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All Things Ampersand

Getting Started with Aquabord

When using watercolor, you have a couple of choices with Ampersand’s panels.  If you are a traditional watercolorist or gouache painter who uses very wet washes, try Aquabord. It behaves more like cold press watercolor paper and is more absorbent than Claybord. However, if you’re familiar working with watercolors or gouache on hot press paper to achieve high level detail, you may find working with Claybord very exciting. Our “product selection guide” is also a good resource for choosing the right panel.
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Scratchbord Basics

Ampersand Scratchbord has a smooth, absorbent kaolin clay ground evenly coated with black India ink. Scratch the black ink away with ease and control to crisp white fluid lines.
Backed with Ampersand’s true artist hardboard, Scratchbord will not tear, crack or bend like other paper scratchboards and can be sealed with spray fixative to eliminate fingerprints for perfect glass-free presentation.  Continue reading >>

Gessobord Basics

Museum Series Gessobord™ is the most trusted pre-gessoed wood panel by artists for their work. The coating is 88% thicker than other gessoed panels on the market. The superior quality acrylic gesso ground does not dull colors, and the wonderful lightly sanded surface provides exceptional brush control. Continue reading >>

Claybord Basics

Claybord™ is made using 1/8″ true artist hardboard and features Ampersand’s amazing kaolin clay ground formula similar in paintability to the clay gesso grounds used during the Renaissance. The surface is sanded to an ultra-smooth, highly absorbent finish so your paint colors remain true and brilliant.

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Pastelbord Basics

Pastelbord™ is one of our absorbent textured surfaces, created for endless layering with soft pastel, oil pastel or colored pencil artists in mind.  Pastelbord is a clay and gesso coated hardboard panel with a granular marble dust finish comparable to a sanded pastel paper except more durable and more versatile.  It can be used with a combination of wet and dry media.  

An underpainting or wash can be applied to the entire surface with acrylic or watercolor before working pastel onto the surface. Blending with water or solvent, an artist can create layers of color for a deep, rich finish.  Water will not make Pastelbord rip or buckle, so you can use a damp cloth to blot away pastel marks to completely rework the image.   

Artist Ken Muenzenmayer has found Pastelbord to be one of his favorite surfaces for acrylic painting because the texture holds a long open time.  He finds that he can get rich, glowing color on Pastelbord that surpasses any other surface.

For more techniques on using Pastelbord, take a peek at our YouTube Channel.  Artist Kendra Ferreira shares her blending techniques with colored pencil and watercolor pencil on Pastelbord to get rich color underpainting.  




Pastelbord is not available in cradled panels as pastels need to be framed under glass for the most protection.  However, Pastelbord does come in four colors:  grey, green, sand and white and a variety of sizes.  


All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.