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

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Improve Your Ink Drawing with Hatching Techniques

teacher avatar Jen Dixon, Abstract & figurative artist, educator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 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


    • 8.

      2021 Bonus Lesson on Ink Transitions


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About This Class


*2021 UPDATE: New Bonus Lesson!* Let’s do some real-time ink drawing together with hatching techniques for better visual transitions in your art and illustrations. This all new hatching chapter more than doubles the length of the original bite-sized class, so if you have been craving more, I gotcha covered.

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

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Jen Dixon

Abstract & figurative artist, educator

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 around 35 years. In my own practice I use pen & ink, pastels, oils, acrylics, and watercolours regularly. My work hangs in private collections around the world.
I love what I do, and I teach what I love. We can do good things together here, so let's get started...

About me:
I’m an Ameri-Brit (dual citizen), living on the North Cornwall coast of the UK. I’ve been here nearly two decades, but have lived in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Berkshire (UK). I am studying Spanish daily with an aim for becoming bilingual. Hola, artistas.

My work covers everything from graffiti-influenced illustration & mixed m... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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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. 8. 2021 Bonus Lesson on Ink Transitions: Hello, welcome back. I'm recording this bonus lesson five years and nearly 20 Skillshare classes as a top teacher leader. Back when this little class came out, we were encouraged to keep things really short and sweet. Since then, we've all learned that when you make an online class, one size does not fit all. So since then, I've made classes that are as long as they need to be to give you the best I can give you without you needing a sleeping bag. Whether you're coming to this class for the first time now or popping in to refresh and check out this new lesson chapter, I'm so glad you're here. In the rest of this class, we learned what the basic hatching styles are and their uses. We tested and learned the capabilities of our pens using a pen personality chart and we practice building our hand muscles and consistent mark making with the hatching patchwork grids. Then I showed you some examples of ways you can pop a little hatching into your art and sketches to give them extra shadow and dimension. But today, I want to give you a little more with some real-time draw along demonstrations. This bonus lesson is a kind of bridge between this introductory class on hatching and my more advanced ink drawing boot camp class which came out a couple of years later. I'd like you to gather three different pens. I'm using a Stabilo 68 which has a fairly thick nib, a Sakura Pigma Graphic 1 which has a little thinner mark, and a Monoline Studio in size 05 from The Pigeon Letters. The paper I'm using is Claire Fontaine's paint on in white and it has a nice smooth surface. Use whatever pens you have on hand in three sizes, and use a smooth paper that doesn't make your ink bleed or feather too much. One thing I'll note since the first lessons, while I still believe you should rotate your paper as little as possible to best train your hand to be strong in most directions, I've developed osteoarthritis and it gives me an understanding that sometimes we must rotate our paper in order to keep ourselves from experiencing pain. Pain is not cool. Challenging your muscles and building your skills is one thing, but if you need to modify the techniques for your body, do it. I'm actively learning to write and draw with my pen in different fingers to keep me a little more comfortable and I'm also learning to do more with my non-dominant hand. Sometimes it's not practical or possible to rotate your paper, canvas or the wall you're drawing on and in those times, it's good to be prepared. But I guess what I'm saying is listen to your body, challenge yourself, but don't put yourself in pain. Now get yourself a tasty beverage, stretch out your fingers and let's get started. You may already feel ready to get on with the new stuff, but if you want a quick warm-up, here's a little thing I like to do with one of the stencils I have. I trace the shapes and use them as frames for some basic lines. Just little linear hatching to get the eyes and hand working together. Throw a curve or a wave in some of the lines if you're feeling it. I'm showing my marks at actual speed here, but the first few shapes were definitely slower until I started to warm up. I'm a big fan of warming up for art just like athletes do for sport. Before drawing or painting, I like to make a sheet of scribbles first to get the brain juice flowing and the muscles activated. If you don't have a stencil, you can trace around little objects or draw some shapes freehand. It's the warm up that matters, not the stencils or shapes. Let's have a quick look at why we are hatching. What do you need to show in the lines? Near to far, light to dark? Or maybe both. I showed a few of my favorite books earlier in the class but let's really look at a few of the pages now. In Ferdinand, I love how Illustrator Robert Lawson uses line thickness to help show distance. Checkout the thick curved hatching marks along the edge of the tower. It looks near because it gives us a sense of scale for the textures in the scene. Bigger texture is logically closer. The delicate little hatches on the wall seem far away and the roof in the middle rear of the