Kent Barton

  1. narrative
  2. vignettes
  3. bio
  4. work process

Kent Barton is a scholarship-honor graduate of the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, (now MIAD). After graduation he became Art Director of Ave Maria Magazine, published weekly at Notre Dame University. Moving to New York City, he Art Directed Newsweek magazine’s Special Projects Division for several years. He freelanced in South Florida, then became a designer and illustrator for the Miami Herald. As Chief Artist at the Herald he tripled the size of the Art Department while directing all graphics and illustration for 30 sections and editions of the newspaper. His scratchboard illustrations won numerous awards and were nationally syndicated by News America Syndicate. In the 80’s he Art Directed Sunshine Magazine, the Sunday magazine of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

        In the 90’s Barton moved to the Georgia Mountains as a full-time scratchboard illustrator. His art appeared in every Graphis Annual for eight years and has been featured in Communication Arts, American Illustration, and Society of Illustrators annuals as well as several books on scratchboard technique. He earned two Silver Awards from the Society of Newspaper Designers and two merit awards from the Art Directors Club of New York. In 1995 Barton’s artwork for Partnership For a Drug Free America garnered a medal in “The One Show.” Barton also received two Addy Awards from the Advertising Federation of America for illustrations used as promotions by Pepsi. In 2003 Barton completed life size figures of the Wright Brothers for an interactive exhibit in the Wright Dunbar Interpretive Center. He was  commissioned that same year to illustrate portraits of sports figures permanently displayed as metal plaques in the University of Oregon football stadium. In 2005 and 2007 he executed several murals for Liberty Pointe Bank that were installed in Manhattan and New Jersey. In 2017-18 he collaborated with fellow scratchboard artist Bruce Hutchinson on a series of large murals for the Texas Historical Commission, depicting the settlement of San Felipe. The San Felipe de Austin Museum opened in May, 2018. Barton currently lives and works in Virginia.    

Client List

The New Yorker
The Wall Street Journal
Reader’s Digest
The L.A. Times
Crain’s Chicago Business
The Weekly Standard
Pepsi Co.
The Franklin Mint
Saatchi and Saatchi
Parker Brothers
Clorox Inc. / Burt’s Bees
Leftie Wine Co.

Once I have gathered all my visual reference I begin sketches. For portraits, spots, or single element drawings I sometimes do several studies. For larger pieces, like a montage or mural, there are several layers of tissue as I change sizes and move elements around. Once I have a composition I like I draw up a tighter final tissue, often taping separate tissues together. I try to resolve as much as possible at the final pencil stage, as scratchboard is not easy to change or correct.

If the drawing is in color, the black or sepia line work becomes the foundation for the color. I apply acrylic washes directly over the line work in the clay surface after spraying it lightly with fixative. Usually color work is sealed with a final wash of clear acrylic.

back to top