Scratchboard secrets

  • BOMONSTER is a Solo Lobo Artist

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    I call this one "Solo Lobo" and I think it reflects the chopper adventure lifestyle just right. I made the rider a drifting cowboy leaning on his bedroll next to a campfire enjoying a smoke and cup of coffee. He's joined the 21st century and traded in his horse for an old Flathead Harley chopper which is just as loyal. For more on BOMONSTER's unique style, art, tees, hats and patches, check out this 21st century website: www.bomonster.com

  • BOMONSTER Roll Model

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    I was asked by the promoters of Chopperfest to create a BOMONSTER piece inspired by David Mann's "Day Moon." I don't like to "borrow" too much from another artist but then I had the idea of adding a million bikes behind the original Mann chopper couple representing all the artists and bike builders who were inspired by "The Mann." The promoters loved the idea, the legal owners of the original art loved the idea and that was all I needed to start scratching. I call it "Roll Model."

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    bomonster-david-mann-poster

    Original reprints (left) pop up an ebay every once in awhile but you can get a signed and numbered BOMONSTER 11x17 litho print by clicking here.

  • BOMONSTER's SEMA Thrash

    SEMA is the world's largest automotive trade show of it's kind. Attended by over 100,000 people over four days, there's always a week before/night before multi- all night thrashes that all builders and exhibit teams go through to get here.  This was mine. I had two long nights before the gallery show opening and scratched out these little masterpieces. I did them small - 5x7 size - and could do about six in four hours. Down and dirty but I liked the raw, bold lines that happens when I'm in a hurry. Most sold which took the sting out of the thrash.

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    bomonster-sema-thrash-shoebox

    bomonster-sema-thrash-mantaray

    bomonster-sema-thrash-fj40

    bomonster-sema-thrash-corvette-teeth

    Photos and scratches by BOMONSTER

     

     

  • BOMONSTER and "Lil' Daddy" Roth

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    Me and Dennis "Lil' Daddy" Roth have a lot in common. Our dads were artists who worked with each other, we are now both artists, we hung out in Maywood working for our dads as kids and we wear the same clothes. We were each selling our own stuff at the Hot Rod Reunion and it's always fun to share stories with him. We both pay to be at the show for three days but the difference between us is that as soon as he makes a big sale he goes home. And then people think I'm "Lil' Daddy" Roth and want to buy my shirt.

    Photo by a "Lil' Daddy" Roth fan

  • BOMONSTER Scratches a French '55 Chevy Gasser

    I just finished scratching this '55 gasser for a customer in France. He sent me the following picture and asked me to create an original BOMONSTER masterpiece for him.

    I liked the angle and submitted the following rough idea. Not everyone can look at a scratchy rough drawing and imagine a finished piece of art but this owner did and loved the concept. Since the car had English writing all over it I added the DRAGS sign to give the driver some motivation to hit the gas.

    What's important about the rough drawing is that I can get to an idea quickly and run it by the customer to get an approval before spending lots of time scratching my art. It also allows me to explore more ideas and this case I emailed the one you see here plus a more serious version without the sign and driver. But you know the French. They love crazy stuff which suits me just fine. The quick turnaround time lets me get right to the scratching. The best kind of client says "I love it. Do it." When I hear that I go into high gear and start scratching while I'm excited about the project. If there is a lot of "input" it tends to slow the process down and too much input turns a fun project into a job. Thankfully, my customers tend to dig my stuff right away. And the scratching begins...

    Once the outline image is transferred to the scratchboard, I scratch the tricky areas first - a face, the wheels, lettering, whatever might cause a drawing to not look right later. That way with the "harder" parts done, I can concentrate on how light shapes an object and I scratch where the light hits first and leave the shadows alone. The above image is nearly complete but lacks the explosion of scratches to show the reflected light coming from the headers behind the wheel. Once done I sign my name trying not to misspell it. After a Paypal transaction, I wrap it up and ship it to its new happy home.