drawing uses beautiful crosshatching over linear hatching to convey dark shadows on a fluted tile surface. Lawson brilliantly uses scattered and broken marks to give a sense of continuing surface, letting the viewer's mind fill in the blanks. The style of Edward Gorey is completely different. He covers most surfaces with small marks using direction and density to show each element in the scene. His work tends to look flat, but it's by design. It's a little claustrophobic and surreal and that's all down to his hatching techniques. He certainly knows how to use light and dark and near and far when he wants to as you can see in this example for these wings. Depending on which part of the story you're reading, the wings are deeply hatched to look more 3D on stage, but when inactive, the wings are flatter and only hatched with gently curved linear lines. He uses hatching to tell the story even without words. Finally, where the wild things are. Sendak uses color both as line and blocks of background for his hatching. It's so clever and helps to convey not only each element on the page, but time of day too. Brighter colors and fewer lines help show daytime scenes, while slightly muted and darker background colors with more dense hatching creates an evening or night effect. What do you need? You'll want to plan that before drawing just as these artists have. How do you get a real sense of far to near or dark to light? By practicing transitions in hatching. Get a sheet of smooth paper and the fattest pen nib of the three you have, draw a series of parallel lines with fairly even spacing. Starting at one end, draw perpendicular lines close together, but spreading them out as you travel towards the right. Now, squint your eyes to blur the marks a little. Do you see how the closer the lines are, they seem darker, they seem in shadow, or even further away from you? Let's do another but complicate things slightly. Start in exactly the same way but now we'll add crosshatching at a 45-degree angle to the first marks. Squint and you can see that it all seems a little bit flatter. The difference is more subtle in the transition. Now, try more of the top to bottom lines over again and do fewer marks as you travel towards the right. What happens when you add another layer of opposing 45-degree lines? It works, but it doesn't look particularly interesting, does it? This is something our favorite illustrators know and we are learning here. If you start out the same way but allow your marks to vary in length and placement a little, you have a much more interesting visual effect. It seems light and shadow are more involved. Adding the first layer of 45-degree angle marks but breaking them up a little bit gives more visual interest and texture. Adding the final layer of opposing 45-degree marks, again, broken up and staggered over the patch, gives a more pleasing and professional look. It gives your imagination just more to chew on. You can always go in and add a few more marks to create a more dramatic effect, but remember to squint your eyes often to check to see if your transition is blending evenly. Next, I want you to experiment with two line widths at the same time. Create the same dark to light transition patch with the thick pen first, then let's see what happens when we bring in the finest nib of pen. I'm adding lots of the same for directional marks, but it looks clunky. Here is how to avoid that clunky look when mixing the line thicknesses. Let's do it together. Draw the first marks but not all the way to the right. Stagger their lengths. Be a little bit more random, but still space them out towards the right. Now, get in there with the fine pen, but allow it to extend well past those thicker strokes. Remember how in Ferdinand the near marks were thick and in focus but the find marks seem distant? Well, this is a little different because the marks are mixed and you get a sense of depth in the left side but visually, it feels lighter towards the right, and so it looks nearer. Sounds a little confusing, I know. But depending on the effect you want, your line width and how you apply it has the power to tell a very different visual story. To figure this out, you need to experiment and study examples from other artists you admire. Always ask yourself, how did they do that? Then try it. In that last example, I also brought in a middle-sized pen to enhance the transition. It's obvious, especially when you squint your eyes, which is clunky and which has a smoother transition. For our final bit of transition practice, let's look at the boat in Where the Wild Things Are. You see Max's boat in the daylight and from the side, the boat seems pretty well lit. The front of his boat is meant to come to a point, so it curves away from us slightly to make that point. It is not as near to us as the side. To show that depth change, Sendak uses broken-up hatching to transition from the dark of that area to the flatter, well-lit side of the boat that is nearer to us. Practice a patch in a similar style until you get a feel for a smooth transition from dark to light, far to near. I didn't worry about drawing the boat first or being perfectly accurate because this is about building your natural mark-making style, not copying Maurice Sendak exactly. Use other artists as inspiration as you create your own unique way of doing things. What you are seeing is the first time I've tried emulating this part of the book illustration. I'm learning along with you as I put what I know into practice with the example. The next time I tried drawing it, I know I can get away with fewer marks and it will look lighter and closer because of it. I hope you've enjoyed this bonus lesson. If you're ready for more with ink drawing, I hope you'll take my ink drawing boot camp class for a much more in-depth experience. Thank you so much for joining me for this anniversary bonus lesson and have a great day.