How to do shading in Drawing with crosshatching




Crosshatch shading

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Another technique when shading is called crosshatching. Crosshatch shading is basically creating the illusion of shadow by grouping several lines together. You draw several lines, then on top of those lines draw another grouping of lines that are at an opposing angle to the first group of lines. I see crosshatching used more when the artist is working in ink, not graphite. This shading technique is used to great effect in comic books, newspaper strips and other types of art that will be printed. The previous shading techniques we discussed are mostly used with pencils, where you can get middle grey tones. Crosshatching is used most when you are working with two colors only - black ink on white paper. With ink you can't get a middle grey tone, you have black (or whatever color the ink is) only, so crosshatching is used to create the illusion of grey. Where the lines intersect it appears as though  there is a darker shadow than where the lines don't intersect.

Click to see crosshatching

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Crosshatch shading is fairly simple to do, but it's not so easy to master. All you do is draw lines where you want to create shadow, then draw more lines on top of those lines to create darker shadow. The lines should be as straight and equidistant from each other as you can manage. But unlike the examples shown here, crosshatching isn't just floating around on your paper by itself, it's shading, it should be on an object that you are shading. So, to start, draw the contour of your shape. Then you draw some initial crosshatching lines that conform to the object's shape. For example, say you want to draw a sphere and crosshatch it's shading. First draw the circle. Then you should draw your first set of crosshatched lines in in a crescent shape along the contour of the circle. The crescent shape denotes where the shadow is on the sphere, you don't want to draw the lines all the way across the circle because that would mean the whole sphere is in shadow. Once you have the crescent shape with your crosshatching lines, draw opposing crosshatch lines at the bottom of the sphere which indicates the darker shadow is at the bottom of the sphere. The uncrossed line at the top of the sphere denotes the midtone shade in this sphere. You can draw as many sets of opposing lines as you like, the more lines you have the darker the shadow will appear at the points where all your lines intersect.

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Notice on the sphere I drew the bottom of the circle with a heavier line than the top of the circle? That's another type of shading technique that I touched on briefly earlier in the DRAWING BASICS section. What I mentioned was when you're drawing the contour shapes in your drawing, a simple way to hint at shadow on the shape is to vary the thickness of the line that you're drawing to create the contour shape. This creates a feeling of substance to the object, like the object has weight and isn't just floating in white space (your paper). It's easy to do - where ever there is a shadow on the object, just thicken the line there. Usually, if you thicken the lines at the bottom of the object, that will create the illusion of weight for the object. This is because in the real world most objects are sitting on some sort of a base; be it the floor, the ground, a shelf, or in your hand (for small objects). Darkening the bottom lines of the object makes it look like the object is sitting on a base because it appears as though the bottom of the object is touching another object - namely it's base.

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