Creating Tone and Texture with Cross Hatching

Cross Hatching Worksheet.

Hatching is an ink drawing technique where you apply tone and texture in rows of parallel lines.

Cross Hatching is where you crisscross several layers of Hatching in order to darken your tones.

Hatched lines should be drawn lightly and closely together. When you begin you should set your paper at an angle to find a comfortable position for drawing. Change the angle of the paper (and not your body position) when applying further layers of cross hatching. A comfortable and fixed drawing position is the key to consistent cross hatching.

It is important to practice cross hatching before you start an ink drawing as you need to develop a confidence and rhythm to your technique. To help you practice this we have devised a cross hatching worksheet that you can use to improve your technique.

VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890) 'Fountain at St. Remy', 1889 (ink on paper)
VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
'Fountain at St. Remy', 1889 (ink on paper)

Cross Hatching can take many forms. It can be done freehand with carefully drawn lines, as in our drawing of Whitby, or more expressively, as in Van Gogh's 'Fountain in the Garden of the Hospital, St Remy'. It may also be done mechanically with a ruler. You may even combine both approaches in one technique. Whatever method of hatching you adopt, it should be sympathetic to the subject of your work. For example, Van Gogh's drawing above, which captures the overgrown garden in spontaneous energetic strokes, would look inappropriate if it was executed using a sterile mechanical technique.

To help you think about the various methods of cross hatching, we have created a sheet of cross hatching examples for reference and practice. This is not an exclusive list and you could invent more variations that suit your own approach.