Demo: Scratch Tools on Scratch Board
I want to kind of shift gears, because I'd like to talk about something that I showed you, which is the scratchboard, and I want to show you the two types. Now you can use PITT pens, or crow quill, or Micron, on a clayboard. When I say clayboard, I want to make sure you can see exactly what this is. It's a multipurpose, this is by Ampersand clayboard, and it's literally, what do you call this? Masonite. It's Masonite covered in clay, and you might say, well why would you do that? What would be the purpose of covering a Masonite with clay? Well I'm gonna show you, and it's a wonderful thing. This is the slickest surface. Okay I'm gonna rub my fingers across. You're not gonna hear anything. Can you hear anything? Yeah, this is like glass, it's so smooth. Sometimes people feel it's too slick, so they actually what they call burnish it with an eraser, and that just means you rub a Pink Pearl eraser, or any kind of eraser across the surface to take a little of the sheen down. I didn't do th...
at for this because I wanted to take advantage of that slickness. But if we start with this pen which is the brush pen, and see what it looks like, this is even cleaner than the Bristol paper. It's so crisp, it's so clean, it's just yummy. I'm gonna make a nice deep tonality. It also allows for the variation. You can also see that the PITT pen makes a thicker mark than say the crow quill pen which make a super fine mark. You can get fine, but not super fine with the PITT pen on this surface, because it is so slick. Let's try the Micron, which I've tested here to show some crosshatching, and I've tested here to do some scratchboard, which I'll show you in a minute. But this also stays very, very clean. Glides across the surface beautifully. And you can build up a texture or tonality with a series of crosshatching. Now when you're crosshatching, one of the things that I recommend is go in a couple of different directions, but really, really different. One direction, the second direction, and don't let your lines get too far apart. And then maybe you shift and you have a third direction. And that's what builds up that tonality in a really kind of consistent way. And if you want you can build that kind of texture with a really organic line. I've done it up here, or build little hatch lines. This is a great surface for this tool. The final one I want to show you is this board, this clayboard is actually created specifically for crow quill pens. So I'm gonna dip it in the ink, and I'm gonna show you why this board is so beautiful. It's also dangerous. It's so easy to let a big blobule, like that, think oh my god, look what I just did. I pressed a little hard on purpose to make that shape. I have to press a little less hard but it is super clean. And again, it doesn't take much to go through the ink. I lost a lot of it when I did that little blobule thing. But this is what's so beautiful about this surface. It's clean, and this is gliding across so easily. It's quite a pleasure to move the ink pen across the surface, and you can see all these different marks that you can make similar from one to the other. The thickest of course is the brush pen, the Faber-Castell pen, the Micron pen is a little bit thinner and finer, but very consistent line weight, and the crow quill makes the most varied line of all the pens. But what you can do, which is just so delightful, is you can scratch things away. So I'm gonna pull this nib out. I'm gonna put it with the other nibs, and I'm gonna grab a scratch tool. Let's see if I can find my favorite here. There it is. So there's multiple types of scratch tools, and I'll put them on the white so you can see them. And I'll show you the difference, but they're basically just different sizes. Some are really wide and fat, like a fork, and others are really small or pointed, or beveled. But they create different surfaces on the scratchboard and create different kinds of mark making systems. I'll show you here, and this is the one I'm going to use. It's super pointed, so it creates a really fine line. But what I'm going to do is, if you make a mistake, let's say that blob was dry which it's not, but let's just say it was. We'll test it up here because I know that it's dry. You don't like that mark, you want to get rid of that mark. You can simply, and you have to put this on its side, not tip down, the beveled edge is gonna allow you to pull the color away. And what I'm literally doing, I'm gonna make that disappear halfway. I can scratch that mistake right off the surface of the clay. You can't do that with Bristol paper. You put ink on the Bristol paper, it's not going anywhere. You start a new drawing. You leave a blob, you have to cover up with white or something like white paint. But, with the scratchboard, you can literally take that tonality away, and you can do it with any of these pens. I can scratch into, this is the PITT pen, I can scratch into that surface. So that's kind of a nice variation. This is the surface that I believe Ruth