Crosshatching a lighter shadow

Before we advance to the next drawing, your self-portrait, I want to show you how to "crosshatch." This is a technical term for creating a variety of tones or values in a drawing by laying down a sort of "carpet" of pencil strokes, often crossing the strokes at angles. Figure 10-14 is an example of a tonal drawing built almost entirely of crosshatches. I'll also review the proportions of the head in frontal view and in three-quarter view.

In former years, I thought that crosshatching was a natural activity, not requiring teaching. Apparently, this is not the case. The technique must be taught and must be learned. In fact, I now believe that the ability to Crosshatch is a mark of a trained artist. If you glance through this book at the many reproductions, you will see that almost every drawing has some area of hatching. You will also notice that crosshatching has almost as many forms as there are artists to use them. Each artist, it seems, develops a personal style of hatching, almost a "signature," and, very quickly, so will you.

At this point, I will show you the technique and a few of the traditional styles of hatching. You will need paper and a carefully sharpened pencil.

1. Hold your pencil firmly and make a group of parallel marks, called a "set" (shown in Figure 10-15), by placing the pencil point down firmly, fingers extended. Swing off each mark by moving the whole hand from the wrist. The wrist remains stationary and the fingers pull the pencil back just a bit for each successive hatch. When you have finished one "set" of eight to ten hatch marks, move your hand and wrist to a new position and hatch a new set. Try swinging the mark toward you, and also try swinging it away from you in an outward movement to see which seems more natural for you. Try changing the angle of the marks.

2. Practice making sets until you have found the direction, spacing, and length of marks that seem right for you.

3. The next step is to make the "cross" sets. In classical hatching, the cross set is made at an angle only slightly different from

Drawing Cross Hatching Examples
Fig. 10-14.
Drawing Crosshatch FormsMetropolitan Museum Figure Drawings
Fig. 10-18. Some examples of various styles of crosshatching.
Alphonse Legros Red Chalk Paper
Fig. 10-19. Alphonse Legros, red chalk on paper. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

the original set, as shown in Figure 10-16. This slight angle produces a very pretty moire pattern that causes a drawing to seem to shimmer with light and air. Try this. Figure 10-17 shows how to use crosshatching to create a three-dimensional form.

4. By increasing the angle of crossing, a different style of crosshatch is achieved. In Figure 10-18, see various examples of styles of hatching: full cross (hatch marks crossing at right angles), cross-contour (usually curved hatches), and hooked hatches (where a slight hook inadvertently occurs at the end of the hatch), as in the topmost example of hatching styles in Figure 10-18. There are myriad styles of hatching.

5. To increase the darkness of tone, simply pile up one set of hatches onto others, as shown in the left arm of the figure drawing by Alphonse Legros, Figure 10-19.

6. Practice, practice, practice. Instead of doodling while talking on the telephone, practice crosshatching—perhaps shading geometric forms such as spheres, or cylinders. (See the examples in Figure 10-20.) As I mentioned, crosshatching is not a naturally occurring skill for most individuals, but it can be rapidly developed with practice. I assure you that skillful, individualized use of hatching in your drawings will be gratifying to you and much admired by your viewers.

Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

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  • sebastian
    How to crosshatch your portrait?
    5 years ago
  • Delmo Palermo
    How to make drapery in cross hatching?
    5 years ago

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