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Preview: Heather Ward Wildlife Art

Heather Ward Wildlife Art

Blog of scratchboard wildlife artist Heather Ward. Comments about new and upcoming work, book reviews, and tutorials.

Updated: 2017-02-09T22:19:16.286-07:00


Collecting Fine Art - Part 2


Yesterday I wrote about different places you can go to see art in person. Today I'll go over how to search for art online. As I am sure many of you know, searching the web can be difficult in that you get too many results, unless you know the name of a particular artist you already know and like. So, as an artist, where do I put my artwork? For me, my primary web presence is my website. I also

Collecting Fine Art - Part 1


I was recently asked if I would write a post for beginners on how to go about collecting fine art, from an artist's point of view. Two of the best ways to view art are in person and online. Let me first explore viewing art in person. Seeing art in person involves more than just looking at a painting on a wall. You can see it in all its detail, the texture, the brush strokes, the subtle change of



"Glistening" hippo, 8"x8" scratchboard "Hippopotamus" means "river horse." The fact that hippos spend most of their time in water lends credence to part of that name, but other than being quadrupedal herbivores, I fail to see the resemblance to horses. Hippos belong to the order Artiodactyla, or even-toed ungulates, which also includes deer, sheep, and bison. However, their closest living

Musk Ox


"Arctic Soldiers" 12"x16" scratchboard and ink The musk ox is a phenomenal creature, perfectly adapted to living in the harsh Arctic year-round. Their dense fur traps heat and blocks the wind. Their native range is northern Canada and Greenland, but they have been introduced into parts of Alaska, Russia, and Scandanavia. Musk oxen are part of the Bovidae family, making them related to bison,

Red Phalerope


red phaleropes, 8"x10" scratchboard and ink Phaleropes are shorebirds, related to sandpipers. They eat insects and small crustaceans from shallow waters. About 6-8" long, they spend their summers in the Arctic and migrate to the tip of South America or Africa for winter. In the drawing above, the individual on the left is actually the female. The females have bolder colors, defend territory,

A Return to Blogging


It seems it has been almost a year since I posted anything here. I keep saying, I need to update my blog! I need to write more posts! But somehow, it has not happened. This time, I am determined to get back into it routinely. This being World Wildlife Day, I made a decision. Beginning next week, I will write a weekly post called "Wildlife Wednesday." I will write a post about some uncommon

Portfolio Book


Today I am going to plug my new portfolio book, Scratchboard Artwork of Heather Ward. sample page The 7"x9" book consists of 33 of my best scratchboard drawings, each on its own page, with captions as in the sample page above. It is available from for $24.99 (plus tax if applicable and shipping).

Drawing Local Wildlife


I missed posting last week because I have been so busy preparing for a show. I have one drawing left to do and I hang my work in two weeks. For the past several months, I have been putting together a body of work dedicated to only wildlife local to my area, the Pajarito Plateau in the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico. Choosing to do only local wildlife gives me the opportunity to use my own

Framing Scratchboard Art - Glass or No Glass?


Last week I wrote about sealing a scratchboard with protective spray finish. Now I'd like to cover framing. If you put enough coats of fixative on the board, you can frame without glass. This is a huge plus for me. Glass is heavy and expensive, and if it breaks it will scratch your board up. That being said, you may choose to use glass, and that's fine, too - only make sure that the board does

Fixative Spray for Scratchboard Art


For the past several days, I have apparently been trying to pass (another) kidney stone. I have been taking Vicodin, which makes my head all fuzzy. I can't scratch, because the board looks blurry and my fingers don't work right. So in the absence of any new work to present, I thought I'd take this week's post to talk about framing scratchboards. I have a show coming up next month and I decided to



There are some animals that are hard to get unique references for. I would venture to say that a hippo is one of them. They rarely come out of the water, and when they do, they are usually eating or sleeping (especially zoo hippos). The open-mouthed hippo is also fairly common in photographs and art. So when a hippo at my zoo gave me this photo opportunity, I knew it would become one of my

Scratchboard Iguana


I am a couple days late posting this, because I wanted to make sure this drawing was finished first. This is the most labor-intensive scratchboard I have done to date. Each scale on this iguana, with the exception of the tiny side belly scales, consists of 3-5 strokes of a straight-blade knife. Some have a very light ink wash to darken them, some have an additional stroke of a curved-blade knife

