No no no, not that!
Scratchboard has to be one of the dirtiest arts there is. You will turn black, your clothes will turn black, anything in the vicinity of your work will also turn black (including your couch and carpet)........It is not for the feint of heart. However, the best thing going for it, it is washable. Clothes will come clean again, your hands will wash off with water. Just don't touch your face while working on it then answer the door.
Why would I get so black, you ask. Well let me tell you a little about what you will be working with.
The boards (or even just paper if you don't care about archival qualities) are the backing, a clay layer, then black ink for the scratchboard. Claybord (Ampersand's brand) is just the backing and the clay, you add your own initial inks. I use the black board so that is what I will be talking about for most of this blog.
You first take your drawing that you wish to reproduce and transfer it to the board. You can use transfer paper....... black for the white board, white for the black board. After transferring your drawing, it is time to think about how to approach it. You don't want to just go willy-nilly putting in scratches that you may regret later as they will all show. It takes planning to achieve the correct look.
While you are removing the ink, it flakes off in dust and this is what gets you dirty. There is no getting around it. Dirty d-i-r-t-y, did I say dirty? The table, the lap, the chair, your arms and hands.....even the cat. You have to be careful if you blow the dust as this cannot be good for any animal that breathes it in. I do not believe the ink (India ink, diluted Chinese Black) is toxic, but dust is never good for lungs.
While scratching, you are also re-inking with diluted washes. This is again scratched, inked, scratched until you get what you want.
You can put a towel under your board as you work, trapping the dust, or you can wear fingerless gloves, or anything you think will trap the dust. I will take the dust scraped by a fiberglass brush and collect it for later use, but it will have fiberglass bits in it. You just have to be careful and think about what you are doing.
I love scratchboard, but, well, you sure do wash up alot!
Next time I will talk about tools......
The tools are dangerous. You do have to be careful around yourself (!), animals, kids. They are sharp, some are fiberglass. They are not to be used by unsupervised children.