Crosshatching

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If you want to create a tonal quality using black and white, you can use a technique called crosshatching. Just as the name implies, crosshatching means to draw vertical lines in one direction and then cross over them with diagonal or horizontal lines.

Crosshatching is a technique best suited for applications in which other forms of shading may not reproduce well. This is especially true with regard to newsprint. Most newspapers print their pages in black and white, so shading your art using a gray wash or even color won't turn out well. Also, newspapers have a tendency to run images smaller than the cartoonist originally intended. If you color your art or use a watercolor wash, when the image is reduced down and reproduced on the page, the shading technique fails as the area appears solid and the image may lose any tonal quality.

When a crosshatched image is reduced, the quality of the reproduced and scaled-down art is much better. This is one reason why crosshatching became popular among editorial cartoonists and newsprint political illustrators.

Crosshatching creates a darker tone but not a solid one. You can vary your tones by changing the number of lines you draw and where you place them. If you want to add a slight tonal value to a shape, simply drawing lines on one side of the shape adds an element of dimension. For example, the figure on the right in Figure 4-14 is what the box looks like before you begin to crosshatch. The more lines you draw in a diagonal direction over the previous lines, the darker the crosshatching gets and the more dimension you can give a shape, as shown in the figure on the left in Figure 4-14.

Figure 4-14:

Cross-hatching can give depth to elements in your drawing.

Figure 4-14:

Cross-hatching can give depth to elements in your drawing.

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