Hatching and cross hatching are two techniques to add texture and depth to your colouring. They’re closely related and will help you take your colouring up a level.
What are Hatching and Cross Hatching?
Hatching is creating hundreds of fine lines all running parallel to each other. It’s a technique to add shade to an area. The closer together the lines are, the darker the area will be. Likewise, the further apart the lines are, the lighter the area will be.
Cross hatching is similar in that it has many fines lines running parallel to each other, but you add another layer of lines running at an angle to the first layer. This makes it look woven or like mesh which gives the colouring depth and texture. The grass in the image looks like cross hatching.
Now you know what hatching and cross hatching are, here are a few tips to help you master them:
When I first started hatching and cross hatching, I was more bothered about getting the lines equally spaced than the colouring looking good. It was hard at first but once I realised I didn’t need to use a ruler to draw straight lines (yes, I was that bad), I let myself go a bit and had fun! After a little while, my lines became straighter.
I improved by drawing short lines. You know when you’re trying to draw a long line and you lose concentration ending up with a hump in your line? Mine were like that, too. I found drawing short lines made me more aware of controlling my pencil. As my confidence grew my lines got longer and more accurate.
Getting the Angles Right.
This was challenging. Cross hatching is about angles. Specifically, it’s about getting your angles right. If they’re not right they scream at you. No escape.
When your angles are right, the effect is even and balanced. Again, it’s about practice and doing it until you get it right, then doing it some more to make sure.
My angles go off when I draw them towards my body. I have to draw them with the pencil going away from my body and at a slight angle. Practice until you find what’s right for you.
Different Coloured Layers.
You get more out of your colour palette when you have different coloured layers of cross hatching than if you use the same colour. It makes your cross hatching look textured. Start with the lightest colour then go dark. If you start with the dark shade and layer lighter colours over it, you could transfer that dark pigment over your page.
Try cross hatching in different colours with more than two layers. Most newbies only use two colours with a diagonal pattern. You could add more layers for added depth. Vertical or horizontal lines added to two crossed diagonals would offer you more options when it comes to shading and creating the perception of texture.
What do you think? What’s your cross hatching experience?
Let us know in the comments!