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Art Connection
Aim: To introduce and develop skill in using a new medium, scratchboard, and a new technique, etching.

Materials: black scratchboard with solid or multicolored ground underneath; scratch tool (toothpicks, razor blade); drawing paper


  • Show scratchboard and discuss the quality of the surface: the black surface is
    easily scratched to reveal the color beneath it.
  • Discuss and demonstrate the process of "etching". Use linear strokes to create
    form by revealing underlying color.
  • Demonstrate how lines should be placed close together or farther apart depending upon the density of texture that is desired.

  • To create a scratchboard etching
  • To consider the "whole" as a composite of its parts
  • To understand solid form as opposed to diffused form
  • To broaden student's understanding of using light and dark value to create form
  • Create a pencil sketch of a landscape, still life, portrait, etc. on white paper that is the same size as the scratchboard.
  • Lay the pencil drawing on top of the scratchboard and use a ball-point pen to trace over the original drawing. An impression of the drawing will appear on the scratchboard surface.
  • Use either a toothpick - or, if necessary, a single edged razor blade to scratch lines into the black surface to achieve varying tones of lights and darks.

Examples: View our Scratchboard page

Evaluation: Students demonstrate the ability to utilize etching to create form on their scratchboard.

N. Y. S. Arts Learning Standards: This lesson meets the standards for:

  • Visual Arts Standard 1 - Students use the elements and principals of art to communicate specific meaning to others in their artwork.
  • Visual Arts Standard 2 - Students use computer resources to locate and view cultural arts reference materials used to formulate sketch.
  • Visual Arts Standard 3 - Students reflect on, interpret and evaluate artwork, using the language of art criticism.
  • Visual Arts Standard 4 - Students explore art and artifacts from various historical periods and world cultures.


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