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Cross Hatching: The Fabulous Classic Shading Technique Using Little Lines

Drawing - crosshatching- banner
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Cross hatching is one of those art techniques that many people learn in art class, practice for a bit on a circle to make it look more like a sphere, and then never use again. I’m here to revive the ancient technique of cross hatching and make it sexy again.

Cross hatching 4 ever.

Using the cross hatching technique in your drawings

Why Cross Hatching?

Cross hatching is a technique I’m sure you’ve seen, and maybe have tried before- it’s a super-effective way to add value to a drawing, i.e. shading. There are other techniques to add shading, but there is something about cross hatching- stylistically- that gives a unique look to a drawing. What is it? Old-timey? Extra-hand-drawn? Graphic?


Types of Cross Hatching

There are lots-o-ways to do cross hatching, and you can:

• Vary the line width (by using fatter or thinner drawing tools)

• Layer on more lines to make an area look darker and/or make lines closer together,

• Use straight or curved lines to play up contours of objects

• Experiment with colors

• Experiment with lines other than little straight lines (try curved or scribbles)

Using crosshatching in drawing

Materials for Cross Hatching

Pencil, pen, marker, charcoal, anything that draws. Try a nice thin Micron pen for ultimate line control. The shading looks really subtle when you use thin lines and more obvious when you use thicker lines- both have their purposes.

Pencil will give you a softer look, a darker color marker over a lighter one can look good. I used my beloved Prismacolor markers here.

Practice it

Try out a bunch of these techniques either on your own drawings, or you can download this fancy little page of circles to start with. I spent a pleasant hour or so drawing lines on circles and figuring out different styles. It reminded me of ZENTANGLE! (Because of the relaxing, meditative state I was in. Or maybe that was just my sloth brain.)

Free printab;e for practicing crosshatching drawing technique


Make a crosshatch scale from light to dark to practice your technique.

Crosshatching drawing technique- light to dark





Ooh! Banners!

Sit around and practice drawing banners, then add a few crosshatch lines here and there to give them depth. I have a lot of depth.

How to draw a banner- with crosshatching!

Oops, did I go banner-crazy?


How to add crosshatching to your drawings for depth and awesomeness

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