Coloured Scratchboard

In my last post I talked about the black scratchboard. I often end up colouring over the scratches but here’s a different concept where all the colour is going to be provided by the artist.

Here we have a Bornean Orangutan and I’ll show you some steps below.

Orangutan (4) finished

I used a small Ampersand Claybord for this. They come with white already sprayed on the surface of the underlying kaolin clay and unlike many brands, their white ink isn’t too shiny and can take colour in the form of coloured pencils. You could use inks or acrylic paints and even watercolours but I will say that acrylics can be added too thickly and make it difficult to scratch through, and watercolours can smear a bit when you put on another layer, so be careful.

After transferring my drawing to the board I waded in with coloured pencils just to get the feel of the piece.


I also added some black ink on the animal’s left cheek by using a fibre-tipped pen, and started scratching some of that out with a craft knife and continued this process below.

Orangutan (1)

We are going through what I call the ‘ugly’ stage here but it’s a case of just persevering with it, keep adding colour and keep scratching back, sometimes using a few layers. Always make certain you allow the area to dry before you scratch it again as the clay may come out in clumps (unless you wish to experiment for effect).

Orangutan (2)

I’ve started to try to deepen some of the colour by using watercolours. I could have used inks and Ampersand make very good ones.

Orangutan (3)

Scratching and colouring and scratching and colouring some more is the perfect way to build up layers and make fur or hair look real. This is where watercolour is ideal as they soak into the ink a tiny bit, but as soon as you scratch, you go through the colour to the white which means you can pick out highlights making some hairs appear on the surface while other hairs appear underneath.

And finally we have the finished scratchboard

Orangutan (4) finished

I hope this has been of help to you.

2 thoughts on “Coloured Scratchboard

  1. I am just ‘blown away’ by your superb work. The colour work, in particular, is well executed. The colour lesson is so easy to follow. I have just started undertaking work on Ampersand clayboard. I find it a much cleaner product to use than the British Scraperboard. I have been experimenting with transparent colour inks, but not with coloured pencils. I do not know whether you use the scratchboard line tool from Ampersand (5 pin nib), a remarkable product which saves time, especially when crosshatching. I also use Higgins Black Magic Waterproof Ink in order to give a two dimensional effect – very fine with 000 brush.
    It was a real pleasure perusing your website.
    Best wishes
    Solly Gutman

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