Those old scraperboard illustrations used by graphic artists popped into my mind, so I searched on the internet to see if I could buy scraperboard anywhere. It seems it is difficult to find and expensive. It has a layer of white clay under the black surface and it was usually imported from the UK. This had been stopped by Australian customs because of the clay content. I think some suppliers may import it again now, but it was starting to seem all too hard for a whim and this small piece.
I chanced on blog post called Make your own scraperboard here. The author pointed out it was not the kind of scraperboard you can make perfect highly detailed illustrations on, but great for loose marks and textures - well that sounded like just the sort of thing I was looking for, the look of a loose rough quick drawing.
I sort of followed the instructions - I used a piece of boxboard and painted it with two coats of white acrylic paint. When it was dry I applied some wax furniture polish twice and left it to dry overnight. I coated it with about three coats of Chinese Ink until it was well covered and then when it was thoroughly dry, I had a great time scratching into it with an etching needle.
The surface is quite fragile, so it needs to be scanned before it starts to deteriorate or get damaged. I'm very keen on easy, ready at hand, inexpensive, homemade, non-toxic solutions and I can imagine I'll use this technique. It could be just the thing for abstract calligraphic markmaking too. I prefer to call it ink sgraffito, as that is exactly what it is - scratching into ink.