Scratchboard Forum

The best forum I’ve seen for art of all kinds is Wet Canvas. A lot of people participate, from beginners to experts. It is well moderated, and they have a special section dedicated to scratchboard. Check it out!

There is also a Facebook group for scratchboard artists that gets a lot of traffic. People post their latest projects, ask and answer questions, and talk about the latest happenings in the scratchboard community.

32 thoughts on “Scratchboard Forum

  1. I have just been given a scratchboard set I am keen to use it
    I have used the black board but am a bit confused as to what to do with the piece of white board,
    Can you help me
    Kind regards

  2. Hello and thank you for this very informative website. I am a paper conservator in Australia and have a private work of a very warped scratchboard which is now cracking and in places is quite friable. Has any one experimented with flattening an Essdee Scraperboard? If not, are there any artists who have warped scraperboard prepared to sell some to me for experiments? Thank you! Jodie

  3. Hi Jodie,

    I have experienced problems with Essdee warping in the past. It has always been affected by humidity but it used to warp along one axis, giving it a tendency to curl. That was fine because it was at least predictable. Then I remember something changed in the board they were using. Instead of curling, it would turn wavy. I think they made improvements after this, but it’s been years since I bought any.

    What size pieces would you need to experiment with?

  4. Hello scratchmaster! Thank you for making such an informative site about this gorgeous art-form! I wonder if I could ask your advice about cutters and how to make a nice, clean straight line while cutting into the scratchboard for sizing, as this is something I’ve found surprisingly challenging..

    Nina πŸ™‚

  5. Hi Nina,

    It sounds like you are probably trying to cut Ampersand Scratchbord. One of the only criticisms I have of this product is how hard it is to cut. It comes in a range of common sizes, so it’s generally not a problem. But, if you happen to need a custom size, it can present a challenge.

    The board underneath the scratchboard surface is tempered masonite. It’s very tough. In my opinion the best way to cut it is with a table saw, or with a router on a router table. I have used these methods and they make very clean, straight cuts. But, if you don’t own these tools, I wouldn’t recommend running out and getting them just to cut scratchboard. They are expensive and DANGEROUS if you don’t know what you’re doing.

    Cutting Ampersand boards by hand with a box cutter is possible but pretty tedious and time consuming. Just for fun I decided to experiment by turning a 5×7 board into a 4×7. I laid the board face-down on my cutting mat, with a piece of paper in between to protect the surface. Then I positioned my ruler where I wanted it. The ruler has a no-slip surface with makes it easy to keep steady. Using a sturdy snap-blade box cutter with a comfortable handle I started making very light cuts along the ruler. The purpose of the light cuts is to make a nice, straight groove in the board, and to protect the hand that holds the board. Once the groove is established, you can push a little harder, but not much. Too much pressure can cause you to slip, and after an expensive emergency room visit you will wish you just called Ampersand to order some custom boards.

    It’s much easier to make straight cuts with lots of light strokes rather than with fewer heavy strokes. I didn’t count the strokes but it took quite a few to cut the board – between 150 and 200 I would guess. The cut was pretty clean and I was happy with it. If you don’t have another method and you are careful and have patience, this method will work. Slow and steady wins the race. Otherwise you might be able to find someone who could cut them for you.

    I hope this helps. πŸ™‚

  6. Hi Jim,

    Here is a link you might find interesting:

    People talk about making scratchboard, but I haven’t really seen anyone try it and write about the experience. It seems simple enough to make, but I’ll bet it would take some research and the right tools to do it right – like a sander to make the clay surface smooth, and an airbrush to lay down the black.

  7. Thank you. I really appreciate all the work you do on the website and your art is spectacular.

  8. There is a better way to cut Ampersand boards by hand. I learned this way from Allan Adams on the Scratchboard Forum at Wet Canvas. You tape over the cutting line on both sides of the board with blue painter’s tape, and then you do the cutting with a fine hack saw blade. You don’t use the blade in a regular hacksaw frame, you put it in a little orange holder thingy that lets one end of the blade protrude. (The holder should be available at your hardware). Doesn’t go rel fast, but a lot faster than the scoring technique.


  9. This is a beautiful site. I am a scratchboard artist, and though my artwork is very different than the wonderful artists and illustrators represented here, I learn so much by looking at you techniques, styles, and amazing drawing skills. Thank you so much.
    I was wondering if I could be included with wonderful stable of contributors. My work is on my website. A few answers to some of the comments on the forum. Ampersand does not warp. It is made of strong woods available, and is museum quality. Secondly, ampersand will make custom sizes–a bit pricy. I have used a table saw, which works O.K. If the edges are rough, I just sand them and make them a part of my artwork, but then I’m very abstract, and often my work has little black left. Also you may find an engraver with a laser cutter. Laser cutters will cut scratchboard perfectly. Check out Steve and Terry Beauchamp in Modesto for an example. Pricy too, but worth it. Take care all. Jane

  10. Hello to the wise person who compiled I really enjoyed going through the art, it’s all varied and all great! Feel free to check out mine and see if you find it a fit. I am writing an article on scratchboard art and will be contacting some of the artists on your site. Thanks so much! Lisa

  11. I am just beginning to learn about scratchboarding. I find it fasinating. I have done a few kits just to give it a try. I want to branch out and try my own designs. My question is, is there a place where I can go to find a list of teachers or instructors in my area who might be willing to teach or share info about this art form? If not can you suggest a book or DVD for beginners? I need to know things like how do you know when to stop scratching. How do you apply inks. What types of scratches are there. etc. Thanks for any info you can give me.

