I’ve just completed this scratchboard of a zebra which is from one of my own photos of a zebra, not in Africa but at Werribee Open Plains Zoo in Victoria, Australia. I’m showing the finished piece first and then some of the work in progress to show that my work goes through many ugly stages before I finish it. It’s a real process of layering with scratchboard and definitely blows out of the water the theory that with scratchboard, you need to get it right first time. Heck, it takes me many many layers before I’ve got it remotely right.

Zebra 06a

So here are the stages starting from simply scrubbing off black ink with the fibreglass brush and steel wool

Zebra 01a

Now I simply add diluted India Ink over the whole piece (with an airbrush but a normal brush is fine too). I’ve gone a little darker in the shadow areas to make it easier later.

Zebra 02a

Now I get out my fibreglass brush again to start working on the light and fur.

Zebra 04a

And finally, having ‘pushed and pulled’ a few times (added and removed ink to get that layering – depth – effect) I add the grass in a very simple and almost impressionistic style. This is achieved by spraying India Ink a little darker in the shadow created by the zebra, and fading it out as we get further up the board, and then using the fibreglass brush to remove the ink, trying to represent grass as I go.

Zebra 06a