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Thursday, April 18, 2024

How to draw the hatch

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How to draw the hatch. The line is the most basic and straightforward geometric figure after the point. But it is at the same time the basis of each of our drawings, of each of our works, of each of our studies and sketches. How many times have we observed a great artist draw a single line, so simple but at the same time so perfect, capable of transmitting the meaning of his work at first glance? Today we will talk about a technique based on our beloved lines, or instead on the strokes. This article is about the hatching technique.

I am sure you have seen so many works made with this method. A series of parallel lines, more or less close together, are used to create the impression of lights, shadows, volumes of a figure or object, or even to create a sense of movement. But how many types of hatching are there, and what tools are used to work with this technique?

The types of hatching

There are genuinely infinite types of hatching. In some way, every great artist develops their hatching style over time, which makes it recognizable even after a single glance. The same is true in the world of illustration or comics. Some hatch styles have imposed themselves on others and are the most used and taught in schools.

Parallel hatch

How to draw the hatch

Parallel hatching is the simplest and most effective style, which is used unconsciously by many artists. It involves drawing parallel lines that can be more or less dense and close together and give the subject a sense of light/shadow and volume. The artist chooses the angle of the strokes but is generally kept constant throughout the drawing or varies from area to area. To increase the density of the strokes, more hatch levels can overlap, thus working by overlapping.

Cross-hatching

Cross-hatching is the natural evolution of the parallel. Having drawn the first layer of parallel lines, therefore all with the same inclination, you can darken some areas by increasing the definition of volumes and chiaroscuro with an overlap of new strokes. The lines that we will superimpose on the first layer will have a different inclination from the previous ones. It is unnecessary to exaggerate, using too bold inclinations, for example, at right angles, unless there are particular stylistic choices. A gentle inclination of the lines, in the order of 10-30 degrees maximum, is already sufficient.

Patterned hatch

Patterned hatching is another evolution of the parallel. The basic rules remain the same. The lines all run in the same direction and never meet (small geometry review). The difference is that they are not perfectly straight lines but follow the object’s shape, surface, a subject we are drawing. For example, the shapes of the fingers, knuckles, and muscles will follow in a hand or foot to define volumes and shadows.

Fabric texture hatch

The peculiarity of this style of hatching is well described in its name. It involves drawing groups of parallel lines, shorter and narrower than what you are used to doing. The density and closeness of the lines within the same group will create greater shadow and help define the chiaroscuro.

History of the hatch

Hatching is a technique used mainly in drawing or engraving, woodcut, or with etching. Why? Because these working methods do not allow for linear and homogeneous shades, as we are used to doing using charcoals and paints with drawing ideas. The hatching has developed from this premise, creating the illusion of shadows, lights, and volumes using the presence or absence of hatched areas with a more or less marked density of strokes. It isn’t accessible to date the birth of this technique accurately. We can say that there are testimonies of its use in Western art since the late Middle Ages.

In the mid-1400s the hatching was widely used by Italian artists and in particular by Florentines. Renaissance painters and sculptors used this technique for sketches and studies of works for their subsequent works. Starting from Italy, the hatching thus spread throughout Europe. One of the best-known artists to have used the hatching technique is undoubtedly Leonardo da Vinci. We find evidence of this in many of his studies, and it is often cited as an example, both in terms of parallel and cross-hatching.

Hatching tools

What are the tools that are used to make line drawings? In general, we can say that it is possible to use this technique with all those tools that allow the artist to work by simply drawing clear and defined lines. So let’s talk about graphite pencils, nibs, fine-tipped markers, liners, or even ballpoint pens. It is not so obvious for some, but hatching does not only mean black and white drawings. There are fine-tipped liners in various colors, such as the Winsor & Newton Fine liners: they are available in the classic black color, but also sepia, gray, or indigo.

Using ink nibs instead, the discussion is even broader: working with inks, we have an infinity of different colors and tints available. The critical thing, in this case, is to find a nib with a precise tip, which allows a clean and defined stroke. The role of the card you will use is vital. It must not be too low in weight, primarily if you work with liners and inks. It must absorb the color while keeping the lines clear and spaced, without creating that annoying effect that in English is called “bleeding,” when the ink penetrates the fibers and spreads between them, creating an almost “smudged” effect and poorly defined.

Also Read: Communication Skills

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