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Cross-hatch Shading

Explore the artwork of Rembrandt and observe the mastery of his cross-hatching technique. Students add color to this technique in a drawing of their own!

  • Grade 6
    Grades 7 and 8
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Shading is an effective way to add elements of depth and realism to any drawing. Cross-hatching, or shading with lines, is a great technique to accomplish this while adding movement to a drawing. An artist that mastered this technique is Rembrandt van Rijn.
    2. Show students examples of Rembrandt’s famous etchings. Take notice of his use of lines for shading. How does he use the cross-hatching technique to darken certain areas of the drawing? How does the variety of values enhance the realism of the image?
    3. On a piece of construction paper, students practice creating different values with the cross-hatching technique using Crayola® Colored Pencils. To cross-hatch, fill an area with closely-spaced parallel lines. Cross over those marks with lines drawn in the opposite direction to darken the value. Experiment with different colors to find which are most effective.
    4. Students create their own masterpiece using the cross-hatching technique, just as Rembrandt did! Use Rembrandt’s artwork for inspiration. He often illustrated important events, people, and even self-portraits. Students select the subject for their drawing based on these themes.
    5. On a fresh piece of construction paper, lightly sketch the drawing. Add layers of detail and depth to the drawing. Remember to use the cross-hatching technique! Use one color in the drawing, like Rembrandt did, or liven it up with a variety of Colored Pencils!
    6. Frame the drawing by mounting it on a piece of dark-colored paper and display the masterpieces in the classroom.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Generalize about the effects of visual structures and functions and reflect upon these in their own work.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

  • Adaptations

    Students prepare an electronic presentation including samples of Rembrandt's work that illustrates the cross-hatching technique. Upload this presentation to a class computer for viewing.

    Pair students. Each student sketches the portrait of his partner and practices the cross-hatching technique.

    Rembrandt lived from 1606-1669. Students investigate the time period and uncover what daily life was like in Europe for Rembrandt. Organize research into an electronic presentation and upload it to a class computer for class viewing.

    Many artists studied under Rembrandt. Investigate an artist that learned technique from Rembrandt.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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