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How to Color a Turkey, Sgraffito style

Here’s how to color a turkey, and end up with a very cool looking work of art. Sgraffito is the art of scratching color away to reveal something underneath.

The idea is to draw a turkey, trace it with a black marker to make the lines stand out, color it well, cover all with a black pastel, and then scratch away to the bottom art. It really is like making your own scratch art paper. I must warn you that it can get messy with all those shavings, but my students LOVED this process.



  1. It’s always ideal to have students draw their own turkey, but if you have young ones, or are short on time, print my sample turkey on heavy paper for each student.
  2. The drawing is traced with a thick black marker to keep the definition of the turkey.
  3. Students color their turkey heavily with oil pastels. NO light coloring as you would do with crayons. This needs to be THICK with no white paper showing through.
  4. Now, a black oil pastel is used to color over ALL of the art. Again, very heavily. The goal is a black sheet of paper.
  5. Finally, the fun part. Take a stick and start scratching away. Younger students will have fun just revealing the image. Older ones can plan their scratches a bit more and have them go in different directions. Enhancing the feathers, making grass, that sort of thing.


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