Types of Hatching Drawing Techniques


When an artist draws using the hatching technique, she makes a series of regular or irregular marks in an area to create tone. When applied correctly, the style of hatching creates a texture, tone, shadow or pattern. You can hatching in charcoal, ink or pen, with a gestural approach or with careful planning. Experiment with hatching to create your own style of drawing through tone and texture.

Single Stroke

  • When using the single stoke technique, you apply the hatch lines vertically, horizontally or at an angle in even, equidistant stokes. The lines are parallel to one another and the weight of the line is not varied. Alone, single stoke suggests the direction of a smooth plane or surface. Placing the parallel lines closer to one another creates a darker tone, while spreading them apart creates lighter tones.

Return Stroke

  • Return stroke is done so that your hand does not lift from the page. Draw the lines back and forth in a zigzag manner, moving freely back and forth. Use the return stroke for softer, less structured drawings, as more of a gestural approach to form and figure, or use it to create bold, refined patterns with a formulaic approach.

Irregular Stroke

  • When you place strokes with uneven measure, you create an irregular set of lines that suggest the texture of a surface or a pattern. Unlike using single stroke to create tone, irregular strokes show the direction of the plane as well as indicating the pattern or texture on top of it. Although irregular strokes can be randomly applied strokes, this is not always the case. Irregular strokes applied with method can create solid patterns while representing clothing or synthetic surfaces.

Cross Hatching

  • When you apply any number of these techniques in layers of angled strokes, this is called "cross hatching." Use cross hatching to further explore tones, as crossing strokes creates darker areas and suggests shadow. Cross hatch curvilinear lines to suggest the more complex form of a human body or other rounded objects. The more formulaic the approach, the stiffer the object seems, while a loose stroke suggests a more organic subject. To heighten contrast in a drawing, cross hatch several layers of lines to create very dark areas, where little of paper shows through, and then leave other areas light and sparsely marked.

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