I switched from acrylic paint for my backgrounds to Ampersand ink and I love the change. I can water down the ink without any issues, and they’re lightfast and archival. With this 6″x8″ piece, however, I went overboard with green and then spent most of my time either toning it down with colored pencil or sanding it off with a fiberglass brush. The beauty of Claybord is that I can use scratchboard techniques for detail and highlights, but using steel wool or a fiberglass brush can erase any mistake nearly down to the white surface. And here are some pictures of Pete having a good roll and then hightailing it back to me.
I followed the same process as my other Claybords by using an acrylic background, colored pencils for all the drawing, and scratchboard techniques for highlights and details for these two 6″x6″ pieces.
I’ve become fascinated with sketching birds, so I’m making an effort to learn more about them. Artist and naturalist John Muir Laws has numerous lectures on nature journaling, and I’d recommend them to anyone who wants to improve drawing animals, trees, insects, etc.
Some very, very fast equines (and goats).
Like the bunnies I drew last week, I spent all my art time this week working on another Ampersand Claybord. This time, ponies!
I’m fascinated with Claybord and how both the Golden High Flow Acrylics and the Derwent Drawing Pencils work on the surface. What seems far too vivid and strong with the acrylic paint at first, mellows into a rich and earthy palette once I add the Derwent pencils. Adding the scratching gives it an old-fashioned look, something I didn’t even know I wanted.
I start with a rough sketch on paper, sample it again on mineral paper and add in some scratching to see how it works, create a background in the Claybord panel (6″x6″) with acrylics, and then lightly draw in the subject, swapping back and forth between pencils and scratching until it feels done. I didn’t plan any background with this one but let it develop from the colors, lights and darks. I had no idea these two little ones would be in a meadow when I started out.
My husband said to call this one “Up to No Good.”
Claybord is an excellent surface for many mediums including graphite and colored pencil, which is how I discovered it while searching for a surface other than paper to experiment with. The surface is smooth and feels like porcelain, but it’s actually a layer of clay over a hardboard. If you finish your work with varnish, it doesn’t have to be displayed under glass. Claybord is also a great scratchboard surface.
The longer I play with art, the more my mediums combine. With the bunnies, I used Golden High Flow Acrylics as a background with Derwent Drawing Pencils for the foreground. I scratched in some highlights and then put in another layer of pencil. I felt like I could keep swapping back and forth as long as I wanted to. I probably stopped after three layers.
I’ve discovered one of my all-time favorite surfaces, mineral paper, is a great scratchboard surface, too. What luck that I happen to have a huge supply of the thick, 16 pt Terraskin paper. Here, I practiced on it using my new favorite colored pencils, Derwent Drawing Pencils.
I used graphite and the Derwent pencils to draw this barn picture:
In one of my mixed media moods, I started this sparrow drawing with acrylic, put in the autumn leaves with Inktense (and salt for the mottled effect), and then finally finished it a month or two later with the Derwent Drawing Pencils:
And I sketched a ton of horses last week. And one dog: