Mediums & Methods
Scratchboard or scraper board (as it is known as in Europe) is a direct form of engraving/etching which originated in the UK and Europe in the 19th century prior to the introduction of modern photographic techniques and was used as a less expensive alternative to other engraving/etching substrates such as metal – copper and steel plating; woodcuts, linocuts, etc; and could be photographically reproduced in smaller formats without losing too much detail. Scratchboard was originally invented for the purpose of reproduction in printing. It has been used for over a century reproducing images for books, magazines, and newspapers and as an advertising means. It is a more practical and cheaper method of reproduction than woodcut. Fine artists re-discovered scratchboard during the late 1970’s/1980’s when it became popular as a direct engraving medium, where the original engraving is used as the finished artwork. The very first scraper board originally consisted of cardboard or other stiff paper coated with no ink coating.
The first version of scratchboard was introduced around 1880 by clockmakers in Milan, Paris and Vienna. It was a simple piece of cardboard with hard wax and special- prepared chalk. The cardboard was embossed with a grained pattern, which was then painted in or rolled with black Indian ink in a specific area where to be shaded. then lines were engraved .this could be easily photographed onto a metal plate and made into a line block for the printer. (The line block technique, refined in the 1870s, is a hybrid of intaglio and relief printing. It begins with a negative of a line drawing being contact printed onto a photosensitized metal plate. The light hardens this emulsion into an acid resist while non-exposed areas are washed away in warm water. When etched in a bath of acid, the metal surrounding the emulsion protected lines is eaten away, forming a low relief. The plate is then rolled with ink, which will only adhere to its surface but not in the incised lines as with traditional intaglio, and then it is printed in the same manner as a woodblock.)
Clayboad- exposed very crisp edges, similar to a woodblock or an etching. These new scratchboard reproduce very well on a commercial press. day black and white were popular. (Clay- kaolin, Chosen for whiteness, small particles, non-abrasiveness. not firer, archival quality.)
Scratchboard remained popular into the 1950s when photographic illustrations became the industry standard. Scratchboard has always been used as an illustrative means. You’ve seen it in magazines and books, countless places where we hadn’t realized that it was scratchboard.
The team intaglio meaning “to engrave” or to “cut into” refers to the process by which an image is created by gouging, biting or incising lines into the surface of a metal plate. The print is produced by filling the recessed marks and lines with ink to transfer the image to damp paper. In the final piece, the image will print in reverse from the design on the plate, and the ink will stand around the surface of the paper.
Printmaking is more popular than ever, yet so many people make and/or enjoy the finished pieces without much thought. Printmaking includes creating images or patterns that can be transferred from a medium, like a woodblock. And more specifically, relief printmaking uses the raised surface of a matrix to create an image (by removing the negative spaces.)