The scratchboard technique is a two-dimensional subtractive process. It involves the use of abrasive tools to directly remove a surface layer of one value (typically dark) to expose a second layer (typically white). The values within the artwork are predominantly achieved by varying the amount of surface layer that has been scratched away or left.

For colorful scratchboards, layer after layer of colorful inks are added and scratched away, repeatedly, until the colors and value (the balance of dark and light) are just right for the composition.

Scratchboard requires an artist to think in reverse of traditionally drawing. Working in scratchboard, an artist places down highlights with each scratch, instead of placing down a shadow with every dark line on a white surface. I like the metaphor that scratchboard artists are artists of light, instead of focusing on darkness. In reality, we have to think of both all of the time.

The level of detail and hyper realism that scratchboard makes possible is a veritable feast for an artist of wildlife and wildflowers.