Graphic Media: Pen and Ink on Claybord

Technical Pens on Claybord

Claybord is an ideal surface for fine drawings using technical pens. The smooth and absorbent surface will faithfully reproduce the desired line width without feathering or bleeding. Inks dry almost immediately on Claybord. This reduces smudging, allowing you to work rapidly over the entire surface. If smudging does occur or if you wish to rework an area of the composition, fine steel wool or an electric eraser and eraser shield can be used to remove the ink. You can also replace the eraser stick in your electric eraser with a small amount of fine steel wool.

The clay surface makes an excellent ground for most inks but does create some dust which may clog very fine technical pens. Clean your pen point frequently when using Claybord.

Paul Jackson, Untitled, 5x7, pen and ink on Ampersand Claybord


Follow these tips for preparing the surface of Claybord to reduce the potential for clogging:

  • Begin by dusting off the board with a fine brush to remove any existing surface dust.
  • Take a damp rag and wipe down the surface. Allow the board to dry completely before working on it.
  • Some smaller nibs have a sharp pen point. This point cuts into the Claybord surface and can create clogging dust. Use a fine (600 grit) sandpaper to round the edges of the pen point.


Calligraphy on Claybord

You can use it with both dip and pre-filled calligraphy pens. Claybord's absorbent surface reduces feathering and smudging resulting in crisp clean lines and enhanced control. Scratchbord tools can be used to cut in detail and enhance or clean up letters. Oil-free steel wool or other abrasives can be used to remove inks and rework areas. Because inks lie on top of the Claybord surface, they can be easily removed with an eraser or abrasive. If you pre-sketch your letters before inking, use a hard lead pencil for faint lines. For a mixed media approach, add color and detail to your calligraphy using other types of ink or paint knowing that Claybord will accept practically any media. When finished, seal your work with a spray fixative so it can be framed without glass.

Markers on Claybord

Claybord can be used with all types of markers. Its smooth, absorbent surface makes for excellent line control without smudging or feathering. Sandpaper or oil-free steel wool can be used to vary the tonal values or to erase unwanted lines. Precision knives can also be used to create white highlights.

Markers are produced by a wide variety of manufacturers for many different purposes. Choose a style that will accomplish the effects your artistic vision requires. Most markers work well with Claybord and can easily be removed from its surface. Please be aware that the pigments in some markers can penetrate and stain the Claybord surface making complete erasure difficult. Test any marker on a small piece of Claybord to see how well it erases before using it on an artwork.


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