Many people can’t believe that my very realistic animal artwork is created just from scratches into an ink coated board, but that is exactly how each of my works is drawn. I work in the amazing medium of Scratchboard, which helps bring my animals and wildlife to life in a hyper-realistic way that no other medium can!!
Scratchboard is a unique medium because it is subtractive. I start with a solid black ink coated board and scratch away the ink with sharp tools to reveal a layer of white clay that is beneath the ink. The more I scratch the lighter that area will become, allowing me to create a range of tones. Some of the tools I use are a xacto knife, sandpaper, tattoo needles and fiberglass brushes. Because these tools leave quite fine marks, the medium is great for realistic details, especially fur and feathers! After I scratch out the animal in black and white I can choose to leave it that way or color in the scratches with transparent colored inks.
I have been creating animals in scratchboard for almost 20 years, but I still find it exciting when they start to come to life out of the blackboard! Their individual personality and expression are revealed scratch by scratch until I feel that I have captured a little piece of their spirit.
So while it can be hard to believe, every hair, dot, and dimple is scratched by hand – my works are not photographs! Large works can take several months to be completed, and even smaller ones take many hours.
More info: cathysheeter.com
“Loyalty” – Scratchboard and Ink Scratchboard Art. The eyes are colored with colored inks
I use the back corners of a xacto knife is used to carefully scratch through the black ink and reveal the white clay layer beneath
The more I scratch, the lighter it becomes. I go through between four and 10 blades for each work, as only sharp blades work well for my technique.
“Sounds in the Night”
A step by step work in progress – “The Interrupted Drink”
My first step is to do a layout in photoshop and then I do a line sketch on white paper the same size as my scratchboard. I transfer that line sketch down to the board with a white transfer paper, which gives me a “road map” of where to scratch. From there I just start scratching, often starting with a light area. On this work I radiated out from around the eye and scratched my way out, however sometimes I jump all over the board. After fully scratched to black and white colors were added with transparent inks, applied with a paintbrush. The inks fill in the scratches without effecting the black left behind. After a color is put on I can scratch the board again, and it always scratches back to white. This allows me to work in washes with multiple layers of scratching and coloring. Once works are complete they are varnished with an archival spray to prevent them from scratching easily and even out all of the tones.
“The Interrupted Drink” – the finished work
This work was scratched to black and white first and then transparent color inks were applied over the scratches, filling them in with the color.
“Racing the Wind”
“Sunshine on My Shoulders”
“X, Halt, Salute”
“A Taste of Spring”
“Dressed For Success”
“On The Prowl”
Left: “Black on White” Right: “White on Black”