Learn About Jaggies (Graph Paper Coloring Activity)

posted in: Notes | 35

bphotoart-learn-about-jaggiesFor Today’s ABCs of Photography, we’re learning about a slang term for pixelization: “jaggies.”  The term refers to how a computer uses square pixels to create diagonal and curved lines.

The more pixels there are in a line, the smoother the line will appear.

And the opposite is true too.

The fewer pixels there are, the more the jagged the line will appear.



See where the term comes from?

Now, for practical applications.  Color by numbers are a good way to understand this concept!

So we’re going to get out a piece of graph paper, and a plain piece of paper.

First, have your child draw a design with curved lines on the plain piece of paper.

Next, put the graph paper over top. If you can’t see the design through the graph paper, tape both sheets up on the window.

Now it’s time for the fun part.  Have your child trace the design onto the graph paper, but with one rule —

They have to follow the straight lines of the graph paper.

Easier said than done, I know.  But just give it a shot.  You may find the end result to be more recognizable than you’d think.

Here’s an example of how this shows up in a digital image that has been resaved at a very low resolution:

Learn About Jaggies With this Graph Paper  Coloring Activity!
Image by Liselotte Brunner from Pixabay.com. Used with permission.



Make sure to check back next week for the next post, where I’ll share an activity for the letter K. You might also enjoy revisiting last week’s activity where we learned about hue.

The ABCs of Photography - An Educational Series for KidsJoin Betsy as she works through the alphabet in this educational series for kids… The ABCs of Photography!  We’ll cover topics from A to Z, with activity ideas for both younger and older kids

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35 Responses

  1. Alli

    What a fun coloring activity for kids! Heck, I’d like to give it a try. I’m sure my main problem will be following the straight graph paper lines. I’ve never thought to do this before.

  2. Angelic Sinova

    How fun! I used to love doing color by numbers as a kid (I actually still enjoy coloring! It’s a great stress reliever.) <3

  3. Aisha Kristine Chong

    Oh wow.. this is actually very fun and interactive to do, haha! Didn’t did this when I was young but I do think its so interesting to do!

  4. Liz Mays

    This is a such a cool way of teaching kids about pixel counts. I remember my son trying to explain the difference between 1080p and 480p to me like this.

  5. Heather

    This is interesting. As a graphic designer, I know the more pixels the better, never thought “jaggies” in terms of art.

  6. Liz Leiro

    This is such a great idea! I used to love tracing with a box light in my calligraphy class. In a pinch, you can use a glass table and a flashlight to create your own back-lit table and make it easier to trace 🙂

  7. Nancy

    Okay so I can’t tell if this is an April Fools joke or not! LOLOL Oh man.

  8. Tammilee Tips

    This is a great way to help kids understand this part of computers!! I never would have thought to use graph paper that way.

  9. Lauren

    What a fun post! I love that this is a great activity for everyone! Thanks for posting!

  10. Mama to 5 BLessings

    I have never heard of Jaggies before! Sounds like a lot of fun to play with!

  11. Pinay Mommy Online

    Now that is the slang term for that! Thanks for sharing. Added a new slang work to my vocabulary!

  12. samantha

    This is sso creative and i love how easy and educational this is to teach kids. This is a great series that you are doing. Looking forward for the next one

  13. Franc Ramon

    It would be nice to color pixelized photos. It may be a creative way to come up with a more artistic one.

  14. Rebecca Swenor

    This is interesting and I love example of how pixels work. I will have to do this with my nieces kids to show them. it was just a couple of years ago that my kids told me what a pixel was. lol Thanks for sharing..

  15. brook

    Wow its an amazing activity for kids.its very intressting.this is a great way to show the creativity.absolulty amazing post.thanx for sharing

  16. Dogvills

    This is a great activity for kids and older ones. I will make sure to do it with my daughter this weekend

  17. Sage

    What a cool idea! I’ll have to keep this in mind for my nieces and nephews.

  18. John Lopez

    What an enriching activity for the little ones. This is really cool!

  19. Ron Leyba

    Great idea! For sure kids will love this. I think I can do it too at home with my daughter and son!

  20. […] Learn About Jaggies (Graph Paper Coloring Activity) – Another post in my ABCs of Photography for kids series, this is a fun and easy coloring exercise that should produce some fun art projects! […]

  21. Sounds fun, love simple and creative ideas to keep kids entertained. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup, pinned to our linkup board.

  22. Betsy Finn

    Heh! Yeah, that wouldve been tricky…put up an April Fool post. But no…this is an actual, albeit slang, term.

  23. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Tammilee!

  24. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Lauren, glad you liked it!

  25. Betsy Finn

    Yes, I thought this was a good activity for kids that familiarizes them with technology in an old school way.

  26. Betsy Finn

    🙂 happy to help broaden your slang vocabulary 😉

  27. Betsy Finn

    Thanks, Samantha!

  28. Betsy Finn

    It’s always fun to create transformative art 🙂

  29. Betsy Finn

    The student becomes the teacher! Glad you liked it!

  30. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Brook 🙂

  31. Betsy Finn

    Hope you had fun!

  32. Betsy Finn

    If you try it, let me know how they like the activity!

  33. Betsy Finn

    Thanks John, glad you liked it!

  34. Betsy Finn

    I hope you all had fun!

  35. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Tanya, I’m enjoying the link up 🙂