|Typical Houses in Orange County, CA. James Gurney, ink on scratchboard, 4 x 6 inches|
1. Choose a backlit subject. Outline subject carefully in pencil to map out the placement of elements.
2. Block in the large gray areas with waterproof drawing ink and a large flat brush, covering the entire area from the roofline to the ground. This tone goes down quickly and can't be fussed with or changed. It's OK to paint past the lines in the sky because you can cut back to white easily.
3. Add in small black shapes and lines with a brush or pen.
4. When that's dry, cut the edge lighting back to white with the scraper tool.
Being able to cut clean, thin, white lines could be ideal for night subjects or for scribing white letters or neon on a sign, or for defining telephone wires, animal whiskers, highlights and things like that.
Scratchboard can be a bit expensive and hard to find these days, so I'm currently developing a way that I can prepare a surface with inexpensive materials and get the same results. More on that in a future post.