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Every White Line in these Ultra-Realistic Animal Portraits is Just a Scratch

We’ve seen highly talented artists burn paper, roller skate, and even kick a football around to create art. But here’s something new – Illinois artist Allan Ace Adams actually scratches away at paper to create breathtaking animal portraits. It’s called scratchboard art, and it involves using an exacto knife to scrape away a top layer of black ink off the canvas to reveal the white clay underneath.

A scratchboard is actually a hardwood board coated with a thin layer of porcelain clay. Another thick layer of black ink is added on top of the porcelain, which the artist has to scratch off in order to create an image. “I explain to people that I’m scratching in the highlights instead of the ‘darks’ like you would with a graphite drawing,” Adams wrote on his website. “Shades of gray can be achieved by how much ink is removed or by applying an ink wash. The ink wash can be scratched back though to reveal the white once again.”

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Mind-Blowing Animal Artworks Painted with Heat

Self-taught artist Julie Bender is a master of pyrography – the art of drawing with heat. She combines this artistic talent with her love for animals and nature to create incredibly detailed sepia works of art.

Pyrography, the art of burning or scorching a natural surface like wood or leather with a heated tip or wire was first practiced thousands of years ago by the Egyptians and African tribesmen attracted by the power of fire. Impressive as it was in its early days, pyrography has come a long way since then, especially since Melbourne architect Alfred Smart discovered a way to pump benzoline fumes through a heated hollow platinum pencil, thus creating an instrument that allowed artist to create tinting and shading, which were previously impossible. In the early 20th century, the invention of the electric pyrographic hot wire machine took the ancient art to a new level, and modern tools have become so advanced that they allow artists to modify burning temperatures and create a variety of tones and shades.

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