Scratchboard Animals Portraits by Allan Ace Adams

Illinois artist Allan Ace Adams create these breathtaking portraits of animals using an exacto knife to scrape away a top layer of black ink off the canvas to reveal the white clay underneath, called scratchboard art.

"I explain to people that I’m scratching in the highlights instead of the ‘darks’ like you would with a graphite drawing. Shades of gray can be achieved by how much ink is removed or by applying an ink wash. The ink wash can be scratched back though to reveal the white once again.”

It is a time-consuming process where every line must be created by hand and there is no room for mistakes.

A scratchboard is a hardwood board, which is coated with a thin layer of porcelain clay. The clay is coated with a think layer of black ink and the artist scratches the black ink to reveal the white clay.

"I usually use multiple tools on a board. My favorite tool is a #11 blade Scalpel. I also use x-acto knifes.(pictured on the left) But...I also use other more unique tools. Steel wool, Sandpaper, emery cloth, sanding pads, wire twisty ties, wire brushes, women's nail buffers (also known as a NBT, Nail Buffer Thingy), tattoo needles...anything that has an abrasive quality can be used. The sky is the limit and exploring those limits is half the fun."

"I have a strong love for animals and hopefully that carries through to my works. I seem to be attracted to the "strange" or dangerous critters especially. The Great White Shark, Wolves, Tigers, and various others. I especially enjoy doing pet portraits. When I complete a portrait, hand it over to the client, and I see their eyes light up. I see the love they share with their pet shine through, that is the greatest feeling, as an artist, one could experience."

Check his website:


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