When starting any new medium, whether for a new hobby or for official artwork, it can often be difficult to get the results you want. Being the master of any medium is not something that comes easily, or quickly, for that matter. As someone who has some experience with watercolors, Copic Markers, Angelus Leather Paint, acrylic, gouache, pencils and ball point pens, I cannot call my self a master of all mediums. However, I’ve practice enough to know which mediums I prefer, and which I struggle with.
When learning new techniques, I do have a few tips:
Practice every day. Even if it is only for five minutes, try something new every day. Throw some salt on your watercolors, blend two Copic Markers you have never blended before, doodle something new in your sketchbook. All these little five minute sessions will add up eventually, and you will find yourself understanding the medium more and more.
Don’t be afraid to ‘ruin’ things. Come to terms with the fact that things rarely, if ever, will be perfect. Try drawing something transparent, even at the cost of it maybe looking a little strange. Try coloring that pencil sketch. If the worst happens, and something is ‘ruined’, you can always try again. If something is important to you, you will find the motivation to redo it or improve it. Otherwise, make peace with the loss and be ready to move on to a new attempt.
YouTube, Instagram and the Internet can help you quickly find ideas and new things to try. Being willing to learn will help your art progress quickly, even if you don’t have hours every day to practice. Be patient and progress at your own rate.
Have fun! Remember that art is a creative expression. Take a break when you get frustrated, but don’t give up!
Creating a full illustration with my newest character design
Not all parrots are as lucky as Malice, the Ghost Captain’s trusty parrot… Not all parrots belong to a loving owner willing to put in the necessary care. Many are hurt by people, neglected, or even left behind by their owners. These parrots, who can be as intelligent and emotional as four-year-old humans, can experience loss and heartbreak. Abused parrots don’t really enjoy life, but some, if found by the Ghost Captain, will always be welcome on his ship. More company for him and Malice. The Captain often finds himself surrounded by these birds, happy as can be, for what they could not find in life, he may grant them now.
As part of a family who now cares for an ex-abused parrot, it can sometimes be difficult. These parrots who were hurt by humans in the past can sometimes bite or scream at those they don’t trust. It’s taken us a while to realize what it meant to have Ruby stay with us, and it has taken more than a few months for her to look healthy and happy again. This drawing is part of a mini-project of mine to raise awareness about the environment. I believe this awareness starts at home, by us looking after the pets we chose to be a part of our family. Be aware of the responsibility you have and never forsake your duty.
I’ve had the idea to make an artwork that had a paper craft overlay for a while now… Finally I have decided to sit down and try something. This project ended up being very different compared to what I usually do, but I loved making it and I’m very happy with the end results. The borders and leaves add a whole new dimension. I would definitely recommend this sort of project for crafty people who also enjoy art.
Paper craft is an art form that I had fun learning about. I will try making more creative 3D frames for my artwork, as it adds an extra level of detail and helps everything look more finished.
The Ghostly Captain and His Parrot: My Character Design Process
“Out on the sea with a crew planning mutiny, no pirate captain is complete without at least one faithful companion. Meet Malice, the Ghost Captain’s feathered friend. Ever since the Captain found him when he fell from a nest on a tropical island as a young parrot, the two have been on many adventures. Malice is all too fond of catching the rats on the ship, as well as chasing after the crew to bite their ankles. He was a source of amusement for the captain, a companion on the lonely seas.”
Character design has always been a very important aspect of my art. I prioritize storytelling in my drawings, so that those who look at my pictures see not just the characters, but their personalities, their relationships with one another and see them as they are in a moment of time.
The Ghost Captain and his companion, Malice, are a duo who were well known on the seas during their lifetime. Malice was known for being chaotic and humorous, while the Captain was more stern and serious. Although this is easy to depict in writing, it is not so easy to convey in a drawing.
