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Scratchboard Etching

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Scratchboard consists of a color layer, that is usually white, that is covered with a thin layer of ink.  When the ink is etched or scratched away from the scratchboard the color underneath shows through.  (Scratchboard is similar to crayon etching.)  A sharp tool is used to remove the ink from the surface. Scratchboard etchings have the potential of producing incredible detail.  Scratchboard and the tools associated with scratchboard are available at most art stores or through the internet.  They are fairly inexpensive. 

The challenge in scratchboard lies in the thinking required for success.  You must think in reverse for scratchboard.  Most of us are accustomed to making dark marks on a light surface when we draw.  With scratchboard, the marks made are light.  The artist must scratch away areas that will represent the highlights and lighter values on the object instead of the shadows and darker values. A common mistake people make is drawing like normal, without considering the reverse nature of scratchboard.

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Basic line drawing techniques are usually used in the creation of a scratchboard etching. Hatching and cross hatching are excellent ways of creating an image. 

Watercolor and other colored media can be added to a scratchboard etching to add color. 

The following video highlights the process of drawing with scratchboard...




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