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Scratchboard art by Avery Loeffler

Description: Students are finishing up the last project of the school year. They are completing scratchboard art, which is cardboard with a thin coating of fine white clay, covered by a layer of India ink. The surface starts out black and the students scratch off the coating to reveal the surface of the board, which can be various colors.

Feather Staff

Freshman Avery Loeffler’s scratchboard of her dog, Cookie.

Scratchboard art refers to both a fine-art medium, and an illustrative technique using sharp knives and tools for engraving. There is also foil paper covered with black ink that, when scratched, exposes the shiny surface beneath. Scratchboard can be used to yield highly detailed, precise and evenly textured artwork. Works can be left black and white or colored.

The following is a time-lapse of an artist creating, “The Gunslinger” as scratchboard art. Art students and those wanting a break from their normal routine, often relaxing watching a piece being created.

The element of art the students are using is balance and positive/negative images. The image is traced using tracing paper, then transferred to their board. They remove the ink, to reveal the positive part of the image. The students were introduced to positive/ negative imaging during the drawing unit earlier in the school year.

I use this project to finish out the year as it reinforces skills that they have learned before and some students really enjoy the low stress this project needs.

“Avery Loeffler used a photo of her dog,” teacher Vicky Belmont said. “I really like how she used the image, giving the viewer the impression that the dog is looking at them. She is a freshman and a very talented artist, she has excelled in all facets of her art projects this year. She shows a tremendous range of ability and I look forward to seeing more art from her in the future.”

In the following Virtual Instructor video, the artist takes viewers on a step by step tour to create a cat on scratchboard.

“Students who are interested in learning the tools and techniques of scratchboard art,” Belmont said. Study.com website has a lot of information to help beginners but also more in-depth  instruction for the advanced art student.”

The element of art the students used in the scratchboard art assignment is balance and positive/negative images. The image is traced using trancing paper, then transferred to their board. Students remove the ink, to reveal the positive part of the image. The young artists were introduced to positive/ negative imaging during the drawing unit earlier in the school year.

“I use this project to finish out the year as it reinforces skills that they have learned before,” Belmont said. “Some students really enjoy the low stress this project offers.”

Freshman Avery Loeffler

“When Mrs. Belmont introduced this project, I was very excited,” Loeffler said. “I have really enjoyed doing scratchboard art in the past. The first thing I had to do was find a picture.”

After spending time browsing the internet for ideas on what to scratchboard, Loeffler originally couldn’t find anything that she wanted to work on. Later she decided to scratchboard a photo of her dog, ‘Cookie’.

“After I printed out a photo of my dog, I traced the picture onto tracing paper in pencil. I then traced it again on the other side of the tracing paper in white chalk and finally onto the scratchboard.”

After two class periods, Loeffler was ready to start scratching.

“This was a fairly relaxing project,” Loeffler said, “but I also had to focus on getting the shading and the dog’s fur just right.”

One of the challenges for Loeffler was learning how to control the amount of pressure she was using to etch into the scratchboard.

“Something difficult about this project is making sure the fur is going in the right direction, Loeffler said. “Some fun things about this project were when I did the nose because it was a different texture than the rest of the picture, plus it was more detailed. I like seeing how the project turns out once I finished it. I look forward to trying scratchboard again someday.”

For more art articles, read Featured art, No. 7, 2018-19, and check out Brennen Tozlian’s monochromatic art. For recent articles, read World-class photojournalist travels, shares stories from around the globe and Avengers: Endgame provides a satisfying conclusion to the Infinity saga.

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