For this specific illustration I decided to use a purple pencil for sketching. Using colored pencil for the base of your artwork can often drastically alter the final results, especially when coloring skin-tones. The Captain needed a more ghostly skin tone. Thus I opted for using purple erasable coloring pencils. Pink, orange and peach pencils tend to give your characters more lively skin tones when using markers. Purple, blue, grey and green pencils give your character more pale, undead looking skin. That was exactly what I had in mind for the ghostly duo.
After I started adding in the marker, I could slowly work more and more details into the illustration. I easily used over thirty different markers in this drawing, however, if you are just starting your Copic Marker collection, you can use colored pencils and pastels for shading instead.
Finally I added the white details to the eyes and background with a white Posca Paint Pen.
This is definitely my favorite illustration at the moment. I have gotten more ideas for their story and this won’t be the last we see of them…
I’ve been getting a few requests to help teach artists new to markers how to use Copic Markers. Copic Markers are usually a big investment, so I thought I’d give some beginner tips on how to start with these markers.
Always store your markers on their side as to stop the ink from running to one end of the marker and drying the other. It is also best to keep them out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Purchasing a Copic Carry Bag or a clear tub to keep them in is usually your best bet when storing your markers.
Never use watercolor paper, or sketching paper with a rough texture. This will damage the brush tip on your marker and you will have to purchase replacements to fix the marker. Watercolor paper will also absorb the ink, drying out your markers much quicker than smooth, thick paper will. The best I can recommend is card-stock or Bristol Board.
Start by coloring small areas. Start on smaller illustrations for blending, smooth layering and flat washes of colors. Not only will this help build your confidence, but you are less likely to get streaky results.
If possible, watch lots of videos about Copic Markers and the different methods of using them. Another good tip might be to talk to an artist who has experience with this medium. These tips will help give you realistic expectations on what to expect when you start with your Markers. Although Copic is one of the best brands of alcohol-based markers available, the markers themselves aren’t without flaw. Unfortunately, many artists, including myself, find themselves disillusioned when they realize that Copic Markers will not turn them into a professional, nor will it improve your art without practice. But don’t let this discourage you from trying! Just remember to be patient and not to panic if you do struggle.
Although most people are familiar with fabric paints, leather paint is growing in popularity. What is leather paint? What can it be used for? What are the requirements for working with this art medium? In this post I will give a brief overview to answer these questions, as well as showcase a few projects I have made using Angelus paints.
What is Angelus Leather Paint and what can it be used for? Angelus Leather paint is a specialty paint designed to work on leather, fabric, vinyl and many other surfaces, if prepared properly. The paint is thick and mimics acrylic in most cases, but can be thinned using a thinning medium by Angelus. The paint layers well, however, be weary of how many layers you add on fabric surfaces. Too many layers of paint will create a hardened shell on fabrics which can be uncomfortable or crack with time if not prepared properly.
This brand of paint is often used in customizing shoes and other items of clothing. The Angelus official website has many videos demonstrating the ways in which these paints can be used. In my personal experience I’ve used the paints on fabric, fake leather, suede leather and regular leather. The colors are vibrant and rarely need a second coat. When layering, make sure that the paint underneath is dry. If the layer is not dry, you risk blending the colors you want to layer. Angelus paints can be used to blend with beautiful results, however, the paint will dry more quickly on hot days. These paints are perfect to use for a variety of styles.
What are the requirements for working with this art medium?
Depending on the projects and surfaces you are working on, you will need to purchase Angelus leather deglazier, sealant or fabric medium. You can also purchase Angelus acrylic finisher to give your paints a glossy or mat finish. You will need soft paintbrushes with secure bristles to work with the paint. If you use textured brushes, the texture will remain once the paint dries. I would recommend brushes with secure bristles so that they will not fall out and get stuck in the paint. I also highly recommend using dotting tools if you are planning on working on smoother surfaces or if you want very precise lines and dots in your artwork. When planning your project, do some extra research to make sure that you purchase all the materials you need. If you are new to Angelus leather paint, considered buying a few basic colors to test first. Consider starting out with leather deglazier, the primary colors and a small set of soft brushes. Try starting with a small, simplified project. That way you learn about the medium from first hand experience. This is especially important if you are working towards painting on expensive leather products, as a mistake may end up being very costly.
