"Safety" Wins Silver

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I'm very grateful to Avril Thomas, the judge for the Master's Division of the 6th Annual International Society of Scratchboard Artists' Exhibition in South Australia. She chose "Safety" to receive the "Silver Award" (Second Place). I'm also grateful to the buyer of "Safety" who purchased it during the Exhibition. The drawing will remain in Australia. I have to admit, I fully expected the drawing to come home, so I didn't really get a chance to say goodbye. I create my work with the intention of selling it, but it can still be a little bit sad when a piece goes off to a new home.

To learn more about this drawing, please click on the image to go to my web site.


Plenty Has Happened . . .

Sunday, November 20, 2016

. . . since my last blog post . . . but the most exciting news is that I'm now a Master member (MSA) of the International Society of Scratchboard Artists (ISSA)! It’s an incredible honor to be recognized for my achievements in scratchboard and my dedication to this medium that I love so much! For more information, please read my press release.

In other news (old news), a quick recap: lots of scratching, a 3-artist collaborative art show with my friend & brother, an open studio tour, a booth at the City of Trees Art & Ink Expo, regular postings on my Instagram, and a scratchboard workshop (2 more scheduled for 2017).

. . . and new news:

Tell Me More About 'Sheep' will be in the new "Art Journey Animals" book due out soon. This is North Light's compilation book featuring animal art, and it can be pre-ordered now. Expected in-stock date is 12-15-16.  

Safety will be on its way to Australia in January for our 6th annual ISSA Exhibition


Thoughts on Learning Scratchboard

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

This is an easy post to make, since I had already written it for our Scratchboard Artists' group on Facebook. The group is a great one, full of inspiration and advice. If you have any interest in scratchboard, as an artist or an admirer, please check it out. Scratchers of all skill levels post work in there and I was recently pondering some of the beginner's works.

Thoughts from the shower, where I get some good contemplatin’ done. . .

It’s not about the scratching, it’s about the drawing!

Allow me to generalize a bit, this is based on my own observations: Those that seem to come naturally to scratchboard have most likely already gained experience with drawing in other mediums. Having a previous understanding of how to render tone, contrast & texture helps immensely with scratchboard.

Scratchboard is unique in that it’s not a medium that is commonly taught or accessible to artists (of course, we’re all trying to change that). There are plenty of opportunities for aspiring artists to learn watercolor, oil, acrylic, pencil, pen & ink . . . and build skills.

For those who choose scratchboard as an entry to art, or may not have much experience in other mediums, you’re learning to draw at the same time you're learning the scratching techniques.

Think about *drawing* with your knife, not just scratching. Look at the surface of your subject. Is it smooth or textured? Look at the contours, how do they define the structure and in what direction do they go? Find the different tones: light (white), medium, dark (black), and the continuum in between. How do different types of scratches (long, short, stippled, feathered, hatched, soft, heavy, wide, thin) help you render these components? Make judgement calls, use your artistic license, create your own composition from your reference photo. Leave things out that don't make sense, make your own contrasts where needed.

Figuring all this out comes from practice, learning to see, and the wonderful advice that so many of our members (in the Facebook group mentioned above) are happy to give.

Remember too, that it’s all an illusion. We’re not creating dogs, cats, buildings, etc. We’re making the right kind of scratches on a board that resemble these things. It’s our interpretation of what we see in our reference photo.

The last paragraph comes from an earlier "light bulb moment" regarding the illusion that you can read about in this post.


New Exhibition for "Sleeping Patterns"

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I'm thrilled and honored to announce that "Sleeping Patterns", my scratchboard drawing of a pair of Sumatran Tigers, has been accepted in the Society of Animal Artists' 56th Annual Exhibition. The Exhibition runs September 23, 2016 through January 1, 2017 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. After the Exhibition ends in Houston, there will be a touring exhibition of select works. It's a possibility that these tigers could do some traveling.

Read more about the process and see in-progress stages in this blog post I wrote just after completing the drawing.

 Click here to see a "zoomable" version of the drawing.


My "New" Shop

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Over the years, I've had a number of on-line sales venues & shops, including eBay, Etsy, Bonanza, Fine Art America, Zazzle, and CafePress. Earlier this year, I decided to take the plunge and create my own shop with Shopify. With this set-up, I can consolidate all my merchandise into one location, and include links to my print on demand shops on Fine Art America, Zazzle, and CafePress. Shopify uses the WordPress platform, so it's familiar to me and easy to navigate.

I still have plenty of art & merchandise to add, but I've made a decent start. Shopify just introduced the "Buy Now" button, which is a nice option to add available art on my website or blog. See the example below with my latest mini scratchboard.

I also list all currently available originals in an album on my Facebook business page. If an original is in my shop, there will be a link along with the image.


K9 Ronin

Monday, September 14, 2015

Quite a bit more has happened since my last post, and I was lamenting to my Facebook friends how I haven't been keeping up with my blog. It's time consuming, but I really enjoy posting. So I headed over here to take care of some business!

I'll limit this post to the story surrounding this drawing of Ronin, a handsome and impressive K9 with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department K9 Division.

I had wanted to create a drawing of a working K9 for quite some time and the ball started rolling at the 2014 Kaleo Fun Run, a fundraising event. K9 Ronin was there with his handler for a meet & greet with the public. I was able to take some great photos of Ronin, and this one became the reference for the drawing. It was exactly what I had in mind.

I'll post some of the in-progress images here, but there are more that you can see in this Facebook album, along with explanations of the various steps. My concept for this drawing was to add color to Ronin only. Because I knew I could get the dog right in this drawing (since animals are my subjects of choice), I worked on the car first. I didn't want to put all the work into the dog and then not have the car & concept work out the way I wanted. When I was happy with the way the car turned out, I went to work on Ronin. The only "color" on the car is where I took a grey art marker to knock back the lines at the edges of the car and the lettering on the door panel. I used my go-to #16 X-Acto blade for everything except in a few places (the STAY AWAY lettering and a few other parts of the car), where I used a tattoo needle to knock things back a bit.

The "all scratched" stage, ready for color on Ronin

This is a detail of the section under the dog's feet. That area took a long time to do. It's a process of scratching, re-inking with stipples & scribbles, re-scratching, re-stippling, etc., until I achieve the smooth transition that I want. A section of fur that size would take less time to do. There's not much need for re-working, if I get the fur right on the first pass, with some refining, that's it!

For a "zoomable" version of the finished drawing, click here.

When the drawing was finished, I contacted Ronin's handler to give him a print. I found out he had been promoted and Ronin has a new handler, so the two of them worked things out so I could meet them, Ronin, and nearly the entire K9 Division. It was a great experience and an honor. Ronin's former handler was presented with a shadowbox commemorating his time with the division and I presented him with the print of the drawing. It was a fantastic way to spend a few hours, and they brought out many of the dogs for me to photograph. You can see some of those photos in this Facebook album.

Me with Sergeant Gregory, Ronin's former handler

Me with Ronin

And finally, I sent this drawing to the International Society of Scratchboard Artists' 4th Annual Juried Exhibition  in Frederick, MD in July and am thrilled to announce that it received an Award of Excellence in the Open division. It didn't sell there, so it's back here in my studio where it will be on display for our annual Newcastle Art Studios Tour in October.

- - - All art and images ©Ann Ranlett, unless otherwise credited. All rights reserved. - - -

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