Shading Lesson Plan

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

This lesson plan will educate your students about shading in art. They will also participate in fun activities and create their own drawings while utilizing proper shading techniques.

Learning Objectives

After studying this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Define some terms associated with shading.
  • Explain how shading is used to enhance a drawing.
  • Name some famous artists that excelled at shading techniques.


1 - 1.5 Hours


  • Colored pencils
  • Internet access
  • Photo of the human eye, one per pair of students
  • Sketch pad paper (books available for a few dollars)
  • Standard #2 pencils
  • Three flashlights with fresh batteries
  • Wooden blocks of varying geometric shapes

Key Vocabulary

  • Contrast
  • Crosshatching
  • Dark
  • Hatching
  • Light
  • Shadows
  • Values

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.


Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

Instructions and Activities

  • Inform your students they are going to be learning about shading techniques.
  • Ask them if anyone is familiar with the concept.
  • Review the key vocabulary terms.

Activity One

Part I

  1. Explain to your students they will be creating their very own drawings utilizing both hatching and crosshatching techniques.
  2. Divide your students into pairs.
  3. Pass out colored pencils and two sheets of sketch pad paper to each student.
  4. Inform your students:
    • Today you are going to be drawing pictures of your left hand.
    • In the first picture, you will shade the hand using the hatching technique (drawing many sets of parallel lines.)
    • In the second picture, you will shade the hand using the crosshatching technique (drawing many sets of parallel lines that intersect one another.)
    • You can vary the shading in three ways. You can make the lines thinner or thicker, you can space the lines closer or farther apart, and you can draw the lines darker or lighter.

Part II

  1. Inform your students they are going to be drawing photos of variously shaped wooden blocks.
  2. Keep your students in pairs. Tell them:
    • You can continue to use colored pencils for this exercise.
    • Try to use contrast as you draw. This is arranging the light and dark colors and the small and large shapes in a visually pleasing manner.
    • Also add value to your works. In other words, there are many gray shades between light and dark.
  3. Hand out another sheet of sketch pad paper for each student.
  4. Place the wooden blocks at the front of the room.
  5. Place a flashlight in front of the blocks to create shadows.
  6. Turn off the lights.
  7. If your room is too dark, turn on two more flashlights and shine them away from the wooden blocks for extra light.

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