Scratchboard is a wonderful medium to use for animals. It gives beautiful detail to fur and feathers. Scratchboards are a more professinal version of the old crayon version many people did as children. I primarily use the Ampersand clayboard product. I start with a masonite board covered with a thin layer of clay and black ink. Scratch the black away using a variety of tools such as Xacto knife, scapel, erasers,etc... and then I add color with watercolor or inks.
I've been scratching for about 10 years. I enjoy doing all kinds of art work but scratching is my favorite. Why I like scatchboard is because of its uniqueness. You don't see too much of it around and it inspires experimentation. I've taken Introduction to Drawing classes at my local community college, Long Beach City College, and a number of workshops from our Parks and Recreation center and other workshops around the country. The majority of my learning with scratchboard specifically occurs on the Scratchboard Forum at Wet Canvas. They are a wonderful group of people there who range in talent from Masters to Beginners. The biggest plus the Wet Canvas community has is the willingness of individuals to share their knowledge via the forum. If you want to learn almost anything about scratchboard visit the site. The Wet Canvas group has also "gone live" with workshops of their own in Indiana and most recently (2011) in Austin, Texas. This was a wonderful experience where people gave demonstrations on their own techniques. Some of the members of this this group have just started the International Society of Scratchboard Artists (ISSA) which plans to hold its first competition and workshops in 2012 in Northern California. I plan to be there. To join the ISSA visit the website.
My second favorite art form is photography. I enjoy going outdoors to take pictures of events and local wildlife. Since I live in Southern California most of the photos I take are with birds because they are more accessible. Plus I just like birds. I like to make scratchboards from my own photographs or my photo buddy's (my husband) pics so alot of my boards are with birds. Plus well again I just like birds.