My first project with these paints was the cover of a Filofax as a birthday gift for a friend. These Filofax journals are ideal for notes, studying and journaling, as they are refillable and made to last. For this project I decided to work in a more detailed style. Armed with a reference picture of a particular rich and grand dragon from the Hobbit, I began to sketch out the basis of the dragon eye. As usual, my creativity did lead me to change the colors of the dragon, as well as adding and subtracting details. For this style I required layering and blending, as well as a good sketch to build off. I started by drawing the eye and scales with charcoal pencil. This worked really well, as I could erase if I needed to. The one thing to keep in mind when using charcoal or pastel is that it tends to smudge. Thus, during the sketching process, the project should ideally be kept out of reach from prying hands (and cats). The paint layers over the charcoal, and in my experience is opaque enough not to tint, even when working with the very light greens.
I was able to easily blend, shade and layer the scales. The paint dries fairly quickly (like acrylic), which is very helpful when you are doing many layers. To cover the journal, one layer of paint was opaque enough, so although I did do second coats in a few places, they were rarely required. It was a fun experience, and I was able to finish the project much faster than expected. Unfortunately that meant waiting in suspense until I am able to present my friend with the birthday gift…
The project took a total of 28 hours. For brushes I used a Pro-Art Multi Use Brush Set of 10. I used Black, White, Neon Popsicle Green, Green and Blue Angelus Leather paint.
As it has been nearly six months since I completed this project, I am able to evaluate that the paint has not chipped nor been scratched or damaged in use. The dragon to whom this eye belongs must be rather intelligent, it’s pages steadily being filled with mathematical formulas and other important studying subjects.
So far, I’ve worked on many commission items, as well as some products that are still available for purchase. At the time of posting this, I have one Filofax journal available, as well as two genuine leather shoes. For more details on the available products, feel free to send us an email. Most of the products showcased in this blog have already been sold or were commissioned for specific people.
The Dragonslayer is not someone a coward would approach… Without a way to see under the deep shadow of his helm, most of the village people have avoided him as much as he has avoided them. He had planned to leave days ago, but with the minimal resources of the town, he had no sufficient funds to move on. He had been forced to stay, communicating with no one as he took whatever food was offered to him by strangers. Thus, it was quite natural of him to be very surprised at the approach of the two children, arms filled with flowers, shyly holding them out to him. He understood what they wanted him to do, and soon he found himself kneeling in the field they’ve been planting, old ash and dirt soon clinging to his armor. He seemed to care little for the heat of the sun, as his dragon-scale armor kept the heat out. The town’s people thought him a funny sight, an imposing figure, kneeling in the dirt, planting flowers! Had they misjudged him? Or had he simply given in to the whims of the children after constant nagging?
Word Credit: Anike (A nice and colorful word and a great way to show that the Dragonslayer is not as antisocial and solitary as you might think.)
Conveying Behavior: A useful art skill
Conveying behavior is extremely important in any form of art. Whether you are painting or drawing an animal in its natural habitat, comic characters interacting or even a small element like a flower blowing in the wind I believe being able to convey the behavior of your subject can be very important. Pretending that your art exists in its own universe, with laws, physics, habitat and atmosphere can help you understand how to portray certain things in your art. Most artists realize this early on, and beginners often start doing it subconsciously. Focusing on it can further help ground your art.
