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Painting Techiques: Sgraffito

Sgraffito is a painting technique where the artist scratches into the top layer of the paint to reveal areas of the surface underneath.

This method is best suited for oil paint as the paint stay wet longer, but acrylic paint mixed with a retarder can also be used.

The images is build up by applying thick layers of paint, and then use a blunt tool to scratch into the top layer to reveal the white background surface or another colour underneath.

The background can be painted simply white or monotone colour, or a variation of colours and patterns can be created as a painting surface. For a more complex pattern, a third layer of paint in a different colour can be applied on top and then scratched into again to reveal both layers underneath.

Acrylic Texture No16 You can use a combination of brushes, painting knifes, needles and brush handles to create the different marks and textures depending on the effects and lines and patterns you require.

The tool you use should not be too sharp so you avoid cutting through the paper or scratch the underlying paint.

More information and examples about this technique can be found in our Acrylic Texture Gallery.

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