The appeal of the medium to Paula
is the absolute extreme in contrast between the India ink and
the white of the clay base. There isnt a higher contrast
medium. At the same time she enjoys the challenge of softening
that contrast in areas to get away from the harshness the medium
can sometimes exhibit. The sharp crisp lines are dramatic but,
depending upon the tool used, the lines can also be made very
soft by keeping them as fine as possible, spacing them as closely
Paula is fairly liberal about
technique. While the pure Scratchboard medium is that of white
lines scratched or etched out of black surfaced clay board, she
will sometimes use ink wash, watercolor technique, spatter, or
a combination, to get what she wants from the medium.
The beginning of an artwork is,
of course, choosing a subject. When she has worked out all her
mistakes on paper and gotten her subject drawn to her satisfaction,
and worked out the composition, Paula then transfers the drawing
in real size (the size the subject will be on the
finished work) to a clean piece of paper so she then has a nice
neat outline. With her Scratchboard techniques she can make some
alterations in depth of tone and so on, but cannot alter the
drawing shapes to any significant degree once committed to the
board, so she needs to correct any mistakes before getting to
Next Paula will use a technical
knife to cut out the subject shape from the paper, making a stencil.
She sets the cutout shape aside for use in a later step.
Paula starts with Scratchboard
that is not yet inked. She always applies the ink herself, and
she always uses permanent India ink. She starts with an airbrush
(an aerosolizer that sprays the ink in a fine mist) to coat the
board with ink. She will spray until the board reaches the level
of gray desired for the background in the particular artwork.
This can vary from very pale gray to as black as a factory-coated
After Paula has the ground
color she uses the stencil she made in paper and places
it where she wants it be on the board. Using her airbrush again
Paula sprays the stencil to get a fairly dense black stenciled
shape on the board. This dries virtually on contact because the
aerosolized ink droplets dry as they go through the air to the
At this point she is ready to
do the traditional Scratchboard technique of scratching, scraping
and scuffing lines in the black ink of the stenciled subject
shape. Paula uses stippling (a dotting technique with the tip
of the point) and scratching at this point. The line work can
include crosshatching, parallel lines, scooping with a broader
knife to get a bigger white line, anything to get the textures
or softness needed for a particular area.
When the subject is completely
detailed Paula may go back with a thinned ink wash on a watercolor
brush and re-ink areas in shadow to make them less bright or
otherwise soften an area. She can scratch back into these areas
to a limited extent if there is a reason to.
The next step (depending on whether
it is suitable) is to texture the background inked area to define
it as space, or surface, or grass, or whatever.
A final step might be to cut a
new mask of the shape of the subjects shadow and to spray
ink lightly in the resulting stencil to create that shadow. This
shadow would be actually planned at the beginning stages and
would be essential to the entire composition.
This describes most of the techniques
Paula uses in her medium. She doesn't use all of them in every
piece but has them available if needed.
Paula may be reached at: email@example.com.