    If you want BOMONSTER to scratch your cool car or bike, email me at bomonster@bomonster.com

  • Proof that BOMONSTER is a Real Artist

    Fine art has its place in the world and my BOMONSTER scratchboard art is not exactly what I would call "fine art." People who thinks it's "fine" happen to like lowbrow, kustom culture, hot rod art and since they like my stuff too I'm happy to just be another lowbrow, kustom culture, hot rod artist. And when Josh Trillegi - the editor of a very fine fine art publication named Bureau Of Arts and Culture Magazine - called to say he wanted to feature my work in his magazine, I had to remind him that my art may not be up to the same level as the title of his magazine would suggest.  He said he decided what goes in his magazine and that my work qualified. Sure enough, he meant it and featured BOMONSTER in the Dec/Jan2015 issue. Here it is:

     

  • BOMONSTER's Scratchboard Secrets Revealed on Old Tin Rods

    Ronnie from Old Tin Rods needed a BOMONSTER original shirt design bad. He had a metal class with Gene Winfield coming up and he wanted to wear something with his shop name. He sent me a picture of his car, told me how he was going to finish it and paid up front. I was so slammed I didn't have time to create a detailed sketch so I emailed him a rough thumbnail sketch. "How about something like this?" I said. "Add a girl and we're good" he said.

    I wish all clients were that trusting. I've always done my best work when a client expects greatness and doesn't tell me how to make it great. Here's what I did...

    I work out the design on paper, scan and then print it out. I transfer just the outline shape to the scratchboard by rubbing the back of the printout with pencil and then redrawing over the lines of the printout. On the scratchboard I scratch just the outline with an Xacto #16 blade and then start adding details like the people's faces. I usually start with the most difficult - and in this case it's the faces. What makes faces difficult for me is one knife scratch width one way or the other and the whole face can look funky. I'd rather get it right early in the scratch so I don't have to worry about it later. Once the hardest part is done I continue scratching where the light hits to define the shapes and edges.

    I could have added his logo over a solid white floor glow but I like adding typography and logos in my hand-scratched style to integrate with the art better. It also looks less "corporate" although this piece did not run that risk. Hahaha. Here's the final...

    If you'd like a BOMONSTER original scratch for your company, email me at bomonster@bomonster.com and let's talk.

  • BOMONSTER Scratches The Atlas Oil Tools Special

    When Keith Brednich wanted crew shirts for his restored 60's era cacklefest dragster rail- the Atlas Oil Tools Special - he wanted a wicked, whacked out, flaming monster of a design and thought of BOMONSTER. I love those old dragsters and I had fun scratching this shirt design for him...

    It was easy to get inspired. He sent me this great photo of his car at speed in the sixties. From there I laid out the design, scanned, printed and then transferred the outlined shape to scratchboard and added the details as I scratched.

    If you'd like a BOMONSTER original for your wall or on the back of your shirt, check out bomonster.com

  • Step-by-Step How BOMONSTER Became Just Another Car Guy

    One of the most widely read blogs in world about cars and things with wheels that are cool is justacarguy.blogspot.com. Jesse, the blog's creator/writer seems to show up at all the shows I do and all the ones I don't because he posts something new nearly every day. He's followed by millions around the world because he's one of the most ripped off bloggers in the world. What he writes on his own blog often turns up word for word, picture for picture, all over the world on other car blogs by people he's never heard of.

     

    So when Jesse asked me if I would scratch out a BOMONSTER original for a new masthead for the most widely read auto blog in the world I jumped all over it. Here's how I did it:

    My art is created on scratchboard – which looks like a piece of Masonite coated with a soft white Claycoat finish and then sprayed with a black India ink. My job is to scrape the black surface with a knife - which reveals the white Claycoat layer underneath. I taped the scratchboard to a drawing board - which I can pivot on my desktop. For this project Jesse sent me the photo of a vintage hot rod roadster at speed. He requested some slight modifications and left the rest to me. I threw his photo into Photoshop and leaned the car forward and enlarged the wheels. Then I Googled some aviator goggles because his photo lacked good detail. I added a light pool with a shadow and printed it out for reference while scratching. Since an Internet blog masthead is a small file I was able to keep the art size relatively small on an 8x10” sized scratchboard. I like to scratch larger pieces like shirt designs onto a 12x16” board for better detail.

