Scratchboard and Ink: John Stermer, Colfax Ruins

Happy New Year & 3 Scratchboard Drawings

Greetings! I would like to take this opportunity to say express my thanks for another wonderful year!  I am grateful to all of you who follow this John Stermer blog.  Whether you are friends of the family or find this website via internet search, I appreciate your interest and support!

About the Scratchboard Drawings

Scratchboard And Ink: Wine Bottles, John Stermer

As I was considering what image to post for today, Dad’s scratchboard work of wine bottles popped into my head.  He enjoyed working with scratchboard (or scraper board as it is called in some parts of the world).  I can see why in that it is fun to work in black and white; you are composing with two starkly contrasting values.  

And, perhaps, it is enjoyable scraping away the black ink to reveal the white board underneath.

One thing that John Stermer did was go back and forth between scraping away the black, and then, adding back the black ink.  In this way, the quality of the line is different.  Lines created by a dip pen or brush have a different quality than a line created by scraping away black ink.  

There is also a difference between applying black onto white, versus scraping away black to reveal white.

The differences may seem subtle but, I think, they add to the visual interest of the piece.  You might notice that all three pieces accompanying this article show the combination of taking away ink and adding it back.

I remember Dad talking about working with scratchboard to me as I was fascinated by the resulting pictures.  He said that you have to have quality scratchboard to start with, in that it must be tough enough to handle the working method.  Also, you need good, higher carbon ink if you are going to add ink.  Though I am not certain which ink he used, Dad used Essdee scraper board, (scratchboard in the US).   

Scratchboard And Ink: John Stermer, Kneeling Nun & Pinyon Pine

For those of you desiring to try scratchboard, it is available online through art stores. 

 Also, I would suggest an online search for more about different products and how to use them. For example, when Dad was working, products like Ampersand Scratchboard were not available.   So, a search would be helpful.  

With Gratitude!

Back to the beginning, again!  I would like to restate how much I appreciate your interest and support of John Stermer and his artwork.

And, Happy New Year!  

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