Monday, January 26, 2015

Scratching Large Boards

"The Buck Stops Here"

I don't normally work big. Most of my scratchboards so far have been 8"x10" and 9"x12", and I've done a few 5"x7" and 11"x14". This buck is 16"x20". I know you can get scratchboards as large as 24"x36", but I can't imagine working that large (yet)! I chose a large board for this buck because I felt a small board wouldn't do him justice. He used to visit my backyard occasionally, and this drawing is based on one of my own photos of him. Sadly, I haven't seen him for several years.

Having a larger subject means you can include more detail. This drawing on an 8"x10" would mean the deer's head would only be about two inches high! Certainly not big enough for the kind of detail I like to do. On this board, I did not use the knife except to clean up edges. For the fur, I used fiberglass brushes and large tattoo needles (the photo is a bit dark so you can't see the body detail - trust me, it's not just black). I scratched and inked and rescratched the grass to get the layered effect, which might be hard to see in the photo above. The antlers were done primarily with a fiberglass brush and a diluted ink wash with a scalpel for highlights.

In all, this was not too difficult a subject for a large board. There is a lot of space left black, so it didn't take me eons to finish. A more complete background, including bushes and trees, would have taken significantly longer, though may have been more interesting in the end.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Drawing Local Wildlife

I thought I would begin today's post with a video I made last month. In this video I demonstrate how I draw the fine facial feathers of a barred owl.

In other news, I am preparing for a show in about two months. I will be concentrating on only local wildlife, so I have been scratching like mad to get enough drawings done in time. Here are a few I have finished so far this month. The warbler was colored with yellow ink, and sepia ink for the branch.

"Do Not Disturb", roadrunner, 5"x7"

Wilson's Warbler, 5"x5"

"Lobo", Mexican Gray Wolf, 9"x12"

Monday, January 12, 2015

Clayboard and Airbrush

This is the first board I got to try out my new airbrush on. The three photos below should all be the same color, but were taken under different lighting conditions. The last one is the closest to the true color.

I started with an 18"x24" Ampersand Claybord, and cut it in half lengthwise using a fine hacksaw blade. Then I sanded down the rough edges, and I had two 9"x24" boards ready to go.

Since I wasn't sure how well ink would stick to an already-airbrushed area, I blocked in the elk with sepia ink first. Then I airbrushed the background. In the first photo, you can see an unsightly fingerprint. I rubbed it off with sandpaper, then re-airbrushed the area. This taught me that airbrushing on Claybord is sensitive to fingerprints.

For the second photo, I used black ink on a paintbrush to darken the elks' necks and shadow areas, and to add the plants. I used the fiberglass brush to lighted their rumps and to add highlights to the water.

The final step is where the majority of the scratching took place. I scratched and re-inked and re-scratched the elk to get to this point. I am happy with the result, though I might add another diluted coat of ink to their bodies to darken them up a tad.

The final result is "Morning Mist."

Monday, January 05, 2015

Back After a Long Hiatus

I have been away for far too long. While I have been busy making more scratchboard art, I have neglected this blog. So part of my New Year's resolution is to post here at least once per week. I cannot possibly post all the new work I have done since my last post in April of last year, but here are a few of the most recent ones. To see all my work, please check out my website, or better yet, my Facebook page which I do update regularly.

African Hunting dogs, 9"x12"

Bobcat, 8"x10"

Charles Darwin, 8"x10"

Elk, 11"x14"

Mule Deer Fawn, 9"x10"

Steam Locomotive, 12"x12" (sold)