WHAT IS SCRATCHBOARD? HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR PIECES?See my tutorial with pictures HERE. Scratchboard is a 1/8" rigid white clayboard covered with a thin layer of black India ink. I use high-quality Ampersand brand Scratchboard. The art is created by removing the layer of black India ink, revealing the white clayboard underneath. You could think of it as the reverse of sketching with pencil and paper. One of my favorite aspects of scratchboard art is that because it's a black and white media, it encourages play between light and dark, something that I emphasize in many of my pieces.I create my pieces by first sketching out a design using plain old pencil and paper in as much detail as possible. Then the design is transferred to the scratchboard. I do this by making a copy of the design and laying the design over the scratchboard, taping it gently on one edge, and and tracing over it with a ball-point pen. This leaves a very light mark on the scratchboard surface that is barely visible. The black ink is scratched away using Xacto blades one scratch at a time, using the light marks as a guide as I go along, revealing the white clayboard underneath. Because I use an Xacto knife, I can achieve levels of detail with scratchboard that no other media can accomplish, making for interesting pieces both up close and from a distance.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________I WANT TO BUY YOUR ART!See my Ordering information HEREFor a custom commission request, contact me for details and prices.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ WHERE CAN I MEET YOU AND SEE YOUR ART IN PERSON? You can read a bit about me one my Bio HERE. I am local to the Los Angeles area so the majority of my shows are in southern California. I am increasingly attending more national and international shows, and those will be posted on my events page and also on my Facebook page."Like" my Facebook page to get updates of upcoming shows and events. I don't always bring all my pieces to every show, so if you're planning on attending a show and want to see a particular piece, contact me in advance! Come on by, I'd love to meet you!
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO MAKE A SCRATCHBOARD PIECE? It depends on the size and level of detail of the piece. An 8" x 10" black-and-white piece will take anywhere from three weeks to a month. An 11" x 14" black-and-white piece will take a month or two. Also, since each piece is original, I sketch out the design in detail before beginning the scratchboard process. Color also adds extra time to the piece.My best estimate is that it takes me an hour per square inch of artwork... but it varies from piece to piece.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________WHAT IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE?!Yes, scratchboard is unforgiving to mistakes compared to other mediums. If I make a small mess up, I can usually cover it... very very carefully... with a tiny bit of black india ink applied with a brush. I can only do this a limited number of times since I can't replace the white clayboard material, and the black india ink does look slightly different than the original scratchboard. Because of this, I try to plan out my pieces in as much detail as possible during the initial sketch phase. Sometimes I just have to start over, and yes, this has happened!
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________HOW DO YOU ADD COLOR TO SCRATCHBOARD?After the black-and-white scratchboard is completed, I sometimes add color to the piece. I have used different techniques, including colored ink, acrylic paints, watercolor, and water-based marker. It's important to use water-based media to deposit the color just on the white clayboard without altering the unscratched black india ink surface. Oil based colors will coat the black surface and make it shiny, an undesirable affect. After the color is applied, the piece is allowed to dry, and then re-scratched to bring out highlights. Color in my pieces range from a pale wash to an opaque layer of paint.I do try to limit the amount of color in my pieces, because I think the black and white quality of scratchboard is beautiful in itself!
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________WHY IS YOUR (ORIGINAL) ART SO EXPENSIVE?I'm happy to justify the price of my pieces. Please first read about my technique HERE. The image is created by scratching away a black ink layer on top of a white substrate. Color is added afterwards by painting onto the white areas with pen, ink, watercolor, and/or acrylics. Because this process is so intricate, it takes me approximately 1-2 hours per square inch of the artwork. This translates into a few months per piece, as I often work on several pieces at once. My work is competitive with other techniques that require such high levels of precision. My Giclee fine art prints are a way for the general art collector to enjoy my pieces at a more economical price.See the next question for more information on Giclee prints.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________WHAT ARE GICLEE (FINE ART) PRINTS?Giclee prints are ultra-high resolution prints widely accepted in galleries and museums. Each Giclee print is matted, signed, and numbered by me, and comes with an artists' Certifcate of Authenticity. I use only the best quality acid-free, UV resistant inks, and cotton rag papers. Once I sell out of the limited edition numbers, NO MORE WILL BE MADE, and the piece is retired. This preserves the rarity of the piece.I only make Giclee prints in the same size as the original scratchboard piece to preserve the beauty of the original detail.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________WHERE DO YOU GET INSPIRATION FOR YOUR PIECES? I'm generally obsessed with things that are imaginary, surreal, or fantasy-based. What would it be like to peer into a landscape that is mystical or awe-inspiring? To step into a grand gothic cathedral, or a forest that glows with something magical, or come across an ethereal faerie? Most of my ideas spring out from my head whilst daydreaming, but I also get inspiration from architecture, fantasy novels and games, other artists, and requests from friends and family. I also have a series called "The Happies" that is dedicated to memories and fun events that my husband, Shane, and I have shared together.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING ART?I'm flattered anyone would ask! As we all know, it's hard to make a living making art, and the phrase "starving artist" didn't come about for no reason! I'm so blessed to be able to make my living as an aerospace engineer/scientist during the day at a job that I enjoy, and also be able to use this job to fuel my other love, art, which I work on largely in the evenings.