Drawing With a Semi-Scratchboard Approach

Art by David Kitler | ArtistsNetwork.com

Siesta (graphite on Baltic birch panel, 24×13-1/8)

In its most straightforward form, drawing involves a few simple materials and basic steps: an idea, graphite/pencil and paper. I’d been following this formula since kindergarten and, truth be told, I craved doing something a little out of the ordinary. For this article I wanted to experiment from the ground up, so I decided to create a drawing on gessoed board instead of on paper. I also wanted to utilize additional tools—scalpels and razor blades—and different techniques—a semi-scratchboard approach.

I really enjoy portraying more exotic species, such as the capuchin monkey, but this demonstration is about exploring uncommon ways of rendering a variety of textures, such as the fur, skin, bark and leaves found in this subject and its habitat. I found doing something familiar in an unfamiliar way both exciting and risky—I couldn’t be sure of how things would turn out or what new problems I’d encounter.

Bark Techniques:
To create the bark texture, I used scribbling, blending with the side and tip of a wood dowel (not shown), and scraping through with a razor blade. I varied the level of detail to create the illusion of depth in my drawing. (See below.)

Fur Techniques:
For the highlights and lighter fur on the monkey’s face, I used a combination of scratching out with a scalpel or razor blade and burnishing with a wood dowel. (See below.)

To read the entire article and see Kitler’s amazing step-by-step demo, see the July/August 2010 Issue of The Artist’s Magazine.

Click here for a peek at the table of contents for the July/August issue of The Artist’s Magazine.

Click here to learn about the digital download of the July/August issue of The Artist’s Magazine.

Books on Wildlife Art

Learn about Artist’s Photo Reference: Wildlife by Bart Rulon here.

Learn about Keys to Painting: Fur & Feathers, edited by Rachel Rubin Wolfe, here.

Artist and naturalist David N. Kitler’s work is part of private and corporate collections the world over and has received numerous awards. Having taught classes and workshops throughout North America for more than 15 years, Kitler also shares his drawing and painting techniques through instructional videos. To view Kitler’s online gallery, read his art tips and learn about his workshops and DVDs, visit his website, www.davidkitler.com.


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