Improve Your Ink Drawing with Hatching Techniques | Jen Dixon | Skillshare

Improve Your Ink Drawing with Hatching Techniques

Jen Dixon, Abstract and figurative artist, tutor.

Improve Your Ink Drawing with Hatching Techniques

Jen Dixon, Abstract and figurative artist, tutor.

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
7 Lessons (15m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Let's Talk About Hatching

    • 3. Materials Needed

    • 4. Project: Pen Personality

    • 5. Project: Hatching Patchwork

    • 6. Project: Taking It Further

    • 7. Thank you

83 students are watching this class
  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class


This is an introductory level class, in a bite-size format, to build skills through drills.

Improve Your Ink Drawing with Hatching Techniques is about creating confident lines with control to express unique tones or patterns in your drawings and illustrations. Although aimed at beginners, this class is useful for building skill or getting out of a rut at any level.
There are three projects in this class.

--> For a more advanced ink drawing class, have a look at my Ink Drawing Boot Camp: Build Killer Skills. <--

First, you'll create a Pen Personality reference sheet. Then, using a grid, you’ll practice linear hatching, crosshatching, and contour mark-making by creating a Hatching Patchwork. Finally, using your new, ink hatching confidence, experiment with layering lines and combining marks to create unique textures and effects, perhaps using mixed media.



Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jen Dixon

Abstract and figurative artist, tutor.

Top Teacher

Whether you want to learn new skills or brush up on rusty ones, I would love to help. I have been a selling artist for nearly 35 years and in my own practice use pen and ink, pastels, oils, acrylics, and watercolours regularly. I have a roster of private tuition students who see me in my studio and we cover everything from the fundamentals of art and drawing to experimental and abstract work.
I love what I do and I teach what I love. I know we can do good things together here on Skillshare,
so let's get started...

Here's a bit about me... (standard bio blurb)

Jen Dixon works mostly in mixed media abstract and figurative painting. She is also an illustrator, writer, and teaches privately both groups and individuals. Originally from Indiana, she now lives in a windy vi... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Your creative journey starts here.

  • Unlimited access to every class
  • Supportive online creative community
  • Learn offline with Skillshare’s app

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.



