Ged reached out his hands, dropping his staff, and took hold of his shadow, of the blak self that reached out to him. Light and darkness met, and joined, and were one.

A Wizard of Earthsea
By Ursula Le Guin

Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills (Grade 8 and 9)

Visual Literacy: The student will interpret, evaluate, and compose visual messages.

Standard 1: Interpret Meaning - The student will interpret and evaluate the various ways visual image-makers including graphic artists, illustrators, and news photographers represent meaning.

Standard 3: Compose Visual Messages - The student will create a visual message that effectively communicates an idea.

Reading/Literature: The student will apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, appreciate, and respond to a wide variety of texts. Participate productively in self-directed work teams to create observable products.

Standard 4: Literature - The student will read, construct meaning, and respond to a wide variety of literary forms. Read and respond to grade-level-appropriate historically or culturally significant works of literature that reflect and enhance a study of history and social science. Clarify the ideas and connect them to other literary works. Participate in self-directed work teams to create observable products.

Visual Arts

Standard 2: Visual Art History and Culture - The student will recognize the development of visual art from an historical and cultural perspective.

Standard 3: Visual Art Expression - The student will observe, select, and utilize a variety of ideas and subject matter in creating original works of art.


  • Etching - Engracing is putting a design onto a hard, flat surface, by carving into it.
  • Crosshatching - Crosshatching is an extension of hatching, which uses is the use of fine parallel lines drawn closely together, to create the illusion of shade or texture in a drawing. Crosshatching is the drawing of two layers of hatching at right-angles to create a mesh-like pattern. Multiple layers in varying directions can be used to create textures. Crosshatching is often used to create tonal effects, by varying the spacing of lines or by adding additional layers of lines.


Before you begin, do an Internet search or look in your library for information about etching. Look at examples of different types etching including copper and crayon.


What you will need:

  • An old CD, DVD, or computer disc
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Scratching or engraving tool (stylus, specimen pick, old ball point pen, unbent paper clip, straight pin, Exacto knife)

What you will do:

  1. Completely cover the shiny side of the disc with a layer of acrylic paint. Any color will do but dark colors work better. Black works best. Let dry completely (at least two days to prevent peeling during the process). You may want to paint several discs so you will have more than one prepared for the etching.
  2. Trace around a CD on a blank piece of paper. Use this as a template for planning your design. Try to come up with a design that goes all around the CD. Snakes, vines, dragons, or abstract lines are good choices.
  3. As you plan, keep in mind that the drawing will be reversed: what you scratch away will be bright, what you leave will be dark. Try to think of yourself drawing the light instead of the shadows. Strive for a balance between the light and the dark, with equal amounts of each.
  4. Practice hatching and crosshatching techniques to create tone and texture with lines.
  5. Lightly draw or trace your design onto the painted CD. Don’t press too hard with your pencil; you do not want to scratch the paint on this step.
  6. Using you scratching tool, scribe your design onto the CD by carefully scratching away the paint.

Student Variations

  • Instead of shapes, use words or phrases to make the design. Scribe your favorite poem, song lyrics, original writing, or excerpt from A Wizard of Earthsea in a spiral pattern around the CD.
  • Try the technique on other smooth, hard surfaces such as glass, mirror, stone, or coated paper.

Teacher Variations

  • If this is a classroom project, decide upon a unifying theme (such as A Wizard of Earthsea) and display all the finished pieces together in a single installation.
  • Use the concept of adding light to the darkness as a writing prompt, ask students to discuss in an essay the relative merits of optimism and pessimism, positivity and negativity.