The Beach at Tybee

I'm embarrassed that it's been so long since I last posted. Life has a way of getting between me and the things I'd rather be doing.

Nonetheless, we stole away to the beach yesterday where I was able to sketch for a couple of hours.

I love scratchboard, and have wondered about using it as a sketching surface. (Have you ever seen the scratchboard images Eyvind Earle created for his autobiography, Horizon Bound on a Bicycle? Those little sketches are what got me thinking about using this unlikely medium as a sketching surface. Earle's work is so much more elegant than my chunky attempt, however.) So inspired, I made a book with commercially produced scratchboard sheets, and headed out.

The book I made is small (out of necessity — if it were any larger, I'd never get any sketches finished) — the image area is 6 x 5 inches; I used screw posts to bind it (which is what I do with all of the sketchbooks I make).

When I work in scratchboard, I normally use Ampersand's smooth clayboard panels, and ink them myself. The quality of these boards has spoiled me, and my standard for materials has become high. The unfortunate result of this is that I find the commercially produced sheets stubborn to work with — the ink chips away in chunks when I want to smoothly slice away a fluid line. But it works for the beach, and I enjoyed working this way despite the challenges of inferior materials.

Here are a couple of shot of the scratchboard sketchbook I made.