Scratchboard Art, led by Jenny Dalleywater, is a relatively unknown medium in the UK, with some people relating it to the scraperboards they used to use at school. Materials have only recently been introduced into the UK, so it is hoped it will become more widely used now and because of that the necessary PR might also grow.
There is quite a lot of information on the internet about it and I first became aware of it via www.wetcanvas.com, which covers almost every available medium, where you can find some of the most amazing artwork and it was this that made me want to try it out and and find out as much as I could about it. The medium particularly lends itself to fur or hair textures, but so much more is possible, as can be seen by some of the artists online. It can be as detailed or simple as the artist wants.
What is Scratchboard? - the following is an extract from one of the USA's best scratchboard artists - Cathy Sheeter
Scratchboard art is a form of direct engraving. The working surface is a three layer medium made up of a 1/8" masonite panel as asupport. The support is covered with smooth white clay followed by a thin layer of black India ink, leaving a solid black panel to start with. The artist then uses various tools to scratch through the black ink and reveal the white clay below. Every line, dot and dimple is created by using a sharp blade and variation in tone and value are based on how many lines are scratched in a particular area or how much of the white clay that your eye sees. Coloured inks can be added to the exposed white areas of the work if desired or the board can be left black and white. Large and complex pieces can take hundreds of hours to be completed due to the many layers of tiny scratches that cover the board.
Scratchers are people who like detail, have patience; it is very therapeutic, not expensive, rewarding and a very portable art, just requiring a board and a blade - not lots of colours, brushes, pots and water etc.
Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.