Day 8- Fame
Unfortunately, when someone is wearing fiery armor made from dragon scales, it tends to have the affect of wearing a physical manifestation of a wide range of victories on their person at all times. Not only does it tend to come with recognition, but also a sense of fame that follows like a cloud. Most people can accept this fame, recognizing legitimate achievements and be done with the matter. Others remain distrusting, seeing fame as a sort of danger to their own reputations and ideas. The latter is the opinion of the blacksmith, who nearly had a fit when the mayor sent him to retrieve the Dragonslayer from his work in the fields. Not only did his thunderous expression completely crush the Dragonslayer’s satisfaction at his hard work, but the blacksmith’s barbed statements aimed at his fame seemed to only confuse him, rather than upset him. This miscommunication left the blacksmith fuming, glaring at the Dragonslayer with all the fury he could muster. As for the Dragonslayer, he remained expressionless and voiceless beneath the helmet, seeming only confused and surprised at the blacksmith’s outburst.
Word Credit: Ouma Nellie (Another word I was definitely not expecting! This word most certainly helped in creating more depth in how the characters react to the Dragonslayer. Especially in a small town that doesn’t attract many famous people).
Day 9- Discombobulate
If the blacksmith’s outburst served to do anything, it was to confuse the Dragonslayer. After blankly staring at each other for a moment, the Dragonslayer shrugged dramatically. Finally, it was clear to the blacksmith that none of his words were understood by the helmeted man and had only discombobulated him. Defeated, he simply pointed in the direction of the remaining market stalls, put up by the merchant to sell some things to passing travelers and those in the village who could still afford it. These funds were used to slowly help get the town back on its feet. Outside the main stall, the mayor stood, watching out into the field. The Dragonslayer trudged towards the mayor sheepishly, wiping his muddied gloves on the smooth scales of his chest plate.
Word Credit: Zanet (Thank you for the unique word! The Dragonslayer generally finds people discombobulating. Is it because he cannot understand their language? Or perhaps he finds dragons less intimidating than being social…)
What mediums I used where: Answering a question concerning Inktober this year
A fellow artist wanted to know what art supplies I used where during this Inktober. I remained very consistent in my use of the art supplies, even if I did use a lot more than last year. For the characters and most of the foreground elements, such as the characters and the houses in the background I used my Copic Markers. I was focusing on greyscale colors, especially since I very light grey Copics that served to not overwhelm the artwork. I only used my colored Copics for the Dragonslayer’s armor and two other elements added later in the comic. I used white GellyRolls very often this Inktober, mostly for the reflective parts of the illustration, such as the Dragonslayer’s armor and the eyes of the characters. I also used a set of grey GellyRolls, although these were limited to small elements of the characters’ outfits. For the sky, flowers and other small colored elements in the comic, I used my Derwent Inktense pencils. Although each illustration is unique, this is mostly the order in which I used the mediums. I did variate on some panels where it was needed, however, I hope this description will suffice.
Thank you to everyone who was a part of Inktober this year! Thank you to everyone who supported me and joined me on the adventure! I will continue posting on this blog as I finish writing the behind-the-scenes content!
The mayor of the town had been among those to lose his house and belongings. Fueled by his anger at the seemingly unjust behavior of the dragon, he gathered everyone together and made a speech. This included the Dragonslayer, who hung near the back of the crowd, silent beneath his helmet, ash and sparks still circling him from the fight. The mayor could certainly be characterized as long-winded, overusing big words and professional jargon. This prompted the blacksmith, a man of much opinion and little intelligence, to cause an argument. The Dragonslayer seemed blissfully oblivious to the bickering men, instead staring out at the mountains where the dragon had come from, his helmet still hiding every hint at an expression.
Word Credit: Melissa (Thank you for teaching me an interesting new word! I had to Google the definition more than once, just to make sure…)
Grey scale on Toned Paper:
In choosing my limited color pallet for Inktober, I decided to work in grey scale and use only the autumnal colors of red, yellow and orange. Working in grey scale is a great method of learning to separate the tones of a drawing, as well as focusing on shading. Toned paper allows you to be able to use lighter colors, including white, and helps darker tones stand out. I would recommend using toned paper for studies and such, especially if you’d like to improve with shading and separating tones. One thing that is important to keep in mind, is that the toned paper will affect the colors of your art supplies. Always test the colors on an extra sheet of the same toned paper you are planning to use for the illustration, and write down the color names if possible to prevent confusion.
