Scratchboard refers to both a medium, and an illustrative engraving technique using sharp knives and tools for etching into a thin layer of white China clay that is coated with black India ink.
To create an original engraving, the artist first develops a pencil sketch which is then transferred to the scratchboard. After the entire engraving has been completed in black and white several layers of transparent watercolor or ink can also be applied. The engraving is then rescratched to blend and highlight certain areas and additional color may be added to reach the final result.
Scratchboard is a wonderful medium to represent wildlife and especially pets because of the intricate detail, contrast, and wonderful texture that can be achieved; the subject comes alive before your eyes as the engraving progresses. The completed scratchboard engraving really combines the best of two worlds: the beauty of a full color painting and the detail, texture and precision of an engraving.