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A Detail Lover's Dream
Scratchboard is a simple concept You scribe or scratch lines into a black drawing surface to expose a white under color. But there is so much potential with this technique that provides great contrast and is easy to do. Once considered a less than serious art material, or perhaps a material best suited to children's art, scratchboard has been elevated to a much higher level through the refinement of composition and the introduction of new products created for use by professional artists.
The most basic of scratch art materials is actually scratch paper. It consists of strong, lightweight paper that is first coated with white or brightly colored chalk and then covered with black ink and is the least expensive scratch art base available. Finished drawings can be dramatic because scratching reveals rainbows of color. This paper usually measures about 8˝" by 11".
A basic scholastic quality scratchboard is made of heavy paper base coated with a smooth coating of china clay. Black ink is then used to cover the clay surface. It is lightweight and great for student or study work. This type of product comes in a variety of sheet sizes up to about 22" by 28".
Scratchboard created especially for the professional artist has set new standards of excellence. Made by a number of manufacturers, most professional sheets are handmade to ensure a specific degree of smoothness. At this level, you can purchase the sheets pre-inked or un-inked, which gives you the option of choosing the type and color of ink to use. With this quality of product, ultra fine line details can be etched without fear of chipping or crumbling. This is usually sold in full sheet sizes, up to about 20" by 24".
One final type of scratchboard from Ampersand is made of 1/8" rigid hardboard, thickly coated in clay with a perfectly inked surface. Its rigid structure makes it ideal for all types of scratch work. It will not curl with heavy scratch application, nor will it crack, bend or tear. Artists can scratch with precision unequaled by other scratchboard products, and a full range of sizes is available.
Commercially made tools created to scratch the designs are numerous, but one can use anything from a hatpin to a pushpin or tapestry needle. Most manufactured tools are made with wooden handles and some sort of stylus mounted in the end. Some are needle tools, while others are more like small knives. Another tool looks like a large coin with small, serrated protrusions around the edge. Each nub offers a different pattern, each positioned at intervals around the "coin." Ampersand's Claybord Tool Kit contains two scratch nibs with wooden nib holder, stainless steel wire brush, parallel line tool, fiberglass erasing brush and oil-free steel wool pad, as well as a sample of Claybord.
If you fancy details and fine line drawings, pick up a selection of scratchboards at your local art supply center and enjoy this splendid technique soon.Scratchboard Lesson Written by Arttalk.com
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