    Sometimes I work from my own drawings and sometimes I work from photos where I tweak the perspective and can bend around in Photoshop. Since this was Jesse’s photo, I opted not to tweak it too far. And since my art is scratched with no room for error, I always work out the driver first as people are the trickiest part to get right. I figure at this stage I can always start over if the driver’s face turns out funky. Then I proceed by scratching out the basic outline following a faint graphite tracing. Graphite transfers are created by doing a soft pencil rubbing on the back of the printout and redrawing the basic shape onto the scratchboard. I wear cotton archival gloves to keep the surface free of skin oils – which can resist the Krylon clear coat sprayed on later.

    Many artists can do sheet metal well but bad lettering can bring down the quality of their picture. My challenge was to re-create the “brush-painted-in-hurry” look but not make it look like I can’t do good lettering. I opted to let the scratch marks show to give the feeling of hand painted numbers.

    One of the things that defines my style is a scratchy light effect created by scratching a lot of little wavy lines. It’s a time-consuming process and it’s important not make the length or the line quality too uniform. I just keep scratching until I like the look.

    On one hand black cars are easy because you just leave the board black. On the other hand, light adds life to a rendering so I scratch little “stipple” marks on the top edges to help define the car shape and to give the car body some dimension. Lots of little marks close together intensifies the quality of light. Here I’ve added some slight tire and flying salt detail.

    There are many scratchboard tool sets available online. I can see the value in all the different shapes and sizes but what works for me is one single tool – an Xacto knife with a #16 blade. The point allows me to scratch the fine lines and the flat edge lets me remove a lot of surface material if necessary. I also wrap the tip of the handle with a strip of black duct tape to soften my finger pressure against the harder knife handle surface. As it is, hours and hours of scratching can leave dents on my fingertips for days! I change blades often and will usually go through 7 or 8 blades to create one design.

    Every artist has to answer the question: “When is it done?” I have to be careful not to scratch too much but at the same time know how to create an intricate look. Here I’ve added some flying trails of “energy” behind the driver and the car and I came back to the wavy lines creating the pool of light at the base of the drawing. The left half looks finished because I’ve added stipple marks to the wavy lines and also threw in some longer scratches to look more explosive. The wavy lines on the right need that added touch to finish them off.

    Once finished I then scan and create a digital file for printing. I spray a Krylon non-yellowing clear coating onto the original surface - which removes a lot of smudge marks and evens out the surface. This one was a fairly simple execution and I was able to scratch it out in two hours after spending about an hour of prep time creating the printout. More involved pieces like my shirt designs and poster prints can take 10-12 hours of starting-and-stopping scratching to finish.

    More of my work can be seen on my website at www.bomonster.com or my facebook page: www.facebook.com/theBOMONSTER

  • How BOMONSTER Scratched His Way Into Ol' Skool Rodz Magazine

    The September '13 issue of Ol Skool Rodz is on the stands now and BOMONSTER's original scratchboard design "Keep Your eyes On the Road" is featured on the inside centerfold. It's a '32 Ford hot rod truck with a truck bed full of eyeballs driving across the desert - something you don't see every day. But then, "something you don't see every day" pretty much describes BOMONSTER's art.

    Usually my designs are scratched on black leaving most of the black as the background. This one was a little different in that I scratched away most of the black to a white background. Here's how I did it:

    I start with a piece of scratchboard taped to my drawing board and work flat on a table top. I transfer my design to the scratchboard by rubbing the back of a printout with pencil graphite and then redraw by tracing over the printout onto the scratchboard. Working under a desk lamp helps to see the lines. Around my board I have some reference photos to refer to while I scratch. Usually the first thing I scratch is the driver. People are tricky because one wrong knife scratch can throw off the look of a face, whereas an errant scratch on a car is less noticeable so I like to get the person right before spending a lot of time on the rest of the scratching.

    You can see by the photos here that it's a long process. Before I scratch away the background, I leave a black outline around the subject matter and scratch the background away. I leave some ink strokes which gives the piece a woodcut look. Once finished I scan so I have a digital file to work with later. In this case when the magazine called and wanted to run it, I was able to add color and provide a sized digital file for best clarity.

    I also used the file to create a two color silkscreen print centered on an 11x17 and sized to fit under a standard 11x14 mat. It's silver metallic under black ink on a tan-colored chip board. I printed and signed 50 of them and they are available on my website here:

    http://bomonster.com/store/art-2/silkscreen-posters.html

     

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