Featured Artist Ann Ranlett

Enjoy the wonderfully detailed and beautifully rendered scratchboard art of Ann Ranlett.  Her love for the animal subjects in her art is evident–they are imbued with personality and character.  To see more of Ann’s artwork, please visit her website.


Call of the Prairie

“Call of the Prairie” Black Scratchboard and Colored Ink, 5″ x 7″


Animals and nature inspire me and I call myself a “bio-nerd.” I have a BS in Biology and I love science. I’ve been drawing animals since I could hold a crayon and I’m grateful to my parents for encouraging both my love of animals and my artistic endeavors. Pets are a major source of reference for my work, and I enjoy creating commissions also. I understand the bond we have with our animals, so it’s easy for me to connect on that level with my clients.


Sleeping Patterns

“Sleeping Patterns” Black Scratchboard and Colored Ink, Diptych, 8″ x 16″


Most of my art featuring domesticated animals comes from those I have met and photographed. There’s just no substitute for meeting (or at least observing) an animal on its own turf and getting to know it, if even for a short time.


Bright Future

“Bright Future” Black Scratchboard and Colored Ink, 6″ x 6″ (from rescue photo)


Quite a few of my reference photos come from local animal rescues that I support; I either take the photos myself, or use those provided by the rescues. In appreciation of this resource, when an original work based on one of their animals sells, I donate a percentage to the organization. It’s very important to me to give back in this way and they are also happy to promote my work, so we both benefit.


“Kilimanjaro” White Scratchboard and Colored Ink, 5″ x 7″

“Kilimanjaro” White Scratchboard and Colored Ink, 5″ x 7″


I work in a variety of media (watercolor, graphite pencil, color pencil, and a mix of ink/watercolor/color pencil), but scratchboard is my go-to surface and I’ve been using it for the bulk of my work the last few years.


Grassland Grace

“Grassland Grace” Black Scratchboard and Colored Ink, 5″ x 5″


It’s an under-represented medium, and I don’t feel that it gets the respect that it deserves, so it’s a natural for an ArtsyShark feature! I’m honored to be a Signature member (SSA) of the International Society of Scratchboard Artists and I truly enjoy sharing my excitement over the medium with others.


Beginning Line Dancing

“Beginning Line Dancing” Black Scratchboard and Colored Ink, 6″ x 6″


Honestly, when I discovered scratchboard at a workshop at an illustrator’s conference in the late ‘90’s, it was a “light bulb moment!” The amount of detail the surface allows is amazing, yet a good quality board is also forgiving; a board can be re-inked and re-scratched to allow even more detail.  (I use Ampersand’s Scratchbord & Claybord products.)


Ann Ranlett

Ann Ranlett


I love the process of rendering texture and tone with strokes of a knife. A #16 X-Acto blade is my tool of choice, although I’ll employ other tools as needed. Anything that will scratch the surface is worth trying or using, depending on the effect I want.



“Magpie” White Scratchboard, 8″ x 10″


Some of my work remains black and white, while other drawings are colored. I add the color using colored inks after completing the majority of the scratching. Sometimes, I don’t want an all-black surface as a starting point, so I’ll use a white board (Claybord) and put the ink or color where I choose and then start the scratching process.

Ann invites you to follow her on Facebook.


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  1. Your work is stunning Ann, and the expressions are mesmerizing! These wonderful creatures come to life in your art.

  2. I just love scratchboard…you are very skilled at it and I can feel your love of animals in your work…just beautiful!!!

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