Scratching Large Boards


"The Buck Stops Here" I don't normally work big. Most of my scratchboards so far have been 8"x10" and 9"x12", and I've done a few 5"x7" and 11"x14". This buck is 16"x20". I know you can get scratchboards as large as 24"x36", but I can't imagine working that large (yet)! I chose a large board for this buck because I felt a small board wouldn't do him justice. He used to visit my backyard

Drawing Local Wildlife


I thought I would begin today's post with a video I made last month. In this video I demonstrate how I draw the fine facial feathers of a barred owl. In other news, I am preparing for a show in about two months. I will be concentrating on only local wildlife, so I have been scratching like mad to get enough drawings done in time. Here are a few I have finished so far this month. The warbler

Clayboard and Airbrush


This is the first board I got to try out my new airbrush on. The three photos below should all be the same color, but were taken under different lighting conditions. The last one is the closest to the true color. I started with an 18"x24" Ampersand Claybord, and cut it in half lengthwise using a fine hacksaw blade. Then I sanded down the rough edges, and I had two 9"x24" boards ready to go.

Back After a Long Hiatus


I have been away for far too long. While I have been busy making more scratchboard art, I have neglected this blog. So part of my New Year's resolution is to post here at least once per week. I cannot possibly post all the new work I have done since my last post in April of last year, but here are a few of the most recent ones. To see all my work, please check out my website, or better yet, my

New Honors


The International Society of Scratchboard Artists has three levels of juried membership. In April of last year, I applied and was accepted into their basic membership, called Active. The next level up is Signature, which requires more technical mastery, followed by Master, which requires a resume of promoting scratchboard in addition to great works of art. Jurying into these top two levels

Catching Up


Wow, am I past due for a post! I just realised I haven't put up any of my 2014 work yet, so here they come. Most of these are untitled so far, so I am just captioning with the animal represented. Black Widow, 5"x7" Cattle Egret, 8"x10" Cougar 5"x7" Cougar, 5"x7" Draft Horses, 11"x14" Great Hornbill, 9"x12" Maine Coons, 8"x8" each Peregrine Falcon, 9"x12"

Zoo Babies Logo


Wow, I am so honored to say that my drawing Zoo Babies won the logo for run for the zoo! Here is one of the graphics they made for the event: I have been interviewed for the BioPark's member newsletter, and soon there will be posters, tee shirts, and other merchandise for sale with my drawing on them. I am so excited!

Zoo Babies


This is my first Claybord piece. It comes in at a hefty 24"x18", the largest scratchboard I have done by far. The photo is a little uneven, but you get the idea. This was done as an entry for the 2014 Run for the Zoo logo for the Rio Grande Zoo. I don't know when the winner will be chosen, but I am quite happy with my piece regardless of whether it wins or not. Wish me luck anyway!

Snow King


Ok, I know I haven't updated my blog in a while, but I can't believe I forgot this guy! This is Azeo, the male snow leopard from Albuquerque's Rio Grande Zoo. This scratchboard measures 11"x14" and I finished it earlier this month.

Doe, A Deer


This mule deer doe is my final drawing of 2013, just finished today. There are several of these gals who frequent the canyon behind my house, and one day I noticed them and a young buck in the yard. I grabbed my new camera and started taking pictures - this 8"x10" scratchboard is based on one of the best ones.

Rhinos on Clayboard


This is a piece of the first Claybord ink painting I have tried. I hope to give you an idea of the process I used. The photos vary somewhat in the color and amount of light. I tried to correct what I could, but there is still some variation and for that I apologize. Here is a rhino calf. I used sepia ink and painted blocks of light and shadow areas. Next I used a sandpaper sponge (purchased

Black Cows


Moo! I was driving through the Valles Caldera (NM) trying to find some elk, but only found deer and cows. These black cows were right up next to the fence that late evening. The light was just right.

Tree Hugger


Here is the finished koala piece. I used a variety of different tools for this one, including fiberglass brush, round tattoo needle, and straight and curved knife blades. Prints are available.