Rope Knot Reversal Drawing: White on Black: Middle School or High School Drawing

Rope Knot Reversal Drawing: White on Black: Middle School or High School Drawing

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Rope knots are a great way to teach contour lines, value/shading, and texture! After all, ropes are made of contour lines and texture! But looking at a rope knot can be confusing! Where are all those lines going!? This lesson breaks down a rope knot with differentiated worksheets that makes this lesson easy to teach, but more importantly easy to learn!


  • 4 Page Lesson Plan with National Standards for grades 6-12; Big ideas, Essential questions, Goals and Objectives, Instructional Materials, Supplies, and detailed process. Also included are Resource links and vocabulary. Word & PDF
  • 21-page editable powerpoint & PDF
  • Editable Word Student Self-Evaluation & PDF
  • Fully narrated video of the entire rope drawing process using the Grid Method
  • Knot Reference Worksheet Packet: Three methods provided: Observation, How-to-draw steps, and Grid method
  • Practice Grid Method Worksheet
  • Written Critique Sheets PDF

Key Learning:

  • Draw a reverse value scale from 8 (Black surface) to White (Charcoal or colored pencil)
  • Draw a circle on a piece of black paper and then shade the circle until it appears to be a sphere.
  • Draw contour lines of a rope knot using either the grid method, observation, or steps.
  • Create the illusion of a 3D rope knot using white-on-black drawing techniques and blending.
  • Create the illusion of texture in their drawing
  • Demonstrated smooth blending from dark to light



Contour Lines: A contour line defines the outline of a form, as well as interior structure, without the use of shading.

Texture: The surface quality that can be seen or felt. Actual texture can be felt, implied texture is seen.

Value: The relationship between light and dark. Change of value can be seen in high, low and medium contrast areas.

Shape: A closed line. Shapes can be geometric, like squares and rectangles, or organic, like free-formed shapes or natural shapes. Shapes are flat and can express length and width.

Form: Three-dimensional shapes, expressing length, width, depth. Balls, Cylinders and Boxes are examples of forms.

National Visual Arts Standards:

High School:

Grades 9-12, VA:Cr1.1.HSI Use multiple approaches to begin creative endeavors.

Grades 9-12, VA:Cn10.1.HSI: Document the process of developing ideas from early stages to fully elaborated ideas.

Grades 9-12, VA:Re9.1.HSIII: Construct evaluations of a work of art or collection of works based on differing sets of criteria.

Middle School:

Grade 6, VA:Cr2.1.6: Demonstrate openness in trying new ideas, materials, methods, and approaches in making works of art and design.

Grade 7, VA:Cr1.2.7: Develop criteria to guide making a work of art or design to meet an identified goal.

Grade 7, VA:Cr2.1.7: Demonstrate persistence in developing skills with various materials, methods, and approaches in creating works of art or design.

Grade 8, VA:Cr1.2.8: Collaboratively shape an artistic investigation of an aspect of present-day life using a contemporary practice of art and design.

Grade 8, VA:Cr2.1.8: Demonstrate willingness to experiment, innovate, and take risks to pursue ideas, forms, and meanings that emerge in the process of art-making or designing.

I have taught at the secondary level at an extremely large, public high school and have used this lesson with my beginning art students. It is the perfect way to introduce students to the contour line, value, composition and more.

See more drawing lessons here:

Portrait Drawing

Oil Pastel Drawing


See more drawing worksheets here:

Value Worksheets

Line Worksheets

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