Day 5- Uncomfortable
As the day was coming to a close, the merchant stopped the bickering blacksmith and mayor, drawing attention to the Dragonslayer. With the whole town suddenly directed at him, the Dragonslayer seemed to squirm in his armor, backing away slightly. The mayor called to him, but he made no response. His lack of reaction, largely due to the uncomfortable situation, caused an eruption of a response from the town people. Soon they were shouting and bickering ten-fold, and not just the mayor and the blacksmith, but rather seemingly everyone had an opinion to raise.
The Dragonslayer took this as an opportunity to slip away and make a small camp near the body of the Destroyer. There he stayed, tired and worn out from the battle. His supplies had waned completely, and thus he would be forced to stay in the town for a few days, perhaps a week. He silently resolved to avoid crowds, and people in general…
Word Credit: Bart (There isn’t a better word to explain how people make the Dragonslayer feel. I don’t think there is a social situation in the world that makes the Dragonslayer feel comfortable…)
Line-Art: Background vs. Foreground
This technique definitely won’t apply to all styles, as many forms of art such as realism do not require any outlining. However, I found it to be quite effective for separating elements of the foreground from the background. Keeping in mind that you want to draw the viewer’s eye to the foreground, and that the darkest art supply you are going to use is the pure black pen for outlining, outlining the foreground characters, items or elements immediately pushes everything else into the background. The darker and bolder the outline, the more likely it will draw the eye of the viewer. This is especially effective when the foreground elements are more brightly colored than the background.
Day 6- Giggle
As the village people slowly worked on rebuilding what they could, everyone seemed at a rather terrible low. The children, soon finding themselves uneasy at the gloom, tried their best to find ways to keep themselves busy. They did not understand what the dragon’s fire had cost the adults yet, and all they knew was the confusion and stress of everyone attempting to rebuild their lives. The gardens, mostly ruined, was no longer a place to play. Two girls then had the bright idea of replanting each and every flower the Destroyer had burnt away. Going into the woods and meadows, they collected every wildflower they could get their hands on. But, for two children, the project seemed too great. They needed someone greater than the magnitude of their project to kneel beside them in the dirt. And who better, they thought, but the expressionless Dragonslayer, perching on the wall of a partially reconstructed house. Giggling, they set their plan into motion, approaching who they considered a silent, helmeted but possible friend.
Word Credit: Karen (What better but the giggling laughter of children to bring the town back to life. Thank you for the very creative word, Mom!)
The Silent Story
Most comics rely on words as well as character expression to tell a story. However, when there is no room for words, the silent story is born. This form of writing takes the form of an illustrated storybook, without the words and the illustrations being on the same page. The words, by themselves, can effectively convey the story. The illustrations, by themselves, still effectively convey the story. This is a fun way of combining the illustration and writing in a story that both the visual learners and the readers can enjoy. This, however, makes it extremely important to capture behaviors of the characters, keeping them unique. The biggest challenge during this comic, was the Dragonslayer. Despite being a brilliant warrior with almost about twelve years of experience, he is shy, awkward and does have a sense of humor hiding under his helmet. His appearance and nature confuse the other characters. An example of this is his friendliness around children, but refusion to speak to anyone. Capturing this was a challenge, both in drawing and in words. Alongside him, there are about six other unique characters, who need to not only interact with the Dragonslayer and each other, but need a unique set of characteristics and behavior their own. Perhaps the extra words and the story told around the illustrations serves as a crutch, relieving me from capturing every moment in art form. However, it is a good step in the right direction.
Dragons and humans were once able to co-exist. But when man tamed the earth, taking down forests and carving away mountains to make space for their ever-growing cities, dragons felt they had to protect the grounds upon which they hunt and nest, the land they have inhabited for years. They became warlike, tearing down cities and towns, taking back the wilderness that were once their territories. Yet man, in his desire to protect, would not be bullied by the dragons.
