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Making Scratchboard From Paper – part 2

June 10, 2009

Concluding my post from yesterday, I’m showing my tests for scratching and erasing ink markers on shellac paper and primer. All of these use pigmented, lightfast, archival inks. If you test any other markers on your own, I’d recommend they be non-water soluble (water-proof or oil based) to adhere best on the shellac surfaces. These tests were on the same papers as the liquid inks that was shown yesterday.

These are the brush markers tested:
Faber-Castell PITT Sepia Artist Marker, Marvy Le Plume, Sakura Pigma Brush Pen, and Kuretake ZIG Calligraphy marker

PITT brush pen

PITT brush pen

Marvy Le Plume

Marvy Le Plume

Pigma Brush Pen

Pigma Brush Pen

ZIG Calligraphy

ZIG Calligraphy

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The best overall were the ZIG and PITT pens. Those two also dried more slowly than the others, which may account for their being easier to scratch. The effect was more like pushing or wiping the ink rather than scraping it, in this case. Although, even once they completelty dried they worked fine. They also erased the easiest.

The ZIG marker dried very black and the scratched lines were the cleanest of all. The Pigma and Le Plume brushes both dried quickly but were very gray on the primer and would not scratch or erase easily on either surface. The Le Plume marker in particular had a crackling effect as it dried similar to the Deleter liquid ink.


These are the liner pens tested:
PITT Artist Pen (Black,) Prismacolor Premier Line Marker, Sakura Pigma Micron, Staedtler Pigment Liner

PITT Artist Pen

PITT Artist Pen

Prismacolor Liner

Prismacolor Liner

Pigma Micron Pen

Pigma Micron Pen

Staedtler Liner

Staedtler Liner

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As with most things in life I suppose, not everything is interchangeable, so one pen is not like another. Although these are fine pens, just as with the other tests, the results differ. The Micron and Staedtler pens don’t scratch very well on the primer paper, but do very well on the shellac. The Prismacolor did very well on the primer, but not so well on the shellac. The PITT pen did not do well on either surface, which surprised me since the brushes did well. The ink seemed to bead up a bit on the shellac surface with all these pens, but was fine on the primer. No beading with the brush tips. The Prismacolor pen didn’t seem as dark as the others. Utimately, on the shellac surface the Micron seemed to be the best liner pen, and the Prismacolor worked best on the primed surface.

A separate note about papers: as I mentioned, the drawing in yesterday’s post was made on Multimedia Artboard, which is a favorite support of mine. It has a very hard surface, and if you happen to scratch down to it, it won’t become easily damaged as regular paper would. Another surface I’m playing with is synthetic film, such as Mylar and Yupo. Shellac seems to adhere very well to this, which surprised me, although it will scratch off if you go down too far.

Another note about shellac: the 3# shellac I used is amber in color just because that was what I had available in that weight. More than one coat may improve the test results, but also make an even darker surface color. Clear shellac is virtually colorless, and a lighter weight might work just as well. The pigment used for the primer could also be any other color besides white. I’m a bit surprised by how strong this shellac “gesso” is, and may give it tests for painting on as well. There are also pre-mixed commercial brands of shellac primers on the market, such as BIN from Zinsser, but I don’t know how they make it, or the type of shellac used (it appears to have wax content,) so I prefer to make my own which is quite easy to do.

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