Scraperboard or scratchboard refers to both a medium, and an illustrative technique using sharp knives and tools for etching into a thin layer of smooth absorbent white kaolin clay that is evenly coated with black India ink . Scratchboard can also be made with several layers of multi-colored clay, so the pressure exerted on the instrument used determines the color that is revealed. Scratchboard can be used to yield highly detailed, precise and evenly textured artwork that is unsurpassed by many other media.
Depending on the intent of the artist, several areas may be cleared out for layering with watercolors, airbrush, ink, color pencil or acrylics . These ink and clay layers are then scraped off one by one to create different shades of color that blend into and highlight certain parts of the image. It can then be retouched with more paint as necessary. This technique can yield a very graphic image that can be quite detailed.
I use professional grade scratchboards made by Ampersand that are completely archival, museum quality and resistant to fading. Finished art pieces are sealed with a final fixative to eliminate fingerprints and can be framed without glass. View some Scratchboard Tools that I use.