Barbara Cooney's Scratchboard Technique
1. She starts by sketching the illustrations exact size, feeling that there is too much loss if they are reduced too much. From this she creates a tracing.
2. She rubs the back of the tracing with her lead pencil to create a carbon paper. She then places this on top of the scratchboard (she uses the white un-inked variety) and transfers it to the scratchboard.
3. Ink in the part of the drawing that you want black with a brush using the darkest ink possible. Cooney uses Winsor and Newton series #7 brushes, the smallest size possible. Allow to dry completely.
4. Begin scratching away your design using an X-acto knife with a #11 blade.
5. For multi-colored illustrations, she starts with the black key drawing on the scratchboard. The other drawings are drawn separately onto a transparent overlay using ink and a brush. Then she carefully scratches back into each layer with the X-acto knife.
Barbara’s complete article can be found in The Horn Book Magazine, April 1964, or The Illustrator’s Notebook by Lee Kingman.

Biography of Barbara Cooney

Books Written/Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

© 1999–2002 Denise Ortakales
All Illustrations are copyright by their respective owners.
This page last updated on 24 August 2002.

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