1. Introduction: Hello, I'm Jen Dixon and welcome to, Improve Your Ink Drawing with Hatching Techniques. In this class, we'll focus on using pen and ink as a medium, however, hatching can be performed with pencil, paint, pastels, and numerous other materials. I myself work typically in a variety of styles but I love coming back to that uncluttered simplicity that you get with pen and ink, and it's especially useful if you want to sharpen your drawing skills. So, whether drawing a random doodle like design, or maybe even preparing an illustration for reproduction, it's hard to beat that crisp black line. So to build confidence with ink and it's inevitable permanence, we'll be drawing in a style called hatching. You'll build discipline through these exercises and own your skills for future drawings, and maybe even begin integrating it into experimental work. So join me on this project, show me your progress and let's have fun. 2. Let's Talk About Hatching: Hatching is a technique used to create areas of tone or shading by drawing closed parallel lines. You may already be familiar with crosshatching, which is hatching with another layer of line over it at an angle. Before color printing was readily available, illustrations for reproduction were given tonal qualities and dimension through hatching. It could be replicated in engraving, etching, woodcuts, and only needed black ink for the final print. Albert Durer used the technique extensively in his work between the 14 and 15 hundreds. In modern illustration, you may already be familiar with hatching masters, Maurice Sendak, Edward Gorey, and this wonderful book, The Story of Ferdinand, illustrated by Robert Lawson. There's a lovely textured feel to hatch drawings that is both complicated and wonderfully simple. Even if you're not creating a complex drawing, you can easily bring the elements of hatching into your everyday sketches, your line and wash, even your paintings and mixed media work. There are a few different basics to remember, but from there, you can get brilliantly creative. Let's explore three basic hatching marks. Linear hatching, simply hatching in parallel lines. They can be long, short or a mix, to break up tonal areas or indicate shapes and planes. Cross hatching, a layer of hatched lines drawn at an angle over an existing layer of hatched lines. Layering creates darker tones. Contoured hatching uses curved lines to imply more organic shapes and contours. 3. Materials Needed: You'll need a few basic materials to begin our class. For paper, I'll be using Bristol board in A4 size, which is very similar to US letter size. Or, you can also use Claire Fontaine's Paint'ON Multi Techniques which has a very similar surface to Bristol board, being that they're both very bright white and very smooth or in a pinch, you can use a quality Cartridge paper for now. However, I will mention that if you're going to use the Cartridge paper, the surface of Cartridge paper is much more porous and therefore, your ink runs a risk of bleeding into the paper fiber a little bit. If you're going to follow along with the exercises, you may find it a little less frustrating if using Cartridge paper, you go along with the exercises using a ballpoint pen or just a pencil. That way you don't risk having bleed into the fiber of the paper. Anything you do is great practice. So don't feel bad if all you've got is Cartridge paper or a sketch book for the time being. As far as market-making supplies, you're going to see me using things like the Mitsubishi uni pen, the Steadler Pigment liner, as well as the Stabilo point 88. The point 88 has become very popular as well as Stabilo 68 as well. Ever since the adult coloring book trend has really taken off. They are a good budget minded pen. They have a great point on them and they come in a variety of colors, not just black. So that might be a great way to get started with the pen and ink techniques that we're going to do today. These other pens are a little bit more expensive, a little more specialist, but they're very good and very light fast as well. Even the Uni pen tends to be water and fade proof. It's a pigment ink. Steadler is also waterproof and a pigment ink. So those are going to stand the test of time a little bit more than the Stabilos. The Stabilos are a little bit more cheap and cheery, but it's going to be a great way to get started. Other things that you might want are going to be a roller tape to hold down your paper, a bit of scratch paper to test your pens before you get onto the good paper. You're going to need a ruler and I have found a square, very handy. I know it's a triangle, but they call it a square. So I found that very handy for making the grid that we're going to make. So now that you've got all that in mind, I've added all the materials to a list in the downloadable PDF. Let's get started. You can see the difference in the way the Cartridge paper and the Bristol board behave when you apply pen to them. The Cartridge paper has a tooth to it, so that makes it more suitable for doing pencil work because it's got that tooth. The graphite sticks to it a little bit better and you get that lovely sort of sketch texture. Whereas Bristol board is much more suited to illustrators and people that are doing ink work. So the ink really just sort of glides against the surface rather than on the Cartridge. You can see it gets stuck and gets a little bit jagged on the tooth of the paper. It's just a difference in surface and as I said, if you want to try the exercises with Cartridge paper, by all means please do. But you may get better results if you're using maybe a ballpoint pen or a pencil on the Cartridge and then eventually try the Bristol board or something equally as smooth because you're going to find a real difference in the two. 4. Project: Pen Personality: If you're like me, you've already got a sizable stash of pens and keep collecting more. I think that's half the reason I became an artist, was to collect supplies. This first project is a bit of a warm-up with a very useful final result. Each pen makes a unique style of mark depending on the manufacturer. Creating a pen personality reference sheet will help you choose the right pen for the job without guesswork. So gather your pens from different companies, but limited to black and perhaps sepia. Use bristol board or the whitest smoothest paper you have. Line up your pens by manufacturer and put them in nib order from fine to broad. If a pen is not in top condition, omit it from this exercise, as you're creating a reference guide based on best condition materials. If you don't have every nib size, just go with what you have. Position your paper in portrait and imagine it as a two column layout. With each pen, draw freehand, a horizontal line for a few inches or about six centimeters using a neutral pressure. At the end of each line, write the nib size such as, 0.01 or a letter. Write the name of the pen above the line. If you have several nib sizes by the same manufacturer, you can skip writing the name for every one and just label the next new brand when you switch. Under the line, make a small patch of cross hatching about the size of your thumbnail, a squiggle, and some dots. This will give you a better idea at a glance what kind of marks that pen is capable of creating. Continue until you've sampled all of your pens. I tend to also put sepia pens in as a reference, because they're often used in sketch kits and can vary wildly as to the intensity of the brown. You can see the difference between the copic and the zig artist marker on the page before you. Basically, you can create a reference sheet for any pens that you have and if you'd like to create one for colors, you can make one in a similar way, but likely without as many example marks for each. Pen personality reference sheets are satisfying to create and give you a real sense of pen to pen, what each has to offer your work. Once you start making reference sheets, you might find yourself making them for a variety of your art supplies. I find my watercolor paints watch references very useful. Now that you have your pen personality sheet, let's move on to the next project. 5. Project: Hatching Patchwork: Welcome back. In this lesson, we'll be creating a hatching patchwork. The reason for this patchwork is to begin training your hand to make consistent controlled marks, that you can apply to any hand-drawn illustration you create. Be sure to take regular breaks because I promised this is harder than it looks. The first step is to build a framework for your hatching practice. Using a sharp pencil, create a grid in thin lines, with space between columns and rows on a sheet of Bristol. I've made three centimeter squares with one centimeter spaces in between. For US measurements, keep the squares only a little over an inch each. This is important. Stay small. The number of rows or columns isn't actually all that important, just fill your page. For the first row of squares, focus on a 45 degree hatched line. Resist the urge to start from the middle, but instead, begin to train yourself to stay consistent throughout the entire square, top to bottom. An important note before continuing. Pulling a line towards you, will always be easier and smoother than pushing a line away. So whenever possible, draw towards yourself. Continue this practice across the whole row of squares. I've increased the speed of the video in places, so feel free to pause it until you've caught up. If your lines drift and spaces vary in between, this is normal. Just try slowing down slightly and don't forget to breathe. Also try to avoid corrections, as they will look obvious, and less appealing visually than inconsistencies. Row 2 should be vertical lines top to bottom edge. Continue across the row. Row 3 should be 45 degrees in the direction opposite to the first row. Resist turning your paper to make this easier. You're training your hand and some movements will feel new. Row 4 is to practice contoured hatching. These are often the most difficult and will likely be drawn a little further apart. Practice the whole row. Row 5 should practice contoured hatching in a different direction. As with the 45 degree marks, try to avoid turning the paper to make this easier. Train your hand to accept new ways to draw. After completing the patchwork, return to the first row, second column. Cross hatch the square using an opposing 45 degree mark. Work your way down the column, applying an opposite mark over each to achieve crosshatching. You have several columns left, so try altering the angles slightly to achieve different patterns and tones. Leave the first column alone as a reference. I've created the same hatching patchwork in color to see what blended color effects I can create. Try it if you have the pens for it. Laboring three or more colors can create amazing results. 6. Project: Taking It Further: Now that you're comfortable and confident with your hatching, let's take those marks into new territory. Begin experimenting with mixed media. Using watercolors, paint a few practice images, and try layering hatching over, or take a sketchbook out and combine these techniques to rapidly capture a scene. Try combining dot work and hatching. It can be very satisfying to create new and unexpected textures. Explore colored inks. As with any drawing skill, practice will keep you sharp and you'll be prepared to add just the right mark to your work, whenever you need it. For this project, experiment. Show how you're bringing your skilled hatching into your art. 7. Thank you: Thank you for joining my class, improve your ink drawing with hatching techniques. I hope you've enjoyed the projects and have felt your confidence grow by improving your pen work. I look forward to seeing your projects and your experiments, so don't forget to upload them. Have a great day.