Exploring Art… Scratchboard

Scratchboard is a unique drawing technique that is subtractive rather then additive. It uses a board that is coated in a smooth layer of white clay, the board is then covered with another layer of ink or paint. The ink is then scraped off using an exacto-blade or specially designed tools to create the image. Scratchboard can be as simple or as detailed as the artist wants.

Scratchboard may also be colored. There are many ways to color scratchboard including: inks, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, oils, dyes, metallics, lustres, gold leaf sheets, etc.

Modern scratchboard originated in the 19th century. Scratchboard became a popular medium for printing reproduction. It replaced wood, metal and linoleum engraving, as it allowed fine lines to be reproduced without losing quality. While modern newspaper, most famously the Wall Street Journal, still use “scratchboard” illustrations. Scratchboard has evolved into a wonderful fine art medium.

Scratchboard is considered by many artists to be a very difficult medium. It is time consuming, and mistakes are not easily fixed. The prices for original scratchboard can be higher then other mediums, but well worth the price.

Scratchboard artwork should be protected by UV glass when framing. As with other artwork, it should be kept out of direct sunlight.

Below are some wonderful original scratchboard pieces. While some of the prices are out of my “normal” range for affordable, they are definitely worth the price. As with all of my featured art/artists these are pieces I would purchase for myself or as a gift.

  • Stillness by Colby Krolak. The link is to a reproduction print, but s the original is available for sale.


3 Responses to “Exploring Art… Scratchboard”

  1. What a beautiful collection of scratchboard and I’m completely honoured that you would count my “petite cerise” piece among them! You’ve got a new follower to your blog.

  2. Lesley Barrett Says:

    Thank you kelly for including my kitty cat on your blog with so many other fine artists. I feel quite humbled. Love the blurb at the top. Sums up scratchboard very well and in a concise manner. Well done on your blog and I will be following it for sure

  3. Allan Ace Adams Says:

    It’s an honor to be listed with the talented artists that you have chosen. Thank you for including my work. 🙂

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