Saturday, 18 February 2012

Ink Sgraffito

I was working on my book for BookArt Object and was looking for something to combine with a black line drawing in pen and ink on white paper, but reversed - white lines on black, and I didn't want to use printmaking with the pen and ink drawing.

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.


dinahmow said...

I'm just catching up on blogs!
Cathy's scraperboard would certainly be one way around our Customs restraints!
And I recall making a similar thing as a kid.
We used to cover a paper or cardboard with paint or pencil, then go over that with black wax crayon.(Black is a hard colour to find, so dark green was common;I had Jumbo blues crayons as used to mark railway wagons, etc!)
Once the top coat of wax seemed thick enough we scratched through to reveal the colours beneath.

Helen M said...

Yes Di, I seem to remember doing something like that as a child too. It's great if these old simple solutions can be incorporated and used today (depending on the effect you want).

Shelley Whiting said...

That is very cool intriguing work. I love all the different line markings.

Helen M said...

Thanks Shelley, it's fun scratching the lines into the inked surface.