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All Things Ampersand

Scratchbord Basics

Ampersand Scratchbord has a smooth, absorbent kaolin clay ground evenly coated with black India ink. Scratch the black ink away with ease and control to crisp white fluid lines.
Backed with Ampersand’s true artist hardboard, Scratchbord will not tear, crack or bend like other paper scratchboards and can be sealed with spray fixative to eliminate fingerprints for perfect glass-free presentation.  Continue Reading >>

Scratchbord Tools

Ampersand Scratchbord Tool KitFor professional results with Scratchbord™ and Claybord™, try the Scratchbord Tools.  Use the Scratch knives for drawing and fine details, the Line Tool for cross-hatching, the Fiber Brush to remove large areas of paint or ink, and the Wire Brush to create grass and hair textures.  

The Scratchbord Toolkit includes one of each of the tools listed above.  Also, a sample of Claybord and oil-free steel wool are included free for experimentation.

Scratchbord Knife for Drawing and Fine Details
The scratch knife is the best tool to select when trying scratchboard for the first time. Comes with one nib each: point and curved.

Scratchbord Line Tool for Easy Crosshatching
Use the line tool for crosshatching, adding highlights and for softening sharp details.  It makes five parallel lines at once.

Scratchbord Wire Brush for Hair, Grass & Fur 
The curved stainless steel wires of the wire brush tool are perfect for creating random textures like grass and fur.  

Scratchbord Fiber Brush for Soft Tonal Values
Use the fiber brush as you would an eraser on the Claybord and Scratchbord surfaces to soften crisp edges and create gradual tonal values.   *Caution:  The fiber brush creates fiberglass dust particles that can irritate skin, not recommended for children.

All of these are designed by Ampersand for use with Claybord and Scratchbord, but they work equally well on other paper scratchboard products. 

For more information on the products above with other creative ideas, take a peek at this video from Scratchbord artist, Linda Sheets:

All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.

Scratchbord-Claybord Inks

Scratchbord-Claybord inks are specially formulated for adding color to Ampersand’s Scratchbord, Claybord and other paper scratchboards.  These transparent inks leave vibrant color in only the white areas of scratchboard drawings and can easily be scratched through back to white when adding fine details and highlights.  When painting over back areas, these remarkable inks do not leave a heavy ink residue.



Our inks are pigmented, permanent, and water-based with a bit of shellac to prevent dissolving. For best results, build up the color in diluted washes following the directional lines in the drawing. Other brands of ink can leave heavy residue on the black surface and can be difficult to scratch if not quickly wiped off.  It’s easy to mix a wide range of colors with only the six base colors in this set.  Each bottle allows the ink to be measured out by the drop.

For final touch up, apply Ampersand Black Repair ink around the edges of the subject matter to cover any left over residue and over-painting. Once all the color is in, go back and scratch out the highlights. This will give the forms in your drawing volume and dimension. Add more color where needed and repeat this process until you are totally satisfied with the results.

Group of Columbines by Lisa Goesling

“Everything is about value when I draw with Scratchbords. Ampersand’s boards are created so well that I am able to develop nuances that I could never accomplish with any other variety of scratchboard. Their inks are water based, I mix them just like I would mix paint. Two steps make the color really pop off the boards, painting with colored inks at full strength, (not mixed with water), and scratching away enough black ink from the Scratchbord, making a pure white surface to accept the inks.” ~Lisa Goesling