EXPLORING CRAYONS – Gradation, Sgraffito

Students explore colour mixing, gradation and sgraffito techniques using wax crayons.

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EXPLORING CRAYONS – Gradation, Sgraffito


  • Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Crayola Crayons - 24 count
  • Rulers
  • Pencils
  • Toothpicks
  • Tissues


Step 1
  1. Divide your paper into a grid.
  2. Use the width of your ruler for the width of each box.
  3. Colour the outside box in the bottom row blue.
  4. Continue to fill in each box in that row.
  5. Change the pressure so the colour gradually goes from dark to light.
  6. This is called gradation.
Step 2
  1. Repeat the same thing in the next row.
  2. Once the blue is done, apply yellow on top of the blue.
  3. Notice what happens to the colour.
  4. Continue in this way choosing colours that you like to work with.
  5. Fill 6 rows of colour.
  6. Next add a thin strip of colour on either side of the rows.
  7. See what happens when you colour a contrasting colour on top of the original colour.
Step 3
  1. In the last row add a different colour in each box.
  2. Press very hard so the colour is thick and bright.
  3. Try layering contrasting colours.
Step 4
  1. Now start adding thin strips on either side of each row like you did before.
  2. Use colours that you like to work with.
  3. Notice what happens as the same colour mixes with each new colour.
  4. Let the colour flow out the top of the grid in some interesting way.
  5. This will help you to remember what colour is on top of each row.
Step 5
  1. Use a black crayon to draw a line halfway along the top row – the last row you coloured.
  2. Colout the new shape black.
  3. Colour right over top of the other colours.
  4. Press hard so you get a smooth, dark black layer.
Step 6
  1. Tape a toothpick to the end of a marker to make a scratch tool.
  2. This will make it easier to draw with.
  3. Use the toothpick to scratch lines into the black crayon.
  4. This technique is called sgraffito.
  5. You can polish the finished drawing by rubbing it lightly with a tissue.
Step 7
  1. View your drawing with fresh eyes.
    - What do you like best about your finished drawing? Why?
    - What more would you like to learn about drawing with crayons?
Illustrated Crayon Character