used a black scratchboard, which is what I have here. She did not use white. I used, for this crocodile piece, the white, they call it scratchboard or clayboard, because I wanted to paint out areas and scratch back into them, as well as do ink work. So if you're doing both ink work, pen and ink, and scratchboard, the white clayboard is great because you can paint sections of black like I just did, and scratch back into it like this. And I did it here as well. Now this nib can, and and I can make a nice gray tone going in several different directions. This is just a little crosshatching. This, two things. You can get new nibs, and some people do that, or you can use what's called a scratching tool or stone, and you drag the edge towards you on one side, and away from you in the other. All you're doing is you're following the bevel of that tool, and trying to make it as sharp as you can, because you want the point to be super sharp when you go to scratch into your surface. So this is called Ampersand clayboard. It's a beautiful board for pen and ink scratchboard, but also for these other tools. Now, we're gonna shift over to what is known as black scratchboard. And, this is I think just a beautiful tool, but some people have a hard time with it. I'll move this now, I don't need this. This is a clean piece of that black clayboard. They also sell, this is all from Blick, they also sell these sheets of black coated scratchboard, clayboard, but you can see it's really thin. It's okay for testing or playing. I'll leave one out to test, but it's not really great for a fine tune piece, because it can bend. And if it bends too much it can crate, see if it happens. It can create like a cracking in the clay, or it just gets bent and it looks terrible. So I would never use the paper that's coated with black clayboard, I would always spend a little bit more and get, again this is scratchboard, but it's black-coated. I would get this for my finished piece. But this is good for testing. So here I did test the different types of scratch tools, and I can show you what happens with the one I just sharpened. I started this little ball, and you can work with little tiny fine lines either next to each other to make a gradation. Pull it right back to white, or gradate that line. You can make little fine lines, or really thick lines. This tool will only go so far though, because even if you're using the bevel, I'm turning it, literally turning this on its side. That's about as big a mark as you can make. All right? But I can scratch the whole thing away, not that I would. But you're trying to use it almost like the way pencil works. This is such a gratifying way to work, that a lot of people like to work on the black scratchboard, because they're able to get these beautiful tonalities that are very much like using pencil, and you can crosshatch. I've got some examples up here. You can make little tiny hatch marks. It's great for fur. I love to draw fur. So this is a really great tool, but this tool can only go so far before it doesn't get any wider. If you want a really thick mark, or a different kind of mark, there's a round bevel, which will give you a sort of scoopy shape. Very much like a round tip brush. This will give you a kind of like thicker, rounded shape, as opposed to the beveled edge. It's beveled, but it's a round bevel. If I were trying to build this up, this little circle here, and I were pulling the color off, I'd probably, if I didn't want to work with lines, I'd probably use this tool. Now there's a couple of others that I'm not as huge a fan of, because I feel like these two tools, and this needs to be a little sharper, but I feel like these two tools are the best. This is a strange little tool, but if you want a large textured area, it's almost like a comb. I mean, that's kind of a neat thing. It's not as controllable in terms of line work, but it literally pulls the color off in a kind of streak. It looks like a paintbrush mark. So again, it's a little less controllable. You might be able to make a lot of square shapes with it. It would be harder. It doesn't move in a circle quite as easily. I have to push it a little harder, but I'll go in the other direction to show, let's see what happens when we go this way. So it's just a much more regular kind of textural mark, but it looks like linen, doesn't it? Like a weave of linen, which I think is interesting and fun. So these are the tools. There's a couple different sizes of this, what looks like a comb tip tool. And this is a scratch tool, and it comes in a packet. If you get them from Blick, they come in a packet, all the scratch tools in one little packet so you get to experiment with them all. The point is my favorite, and this of course is the holder. So let's put this away. We don't need to test with that, and I want to get to maybe building up, before we move onto markers and color, and gel pens, I just want to talk a little bit about, and show and demonstrate a little bit with the white clayboard, and some of the ways that you can