Scratchboard Portrait Update

I got more done last night and this morning. I was supposed to be doing web programming today, but the portrait kept calling – loudly.

Last night I was using a #11 exacto blade. Making fine scratches requires a needle-sharp point, so after a while the blade will get feeling dull. Today I switched to a larger blade. It has the same shape as the #11, but it’s larger. The handle is larger too. So far I haven’t changed the blade and it’s still working well.

The transition from skin to hair is tricky. I wasn’t sure if I should do the skin first and then add the hairs, or visa versa. Both ways seem to work, but I think i prefer to put the hairs in place first, and then bring the skin texture over the top to blend it.

I’m working on an 8×10 piece of Ampersand Scratchbord. It’s good stuff. The surface is nice, and the backing is durable. For illustration work I have always used Essdee Scraperboard. It’s a great product with a beautiful working surface. It’s excellent for illustrations. But, it’s more susceptible to changes in humidity – it can bow and buckle. For fine art I expect the Ampersand Scratchbord to last longer and stay flatter. When I’m finished I will spray a protective clear coat on it.

Slow progress on the scratchboard portrait

The crosshatching on the face is taking quite a bit longer than the type of work I’m used to doing. The tricky part is making the texture even, while still accounting for variations in light and shadow. It’s a fun challenge, so it’s not frustrating. As I get into the shadow side of the face I have to slow down and decide how to render it. To make it darker the marks have to be spaced further apart, which makes them more visible as individual marks. That is fine.

For this portrait I will be doing the changes in light and dark with variations in the scratch pattern. In future pieces I will try diluted ink washes over certain areas (with additional scratches over the top) to create darker areas without loss of detail.

Scratchboard Portrait

My scratchboard tools have been dormant for too long. There are some amazing artists doing scratchboard these days. After looking at a few of their websites, I decided to push myself to create something a few notches above the previous work I’ve done.

Inertia is my biggest obstacle. Once I get started, I’ll be fine. So, I’d better get started. I’ll post the results at the end of the day, good or bad.

UPDATE July 28:
I didn’t post the results because I was still working on it. This is where I ended up: