Scratchboard involves applying a thin layer of white clay by machine to illustration board. The clay is coated with black ink. Then a sharp blade is used to scrape off lines of black ink to reveal the white surface below.
Patrick Arrasmith grew up in Walnut Creek, outside San Francisco, and moved to Brooklyn on a Society of Illustrators scholarship. He picked up illustration work, and then he started getting commissions from book publishers. These include his illustrations for Joseph Delaney’s fantasy novel series The Last Apprentice. See his website patrickarrasmith.com and richardsolomon.com for some of his pictures.
READERSVOICE.COM: What are some of your favorite books of all time?
PATRICK ARRASMITH Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, At The Mountains of Madness by HP Lovecraft, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds.
RV: When illustrating things like the effect of light, like in your picture Apsara, is it difficult to get shades with scratch board? Does it just give you a choice of light or black?
PA: It’s not difficult to get shades of light. It has to do with the mix of white line work and black background.
RV: What kind of research did you do for references for your picture Bones of the Moon with all those giant wheels and cogs?
PA: Yeah, that was a lot of work getting the perspective to work on that. I looked at a lot of industrial age photos from large scale mechanical works etc.
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-copyright Simon Sandall