  12. JoAnne, you need to join the scratchboard forum at
    It is a wonderful source of information, with incredible tutorials on everything you’ve ask. The art work of the members will blow you away, and everyone is always more than willing to offer help and advice, great bunch of people

    A good book to get you started is “Starting From Scratch” . you can get it at Amazon.


  13. Scratchboard artists are invited to exhibit their work at the CARDINIA GRAND ART EXHIBITION in Pakenham Victoria Australia. This is premium art event for the best of the best art..AMPERSAND USA is sponsoring with US$1000 – US$500 in prizes & US$500 in scratchboards.. There is a special dedicated individually lit display section and we welcome scratchboard artists from around the world. We will be making a special deal for international artists. We are still organising go to for info or contact – cheers Calvin

    Cardinia Grand Art Exhibition
    Premium art event of Victoria
    Cardinia Cultural Centre
    Lakeside Pakenham Victoria 3810 Australia
    20 – 23 February 2014
    Sponsored by AMPERSAND USA – US$1000 in awards.
    300 leading artists in exhibition, 3000 patrons 1000 works on show
    We pay for return of international unsold works
    International scratchboarders from USA, Germany, France, New Zealand & Australia already registered. REGISTER NOW : details on website:
    contact ;

  15. Thanks for Russ McMullin’s Scratchboard Tutorial. It’s a keeper. I have only completed one scratchboard (“Wolf”) and a friend just bought it saying it called to her. Loved the results and plan on continuing my education of this medium. I would leave an image here if I could just figure out how to attach it here. Used Ampersand board and some blue ink for shadow and touch of yellow in highlight. Your comment about no instructions available is true – that’s why I appreciate that you’ve put together an actual tutorial. This will help me as I further explore this medium. This seemed to fit right into my comfort zone as my default medium always goes back to pencil/graphite portraiture for people (faces) and animals. As a 72 year old, have drawn since I was about 5 or so, did oils almost 40 years ago, and have been experimenting with different mediums the last 20 years: watercolor, colored pencil, silk painting w/ dyes, acrylic and abstracts in various mediums. Stella Mullins

  16. I have been doing scratch boards for quite some time, just as a hobby and was wondering if there was a website or some other place to post my work. I would love to have others look at it and get some feedback. Thank you!

  17. Hey. I recently did a scratch board project for my Art 2 class in my high school. I loved it and I wish to do more. Unfortunately, I don’t know where to get the supplies. I know there’s online, but I’m only 17 and don’t have a credit card. I happen to live near northeastern Florida and the closest art store I know of (Micheal’s) doesn’t carry scratch board needles. Is there any way I can get my supplies?

  18. Without a credit or debit card it’s hard to suggest the usual places for find scratchboard supplies online. You may want to start calling around to local art stores to see if they carry Ampersand Scratchbord. If they don’t carry it, maybe they can order it. When you say “scratch board needles” I’m not sure if you are referring to tattoo needles, or something else. Some people are using tattoo needles, and you may be able to find a local source for them by asking around. I think Xacto blades are great for scratchboard. They aren’t super expensive and most art and hobby stores carry them. I personally like #11 and #16 blades. I hope this helps. Good luck.

  19. Our Michaels carries Scratchboard or at least they did and I live on the West Coast of Florida. I have done a few and I also use a No. 11 blade in an Xacto knife. Try one I think you will like it and they are cheap. Good Luck

  20. Love this site, thankyou.
    I am usually a printmaker based in Western Australia who works with lino. For years and love the unique marks and black and white high contrasts it gives me.
    However I am only one-handed and after so many years have damaged my good shoulder and can no longer carve. I miss it a great deal.
    I teach part time and have taught scraperboard to some of my classes. I only know the basics.
    I was thinking scraperboard may be a good substitute for me that won’t harm my shoulder so much. The only thing I was wondering if you knew of how best to colour a scraperboard? What is the best media to use? Make? Is there any current books as well as sites you would recommend?
    Thank you in advance πŸ™‚

  21. Hi, I have just finished a large piece on Claybord. I would love your feedback! It has a great deal of scratch work as well as pen and ink work. I thought you and the readers may be interested. It would be an honor to have the piece appear on You can see it on my Tumblr at, or my deviant art site,

    Thanks for the great site! Keep up the great work.

  22. Hi! I’m a learning artist, experimenting wth different types of mediums. I fount that scratchboard is very enjoyable to do and I’m able to do better art pieces with scratchboard even though it’s time-consuming. I’m currently working with fur textures and reflections. There are techniques like stippling and cross-hatching. Are there any tricks that you’ve learned about that might help me with learning this new, and creative art form?

  23. Hi Ross,

    I’ve just discovered your website — great work! Hope you are still posting updates.

    Thank you for telling people about my book A FINE LINE a few years ago. I wanted to let you know that Firefly Books is about to publish a sequel: LIGHT REVEALED: SCRATCHBOARD ENGRAVINGS BY SCOTT McKOWEN. It’s a “volume two” with work from the past ten years (FINE LINE was published in 2009).

    You can find recent work at – go to the Illustration section.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *