Charles Ewing, ink and scratchboard on Ampersand Claybord
can be coated with inks and used like a traditional scratchboard. The advantage to using Claybord as a scratchboard is that you can control the tonal variations unlike using a traditional black scratchboard. Claybord is also more forgiving than paper scratchboards. The surface can be scratched and painted many times without compromising the quality of the surface. Try this exercise and see how easy it is to do.
Step 1: Begin by coating the panel with an even layer of India ink. The inks should be shaken and diluted slightly before applying to allow for even coverage. To achieve a very even coat of ink, an air brush should be used. If an airbrush is unavailable use cotton balls, paper towels, a sponge brush, or a large soft bristle brush to apply the ink.
Step 2: Allow the ink to dry. You will see the ink absorbing into the surface. Your board will be dry in a few minutes.
Step 3: Use a soft graphite pencil to sketch the image on top of the coated board. This sketch should be used as a pattern for cutting. It does not have to be very detailed.
Step 4: Use the scratchboard knife like a pen to cut into the surface and remove the ink leaving crisp white lines. Additional scraping tools and steel wool can be used to render detail and create texture. Not much pressure is needed to remove the ink because it remains on the surface of the clay.
Step 5: If necessary, more ink can be applied to an area to cover-up unwanted marks and to allow you to begin again.
When finished, seal finished art with an acrylic spray fixative. The fixative will protect the surface from dirt and moisture. For best results, first remove all loose dust and debris from the surface with a soft brush. Then, spray with 2-3 coats (or as directed on can) in a warm, well ventilated environment during low humidity.
Charles Ewing, a versatile artist with diverse interests in media as well as subject matter, is known for his figurative paintings of people, wildlife, and nature. Along with his extensive use of oils, he works in a unique medium of his invention known as Claybord. He has also been instrumental in developing new printmaking techniques and enjoys the third dimension of bronze sculpture. Charles was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and now resides near the south San Juan mountains of Southern Colorado. An avid outdoorsman, Charles' paintings of nature and wildlife come largely from personal observation, each year spending many weeks on horseback in the nearby wilderness areas. Travels in Latin America and Europe have also offered much inspiration for his work. He is collected widely and shows in several Southwest galleries. This etching process is fully illustrated along with a number of other printing and painting techniques on Claybord in Charles Ewing’s book, The New Scratchboard available at Amazon. Visit his website: http://www.charlesewing.com