I wanted to do a “quick”* scratch work that didn’t involve fur or feathers which are the scratch artist’s bread and butter. I also wanted to shy away from metal and/or glass, as those are often the non-fauna go-tos. Being that I reside in New Mexico, and I happen to have a ristra** available for studies, I opted to make it my victim. Breaking from my usual tradition, I framed the chiles tightly so I’d have to fill the board.

I also wanted to play with coloring a scratchboard like most seem to: with Ampersand inks applied with a brush. When I color a scratchboard, my preference is to apply any of a variety of mediums (ink, watercolor, acrylic, etc.) using an airbrush. While I’d practiced doing the usual brush-and-ink method, I’d never actually committed to it with intent.

A style choice I made was to do the majority of the work using hatching, instead of cross-hatching. While I often opt for hatching in any case, this time it was deliberate as it allowed me to keep the chiles reasonably distinct during the initial layer of scratch. This resulted in an interesting, though accidental, side-effect of creating diffraction effects which muted a fair amount following varnishing.

Other than that, I employed my usual arsenal of scratch tools, leaning heavily on my typical workhorses: needle and pin.

* Oddly, it seems the smaller the scratchboard, the longer these things actually take.

** The typical, and seemingly ubiquitous, New Mexico ristra is a tight bundle of red chiles, tied at the stem, hung out to dry (our relative humidity is often 15% or lower…drying isn’t a problem). It doesn’t have to be red chiles, other hot peppers are often substituted. If you frequent Italian kitchens, you may have noticed a string of garlic hanging around — that’s a garlic ristra.

As a bonus, here’s a video I did of the entire process:

[youtube http://youtu.be/UtY9R-Vb3is]