Just recently received a copy of the book Starting from Scratch by Diana Lee (June 2012) from Amazon after reading about it online on Scratchboard related websites. Couldn’t put it down and had to work my way through it in one sitting. What a wonderful resource to have when you are teaching yourself scratchboard!  I now know the three basic techniques – crosshatching, feathering and stippling. I also know that I can be far more innovative and creative with this medium in relation to the use of other media such as acrylics and fine line pens. It was also useful to see her recommendation re www.wetcanvas.com for animal/wildlife reference photos.

Lee describes scratchboard as “unique” and “dramatic”. She goes through the history of scratched art and etchings. She outlines the various tools that she uses with this medium.

One of her very useful tips is to “start with the eyes”. She says that if the eyes are not right then there is no point going on! There is a very useful exercise outlined on how to do a cat’s eye.

I was surprised to read her comment that the larger the size of the board used, the easier and faster the process goes. In fact, she states that she does not work on anything smaller than 11 by 14 inches – a size I have not yet even attempted.

There is a very good section on adding colour to scratchboard with an elephant piece using both acrylic paint and scratchboard.

I also learnt the difference between workable and permanent fixatives.

There is also advice and demonstrations on how to use white scratchboard (for when I am feeling even more adventurous).

The book concludes with a gallery of her inspiring works. A must have for those keen to expand and improve their skills in this area.