Humans hunted the dragons, until the few that are left disappeared underground or deep within the waters where they cannot be followed. But those rare few who remained, or returned, were behemoths. One such dragon was titled ‘the Destroyer’. Her tough scales were marred by battles, and she was declared missing for the last forty years. In those years, she had grown and at her awaking she began destroying the small village close to the great mountains where she had been roosting. Her fire blackened earth, crop and house alike. What could one man do against the one determined to burn the world that angered her?
Word Credit: Melindi (The story has begun, from here on it is no longer in my hands…)
Turns out the Hahnemühle Cappuccino book does not appreciate Copic Marker as much as I thought… It put up a bit of a fight and I was left with some streaks on the page. I managed to easily subdue them with an extra layer of marker. I would definitely recommend that you put a thick sheet or two of scrap paper between the pages! The mediums I used also warped the page, but luckily that sorts itself out if I press the book under something heavy for a bit. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of blending I could do, especially with the Inktense pencils in the background. The other pleasant surprise was the Gelly Roll pens. They stood out from the page amazingly! Overall, Inktober Day 1 went very well and I am extremely impressed with the results I managed to get!
Day 2- Evil
There are those who rise up to defend the human world from dragons. These men and women, titled the Dragonslayers, have been dying out alongside the dragons. For someone to become a Dragonslayer, he or she must be the one to land the last blow upon a dragon. From the moment this title is receive, he or she is bound to a life of hunting dragons until injury forces them to retire, or until death takes them at last. These Dragonslayers were risen up to defeat the evil wrought by the dragons, and usually disappear as soon as they had finished their job, laden in gold, silver and whatever spoils they keep from the dragon itself.
This one man who stands against the Destroyer had been a Dragonslayer for over half his life, and his experience showed it. Armed with axe and shield, he was the sole being that stood between the Destroyer and the village. In hight, he stands no taller than one of the dragon’s claws, which is how large the behemoth had grown. The fight between the two raged for hours… The village people rushed to pour water over their remaining crops, as well as put out as many fires close to the houses as they could. But the Dragonslayer took no notice of them. His only focus, was the Destroyer.
Word Credit: Oupa Ad (I was surprised that my grandfather would choose such an intense word… But this is the best word to describe how humans came to view dragons)
The Hahnemühle Cappuccino book is unfortunately not made for the mediums I am using in it. The paper is too thin for Copic Markers, although it is still possible to use them if you have enough patience. The Inktense pencils warped the paper, so I had to be very careful with how much water I used. However, I had no trouble with my linework pens and Gelly Rolls, as well as the pencils when I didn’t add water to them. I love the results I am able to achieve with the Gelly Rolls, and would definitely recommend colour pencils and Gelly Rolls to use with this sketchbook. I will continue to use my Copic Markers and Inktense pencils with water in this sketchbook, however I do think I should warn anyone interested that it isn’t the ideal medium combination for the paper in this sketchbook.
Day 3- Aurora
When the battle eventually ended, it was night. The dragons’ fire still effected the world around the village, leaving a fiery aurora across the sky. The aftermath was worse than most dragon fights. Usually, Dragonslayers could lead the dragon out of the populated area before too many of the houses and crops are affected. Dragon blood has the consistency of thick oil, and taints the earth so that it may never grow crops again. Unfortunately, the Destroyer had been so set on the elimination of the town, the Dragonslayer had no opportunity to lead her away. Those who had lost their houses and belongings gathered together around the behemoth, staring at the creature who had cost them over four seasons of work in the field, as well as over a third of the houses in the town.
Word Credit: Natanjah (Thank you for the beautiful word! It brought a nice peaceful setting to end the battle of the dragon)
Fun Technique to Try:
The Inktense pencils brighten the more you layer them, especially after blending the previous layers with water and adding a layer on top while the paper is still damp. This makes the pencils look vibrant and is very reminiscent of using actual ink, in which the layering works the same. The pencils tend to not blend out completely, but the texture worked well enough for what I was trying to achieve. This layering technique is very fun and I’d recommend it to anyone who uses Inktense pencils.
