Tints and shades

Levels 3-6

Discover how artist Grace Crowley uses different tones to express highlights and shadows in her artwork Girl with goats, then have a go at painting your own tints and shades and use them to create a still life collage.

Learning objectives

  • Define tints and shades and identify them in artworks
  • Describe how tints and shades can be used to create depth and shadow
  • Experiment with mixing paints to create tints and shades of a base colour
  • Create a still life collage which captures highlights and shadows

Workshop instructions

Resources & materials

  • An object
  • 5 sheets of white A4 paper
  • A piece of A4 card (can be coloured)
  • A graphite pencil
  • A glue stick
  • Your chosen colour of paint
  • White paint and black paint
  • A brush or roller
  • Palette


  1. Create different tints and shades of a colour of your choice:
    • First paint an A4 sheet with your pure colour.
    • Next, create a tint of the blue by adding some white paint to the coloured paint, blend and apply it to a fresh sheet of A4 paper.
    • Repeat this with even more white paint for an even lighter tint.
    • Then repeat for shades, following the same steps as for tints, but using black paint instead of white.
    • Let all the pages dry
  2. Set your object in a position that has some interesting lighting, so there are highlights and shadows.
  3. Sketch a rough outline of your object onto your A4 paper. Make sure you fill the page with your drawing. You might like to sketch in obvious highlights and dark shadows too, this will help you collage later.
  4. Look at your object:
    • Find the darkest areas & rip your darkest piece of painted paper into their shapes. Now glue them onto your sketch in these areas.
    • Now repeat for the slightly less dark shadows with the medium shade.
    • Now repeat for the mid-toned areas with the pure colour.
    • Lastly, look for the highlights and rip up the tints to stick down.