Art 3 Scratchboard – Due 2/7


Before you start working on your project, preview the Russ McMullins scratchboard tutorial.


and the video tutorial by Lars Erik Robinson


view google images for scratchboard

This artist is also an excellent reference:


Comment on the method of looking at light rather than dark as you draw.  How does it alter the way you usually see and usually draw?  Also comment on what you are trying to show in your drawing.  Why did you choose the natural object that you did, what did you like about it, what are your aesthetic goals with this scratchboard drawing.


6 responses »

  1. It’s really hard to look at light rather than dark while drawing (or scratching). It is completely the opposite of what I am used to and comfortable with, but in a way I think that’s good. It’s helping me expand my skills as an artist. I’m trying to show shadow, light, and shape but it’s really difficult. From far away, I think my piece looks pretty good, but it’s strange at the same time. In this project, you have to be unafraid to mess up, which is not what I’m used to. But again, this is good for me because usually I’m very perfectionist about these things and it’s good to get out of my comfort zone. I chose a pinecone because I thought it would look cool. I think that so far, it definitely does look cool. I haven’t decided what I want to do in the background yet but I like how the project is turning out! My goals are to have the project look realistic and interesting. Hopefully I’ll be done soon but these scratchboards take a lot of patience.

    • Great observations about the risk-taking aspect and leaving your comfort zone! I have to show you sometime the mistake even Durer made on an engraving! You can hide them and they become an incidental part of the whole.

  2. Looking at light rather than dark is extremely hard for me. I’m so used to just letting the light be there and drawing in the dark, but now I have to let the dark be there and draw (scratch) in the light! It makes it way harder to do shading, and shading is one of my favorite things about drawing. It’s a little like the charcoal still life we did in that it starts out black and you take away the blackness in some areas and leave it in others to create a picture.

    In my drawing, I am showing a bird feather and a jaw bone. At first, I chose them because they were pretty, but as I worked on them, I sort of came up with a story, a meaning, behind them. There were two animals: a bird and another, bigger animal. The bigger animal ate the bird, leaving only a feather. But over time, the big animal died, as all animals do. And his jaw came to rest next to the feather. Everything had come full circle. Now I’m kind of regretting choosing a feather, though, because I have no idea how to represent it with scratches. As for my goals, well, I just want something that looks like, or even vaguely resembles, a feather and a bone. Doing just that is hard enough.

  3. I think it’s hard to just look at light rather than dark when I draw because you have to consider both to get the whole picture. In this I’m finding that I’m using both of the ends of the spectrum, leaving parts of my drawing untouched and other parts completely scratched away. It’s pretty cool. I think it’s helping me sort of detach myself from the drawing cause a lot of the time when I’m drawing, I’ll draw something and my mind naturally makes it prettier and then, less realistic.
    I’m drawing a bundle of sticks layered on top of each other and I like them because they’re jumbled and scratchy and not exact. I like that with drawing; I feel like I don’t have to get every single detail like oh yes, there are two specks next to this groove on the tiny stick here, underneath this bigger one, and this one’s shaped like an egg and this other one is more flat on the bottom. The sticks are a little more free to sketch. Not all linear lines. I mean yes, they’re linear because they’re sticks but inside them it’s more freed? I guess?
    My goals are to get better at the whole scratchboard thing. Usually I’m crazy about getting every detail right and bug myself about it after the piece is “done” and I don’t think that’s going to happen in this one so I want to get better at the whole thing. As for the look, I guess I want it to look like a sketch or a slightly blurry b/w photo if that makes any sense… Plus, if they turn out actually resembling sticks, I would not mind one bit.

    • That’s a great analysis of your drawing process. Your comment about the blurry black and white photo totally makes sense. I often blur my vision to evaluate the way the forms are functioning in a composition. It’s a good way to evaluate the formal qualities and see if they are working.

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