It’s just a matter of getting used to marking your highlights instead of your shadows as you would do with most other mediums.

I wanted this illustration to have a graphic feel so I chose to focus on creating patterns to represent the graveyard scene. I would definitely use this medium again for the bold contrast it produces.

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