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.

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