Value can be integral to many drawings and paintings. The process of teaching children how to apply value or shading to their art takes time. Some children will understand and apply it to their work immediately. Most children need explicit teaching and many opportunities to understand and apply it.

When making sense of this concept children are naturally inclined to shade in sections. This is a great starting point. When working with lead or coloured pencils I instruct children to shade in strips either increasing the pressure or decreasing it as they progress. This removes the need for children to try to incorporate the additional skill of gradation, which is the technique of gradually transitioning for one shade to another. The same can be applied with painting hues.  


During a recent lesson children were provided with a template obtained from and were required to shade it using pencil.

This shading exercise was completed by a 10 year old with no previous art tuition. The template provided a scaffold for the student to learn how increasing pressure produces darker values and contributes to shaping.  She also used directional shading for the last four sections to suggest roundness.

Here a 7 year old who has been attending classes for about a year shows her understanding of the process of shading and using direction to suggest shape.

Precision and increased pressure from section to section is demonstrated by this 10 year old who concentrated only on value and used directional shading only for the shadow.


During this task students were required to draw an animal of their choice and then divide the page including the animal into sections. Once satisfied with the sections they needed to shade each section showing a variety of values using coloured pencil. The aim was to produced camouflaged animal.

This piece is by the 7 year old from the earlier pencil example.

Here another student has camouflaged a fish.

Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    Daren (Saturday, 04 April 2015 05:32)

    Your art rocks

  • #2

    Rose (Sunday, 05 April 2015 08:14)

    Thanks for taking the time to look at the website. I will be posting more art from Term 1 soon.


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