Welcome to the Introduction of my comic project for this October. In this post I will be discussing what this project is, what art mediums I will be using and show some of the planning that I have done for the comic. This will be my first official attempt at drawing a cohesive story in the form of a comic book, and I will be documenting the experience for anyone curios about the journey.
Inktober 2020 was a great experience, once again reinforcing my habit of drawing every day as well as practicing to work with ink as a medium. This year, instead of the traditional Inktober challenge, I have decided to create my own prompt list and to rearrange the prompts to form a story. Each word in my prompt list was given to me by a different person, meaning that most of the story was out of my hands and was inspired by the those I asked to participate. This story became my art project for October 2021, a comic in which I only have control of the first word. The rest was in the hands of the people I asked for words.
Instead of the traditional ink that is used by most artists, I decided to use different ink-based mediums. This includes Copic Markers, Copic MultiLiners, Gelly Roll pens and lastly, Inktense pencils. They may not be traditional ink, but all include a variety of different inks and methods of use. They added a unique aspect to my October project for this year. I hope you enjoy the story and the journey as much as I will!
Here are some behind the scenes sketches I made while planning the characters. These are made with regular 3H Graphite Pencils, Schneider Edge Pens, Copic Markers, Copic MultiLiners and Gelly Roll Pens. These materials worked wonderfully in my Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook, and was a great platform from which to plan and storyboard the comic.
Learning how to work with a new and different medium
As a kid, I remember spending all my pocket money on small scratch-board images. They came with a plastic tool and a piece of black board, the faint grey outlines of an animal printed on it. The plastic tool, which resembled a small spear with a slightly sharpened tip, could be used to scrape away the grey outlines, revealing the silver or gold below. I would spend hours scratching away at the board, slowly revealing the animal in shades of bright gold or shimmering silver. In time, I left the school and soon forgot all about the little scratch-board images I had loves so much. Recently, to my delight, I discovered that scratch board is much more than just a children’s’ art project, but much like drawing and coloring, can be mastered and enjoyed into adulthood. I bought blank scratch-board and a single tool which resembled a small knife. Even with the familiar memories of my childhood, I still had no idea how to approach the scratch-board…
I had to adjust my style, knowing full well that comic art and character design may be the wrong approach, given the dark black surface I’d be working on. In my sketchbook I began planning a patterned dragon, one I could use to experiment with the scratch-board. At first, I was nervous about using pencil to sketch on the board, as the sharp tip may scratch away the layer of black and thus deceive the purpose of planning the drawing. I bought a pencil with a softer and darker lead and took care not to press into the scratch-board. This worked well, as I could use my kneaded eraser to erase the pencil when needed and see the outlines of the drawing taking shape. I still remained cautious though, if I pressed too hard with the pencil, I could leave scratches by mistake. I would recommend working in a well-lit area, as this makes the graphite much easier to see.
Next, after I was happy with my initial pencil sketch, I began the process of scraping away the black. The black coating on scratch-board is either a type of ink, or a black clay. The Essdee Scraper-board I used for this project is coated in black ink. The ink is relatively easy to remove, but it takes time and patience. The under layer of the scratch-board can differ depending on the personal tastes of the artist. Some are plain white, and is the type of scratch-board used in most artworks you’d see online. Other scratch-board can have a rainbow under layer, or holographic like the board I used. The tool I bought had a diamond shaped blade at the end, and is relatively sharp. It could easily take off the layer of ink to reveal the colorful holographic under layer. I was able to get a variety of different line-widths and styles, all with just the one tool.
When working with scratch-board, I found that the trick is to work slowly. Precision is important, as once you’ve scratched the layer of black ink, the marks are permanent. Protecting the artwork is very important, and between drawing sessions it is important to place the artwork safely out of the way.
Scraper-board (or scratch-board) art is a fun medium to try and I would recommend it to artists of all ages.