Michael Halbert in studio.

About Me, Michael Halbert

I have been working as a commercial artist for forty years. The last thirty six years of that has been as a full-time freelance illustrator. For the first 10 years or so of freelancing, I worked in a variety of styles and mediums, but I gradually narrowed my focus to pen and ink and finally to scratchboard.

For simplicity, I call myself a scratchboard illustrator, but a more accurate name for what I do would be "pen and ink on scratchboard." That's because I don't start with a solid black board like most scratchboard artist. I use white scratchboard and draw on it with pen and ink to build up all detail and values that are roughly less than 50 percent in tone. For areas that will have a tone darker than 50 percent, I fill in solid black with India ink and use a blade to scratch in white lines to add detail and to lighten the value.

I have specialized in scratchboard for about twenty five years now and have worked for a countless list of clients on a variety of assignments. I have done work in editorial, advertising, branding, packaging, and more. Packaging and branding is what I work on most these days.

I live in St. Louis, Missouri, and have lived in Missouri my whole life. However, I rarely work for local clients. Almost all my clients are from other U.S. states or from other countries. The international clients have come with the establishment of the internet. Canada has been very good to me, but I have gotten jobs from around the world.