High School Scratch Art Lesson

Scratch Board Project

My High school art reviewed rule of thirds (composition) & basic scratch art or scratch board techniques. They then drew out their compositions on paper & transferred them to the scratch art paper. I could not be any prouder of them-the results were beautiful!! This project can be done with upper elementary, middle or high school art.

Supplies: Scratch Art Black Coated Scratchboards 8 1/2 in. x 11 in. pack of 10 10 point, Scrapper Tool Set 4/Pkg.


• Students will learn the art medium called scratch art is a subtractive process of drawing.
• They will learn scratch art techniques to create various values and textures using hatching, cross-hatching & stippling.
• They will create a representational drawing that develops two-dimensional shapes to appear three-dimensional.



  1.  Value is the lightness or darkness of a color
  2. Each color has a gray value matching it. Some colors almost look black.
  3.  One purpose of value is to give the illusion of depth-to make a 2D object LOOK like it is 3D
  4. Adding transitional Values is called SHADING
  5.  The MOST Important thing to know when shading is…Where is the LIGHT SOURCE coming from!
  6.  Types of Shading through LINE. (In DRAWING)
    Gradation: Create value changes by using blended tones

    1. Hatching: Creating value by using a series of parallel lines. The CLOSER the lines are together, the DARKER the value
    2. Cross-Hatching: Creating value by using 2 or more intersecting sets of parallel lines. The CLOSER the lines are together, the DARKER the value
    3. Squiggly Lines: Creating value by using squiggly or irregular lines. The CLOSER the lines are together, the DARKER the value
    4. Stippling: Creating value by using a series of DOTS. The closer the dots are together, the darker the value
  7. Creating Value on Round Surfaces. Lines should FOLLOW THE CURVATURE or contour of the object.


  1.  Scratch board (Art)– Scratch Art is a graphic technique. It is used to create value drawings. Scratch board is a paper board that is covered with wax, clay, or gesso and coated on top with black ink.
  2. How does it work?
    1. The scratchboard surface starts out solid black. When you scratch or “etch” the surface (black ink) using scratch tools you reveal the board beneath leaving a white mark.
    2. This is the opposite of process of drawing because instead of laying down a dark value or line, you are scratching the drawing with the “reverse” light.
    3. Etching is with a pencil or pen because you are actually drawing with the “reverse” or with light. You are etching away the black, inked surface to show where the light hits the object(s). Each time you scratch the surface of the paper, the white shows through so you are actually building up the different values of light.
      d. You must plan carefully for where you will etch the light out.
    4. This process is called SUBTRACTIVE.
    5. This technique is similar to drawing with white pencil over a black paper.
  3. Scratch board Tools:
    a. Exacto Knife- to scratch
    b. Engraver Art Scratch tools
  4. Scratch board Techniques:
    You can use a variety of strokes as you scratch. Depending on the object that you are working on – you should use different value techniques to show texture of this particular object.

    1. NEVER SCRATCH THE WHOLE OUTLINE THE DRAWING!!! Outlines ruin a feathered or furry edge!
    2. Always keep a piece of paper under your hand while scratching.
    3. Don’t touch the surface of the scratch board with your fingers-they are oily & this may prevent scratching from happening.
    4. As a general guideline – USE SMALL STROKES!!!! Smaller strokes are easier to control the scratching process.
    5.  Step back and examine your piece from a distance to see if you are getting the value ranges you desire.
  5. 3 Main Scratch Art Techniques:
    1.  Hatching: Creating value by using a series of parallel lines. You can vary the brightness and width of the lines or hatching by varying the pressure of your tool. Lines thinner than a hair are possible with a sharp instrument and very little pressure. Using the sharp edge of an X-Acto blade perpendicular to the direction of a line results in a broad line. The closer the line are together, the LIGHTER the value.
    2. Cross-hatching: Creating value by using a series of criss-cross or intersecting lines The closer the lines are together, the LIGHTER the value. Rough textures and tones can be achieved with random cross-hatching and very tiny strokes. Cross-hatching over stippling can give more precise values. Start with stippling over an area; then add highlights and shading by cross-hatching.
    3. Stippling: Creating value by using a series of DOTS. Stippling is created by poking at the surface with the tip of a X-Acto blade. Varying the pressure and angle of the blade will change the size of the dots and also the thickness of the dots. The closer the dots are together, the LIGHTER the value. Leaving areas blank results in black.
  6. When creating texture with scratch art- Important Things to Look at:
    1. Type of Line: straight or curved
    2. Line Direction: up, down, diagonal.
    3. Line Length: short or long
  7. Time Lapse Video of Scratchboard Wolf:

Activity: Practice

high school scratcharthigh school scratchart

  1. Use the straight scratch knife or an Exacto knife. Hold it as you would a pencil. This tool makes thin lines or stipples.
  2. Using small movements & gentle pressure, stroke across the scratchboard, you may need to alter the position of the blade to effectively scratch the surface off. Use very little pressure so you just scratch off the top layer of black and don’t cut through to the cardboard underneath.
  3. Practice drawing lines with different characteristics:
    Thin sketchy lines going in the same direction-hatching
    • Bold lines (lay tool on its side to scratch more surface off)
    • Short, curved lines to show fur
    • Long, curved and straight lines to show wood texture
    • Cross-hatched lines to show shading
    • Stippling


Project Objective: Create an original scratchboard drawing of a furry or feathery animal or bird. Drawing should be realistic and accurately drawn. Use hatching, cross-hatching and stippling to realistically scratch a full range of values into the scratchboard.


  1. Find a copy-right free image or take a picture of a furry or feathery animal or bird. (See Details Below)
  2. Draw contour line drawing of your idea onto a sheet of 8.5×11″ white paper.
  3. Transfer it onto the scratch board by covering the back of the paper in white chalk, then tape it on top of the scratch board & trace over your lines. DO NOT REMOVE PAPER (it will protect the black surface while storing your project)!
  4. Begin to scratch away your LIGHT VALUES. Shade using hatching, cross hatching & stippling (stippling can be used to add just a little light-great for noses).
  5. Drawings should show a full range of values & textures

Find or Take the Picture

  1. Find a copy-right free image. In Google->Images, turn on “Labeled for Reuse”.
  2. Take Picture->Open the Camera
  3. Take a close-up picture of your cupcake that fills most of the screen. Have very little negative space. It can go off the “page” and its ok to cut off part of the bottom (wrapper). It can also be off-center (more interesting).

Editing the Picture

  1. Go to Photos App and select the photo you want to use.
  2. “Edit” the photo: crop to 8:10 or 4:5 ratio if Vertical & 10:8 or 5:4 if Horizontal
  3. Click on filters and select either Noir or Mono.
  4. Make any other “contrast, brightness or shadows” editing you’d like to make.
  5. Click DONE.

Place a Grid on the Picture

  1. Open Safari, type in
  2. Click on Step 1: Upload & Click on photo library. Select your photo.
  3. Click on the Step 5: Grid button
  4. Uncheck the box “Keep Boxes Square”
  5. Change the Grid Dimension to: 2×2
    1. Horizontal= 2
    2. Vertical= 2
    3. If you want to change the Line Style, do so.
    4. Apply Grid
    5. Download: When it opens in a new browser window, hold your finger on the picture and click “Save Image”.
  6. Re-open Photos App & Click on the “share” button .
  7. Click on Print

Student Artwork 2020

If you choose to use this lesson, please reference back to Create Art with ME

*Affliate Links– I only link products I use and love!

  1. Daryl
  2. Annie Purvis

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