Mark Summers' modern scratchboardsMark Summers' modern scratchboards

Mark Summers’ a supertalented illustrator from Canada. He’s very famous for his illustrations done with scratchboard technique, that gives them an old school look. Inside the post the process.

Mark Summers’ è un grandissimo illustratore canadese. E’ molto famoso per la tecnica delle sue illustrazioni, che realizza con incisioni che danno loro un aspetto molto retrò, in pieno contrasto coi soggetti moderni che ritraggono. All’interno del post il processo di realizzazione.

“As a student at the Ontario College of Art in 1976, Mark Summers was introduced to scratchboard by the revered political cartoonist Duncan Macpherson. Soon after graduation, he began circulating his portfolio of portraits. His big break came with a portrait of Douglas McArthur from the New York Times Book Review, and he hasn’t stopped working since. Mark’s engravings in scratchboard have garnered numerous awards, exhibits, and a continually expanding client list that still includes regular features in the Book Review.”

The process

(explained by Mark)

Step 1: A quick sketch
To block out the final composition.

Step 2: The preliminary sketch
I don’t always go to this extreme for a rough sketch- only if the piece is fairly complex or if the client needs to see some indication of where the exact light and darks will fall. I’m not  sure how I wound up doing sketches in such a Byzantine fashion, but it is a quick way to determine the overall tone.
This is a simple line drawing, done with a felt tip pen. On tracing paper- I then spray mount it onto a light toned paper. The highlights are acrylic paint. Even after this step I will still tend to “fiddle.” If I feel a hand is too small, or a figure too large I photocopy it to the proper size and just paste it in.

Step 3: The finished black and white.
Each drawing begins as a black square. After this, using a knife, I scratch white lines into the surface. I try to discourage clients from asking to see “the work in progress,” as at any time there will be an entirely finished head here, a hand there, all floating in a sea of black.
I tend to work size-as (this drawing is 12” high- each face being approximately 2” high.) In a drawing such as this, I find it takes a full day to finish each figure. I then have the finished work scanned and printed onto photographic paper.

Step 4: Finished color.
A fast process, as the black and white drawing already defines the modeling. Simple flat tones of color are all that are really needed. I paint details with watercolor and then everything else with oil glazes. Sometimes I go in and smooth things out with airbrush. The final step is to paint in highlights with acrylic.

The coloring of this piece took about three hours.

“As a student at the Ontario College of Art in 1976, Mark Summers was introduced to scratchboard by the revered political cartoonist Duncan Macpherson. Soon after graduation, he began circulating his portfolio of portraits. His big break came with a portrait of Douglas McArthur from the New York Times Book Review, and he hasn’t stopped working since. Mark’s engravings in scratchboard have garnered numerous awards, exhibits, and a continually expanding client list that still includes regular features in the Book Review.”

The process

(explained by Mark)

Step 1: A quick sketch
To block out the final composition.

Step 2: The preliminary sketch
I don’t always go to this extreme for a rough sketch- only if the piece is fairly complex or if the client needs to see some indication of where the exact light and darks will fall. I’m not sure how I wound up doing sketches in such a Byzantine fashion, but it is a quick way to determine the overall tone.
This is a simple line drawing, done with a felt tip pen. On tracing paper- I then spray mount it onto a light toned paper. The highlights are acrylic paint. Even after this step I will still tend to “fiddle.” If I feel a hand is too small, or a figure too large I photocopy it to the proper size and just paste it in.

Step 3: The finished black and white.
Each drawing begins as a black square. After this, using a knife, I scratch white lines into the surface. I try to discourage clients from asking to see “the work in progress,” as at any time there will be an entirely finished head here, a hand there, all floating in a sea of black.
I tend to work size-as (this drawing is 12” high- each face being approximately 2” high.) In a drawing such as this, I find it takes a full day to finish each figure. I then have the finished work scanned and printed onto photographic paper.

Step 4: Finished color.
A fast process, as the black and white drawing already defines the modeling. Simple flat tones of color are all that are really needed. I paint details with watercolor and then everything else with oil glazes. Sometimes I go in and smooth things out with airbrush. The final step is to paint in highlights with acrylic.

The coloring of this piece took about three hours.

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