Russ McMullin – Owls, tree, and stars – progress and finish

My latest scratchboard is more illustrative than realistic.

owls-trees-and-stars

For it I borrowed the basic design of an owl that my sister burned into a wooden spoon.

michelle-spoon-owls

I wasn’t trying to achieve realism, but I wanted to include at least a hint of it. I started out by doing some sketches

owl-in-tree-sketch

owls-rough-sketch

And then I started refining:

owls-sketch-photoshop

owls-refined-sketch

Once I settled on the design, I transferred it to a 5×7 board with Chaco paper and red ballpoint pen:

owls-transfer

For scratching I used a sharpened steel point that a friend made for me. It works great and has stayed sharp.

my-newest-scratchboard-tools

Initially the leaves were way too bright and competed with the owls for attention. I inked over them with a Faber Castell PITT artist pen brush, waited for them to dry, and re-scratched them. Even then they seemed too bright:

two-owls-bright-leaves

So, I pushed them back a little further with a diluted ink wash using Ampersand “black repair” that comes with their set of scratchbord inks:

owls-trees-and-stars

The stars came last to give a background that wouldn’t compete with the owls. I’m feeling pretty good about the result. Now I’m trying to decide if I’m going to add some color.

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