The scrimshaw technique consists of making very small scratches, dot or lines on the material used with a very fine needle, it is very similar to the method a tattoo artist uses for that medium. The artist then applies ink or oil paint which is only absorbed by the lines or scratched up area.
Most people work on light surfaces such as ivory, this is the traditional method of scrimshaw. What Gaetan has popularized is the method of reverse scrimshaw - done on dark surfaces. The challenge is contrary to most artistic training, in essence the artist must now think in reverse on a dark surface. When working on a black background the effect is to make the subject burst out of the dark, while on a white background they tend to be manipulating or working with the shadows.
Gaetan prefers to begin the scrimshaw process by first doing the subjects eyes. This is what really gives a lifelike quality to the work, a good example of this is a wolves eyes eerily following you when moving around the piece. This is a more difficult way to do it but it is also results in a magnificent piece of art!
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