build tonality. And there's sort of two different ways, and I'm gonna show you those two different ways. So I am going to load up my nib with some ink, but first I have to put the nib back in. Again I'm using this nib because it's the most flexible. Maybe I'll use this one. And it just sticks right into the holder, just like the scratch tool does. And you want to make sure it's firmly in there before you start. So, when I did the work that I brought in to show, what I did was a lot of the times I tried to keep my lines sort of in a parallel formation. That means, I didn't want them to overlap each other, and that's a classic sort of etching way to work. Now I'm gonna test my ink up here. See, it blobs a little, so I don't want that to happen when I'm working on this shape. When you're doing pen and ink work, you keep moving this board around to follow the direction of your arm, because you're always moving away from yourself. You're never, oh, it pooled. So right there, I would probably scratch back into some of these lines. Oops. I might even actually, yeah see where it's blobbed? I would probably go back and use my scratch tool and pick up that color, because that's not (gasps) what I wanted to do. Okay. So as you can see, I've used a lot of pen and ink, and I'm still, this surface is really super slick, and it's not allowing, the ink is just pouring right out. So we have to be sort of careful with that. But I'm gonna try to show you a gradation which is more like an etching style, and that just means the lines never really touch. So I'm gonna try, blot it out, to bring this line work out here. And I don't really like how that's looking, so I'm gonna leave that alone for a minute. And I'm gonna do some crosshatching. What I would do if I didn't like the line direction, what I'm trying to do is create this sort of system of marks without using too much ink. If I press too hard, it comes out too thickly, so it's really, it becomes an issue of figuring out the right pressure on the surface. And as I said, this can be a maddening tool, and also a beautiful tool. So you have to control it. If I press too hard, the inks just gonna do this. But like I said, I can also scratch it out, which is great. But let's do some crosshatching over here, and then I'm gonna show you some scratching. So I'll go in one direction to build my tone. I have to keep remembering to grab my ink, blot it out. Then go in another direction. Your classic crosshatch. It's a way to build up tone. You can also build it with straight lines, thick to thin. We can move the lines closer together or further away. And as you build up a form, you can also, I'm gonna rinse this. Go back in with the scratch tool and scratch away into this surface, which is fully dry now because I created that a couple of weeks ago. And I can't scratch back into these areas that are wet. I can't make them go away as much as I want to. I can't, because they're wet. So I would, if I were home, I would just wait for them to dry. You don't want to use a blow dryer on ink drawings like this because that'll tend to splatter that ink all over the place. So, be mindful of that. You can use it for watercolor, acrylics, even oils, but you don't want to do that with ink. It moves too easily across the surface. So, again this is the scratch tool, and if you're trying to create a gradation, I'm just pulling away the tonality. And it's kind of a neat tool because you can build up the values as you saw with Ruth's work, and even with the crocodile, you can build up the value really wonderfully. And you don't have to work on the black tonality. I like, as I said, painting on a surface like this, because I feel like I'm able to control where the value, the darkest value is to the lightest value. I'm gonna crosshatch this direction. And I can pull it completely away if I choose. I can make this box smaller just by scratching that away. Now, you can't endlessly scratch this surface. If you continue to scratch away at this ball for example, and I'm like oh I'm just gonna get rid of this tone, eventually you will scratch through past the clay to the board, and then you're done. So, there's a fair amount of clay on here, but there is a point of no return. Most people don't reach it unless they're very frustrated, and they continue to make a mistake and scratch over it, but this is a pretty forgiving surface. So basically, this is your pen and ink scratchboard. This is the black scratchboard which also is really beautiful to work with. The difference between the two, and this is a huge difference, is that when you're working on the black scratchboard and you're pulling away tonality, you can control the weight of that mark much easier than with the pen and ink nib. That takes much more control and practice. So, it might be fun to test with a pen and ink but also test the scratchboard, because you might like the level of control that it comes with a little bit better. It all depends on your personality and what you like, but I like both tools, I think they're really cool.