HATCHING TUTORIAL – How to use parallel, contour and cross hatching for shading and form

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In this hatching tutorial, we use a drawing by Raphael to help demonstrate hatching techniques, which has had the hatching shading removed. If you’d like to download that file so that you can practise on it, please go to:

We go over the main types of hatching and how different artists use each for different effects in figure drawing. Hatching doesn’t only convey light and dark, but also the 3D volume of the figure and can even inject energy into the pose and help with composition.

We talk about simple, single, parallel hatching and how effective it can be for shading and for a clean composition in life drawing. Crosshatching can be used to powerfully explain plains as well as creating great contrast. Contour hatching can emphasise curvature and volume where needed. There’s nothing wrong with mixing and matching the approaches either.

We cover three hatching exercises in this tutorial to help with the motion in your arm and hand for hatching as well as understanding the use of hatching for shade and volume, and for hatching figures.

If you need help seeing the shapes of the tones you should be hatching, check out our video on simplifying tonal areas:

and our video on exercises to help practise simplifying shadow shapes:


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