Lessons in Doodlewashing: Hatching Techniques

Dog Looking At Drawing

Philippe and I decided to try a sketching course on Craftsy (Pen & Ink Essentials with Paul Heaston) and our dog seemed eager to join in on the fun. But in the end, I think he was just judging me. Still haven’t managed to get him to sketch yet. And yes Phineas, it IS super ridiculous to have a banana floating in the sky above a building that looks like a toaster, but that’s not the point of this exercise!

I’m wanting to learn some different techniques for hatching to add dimension to my drawing and sketches. As sketching can often be, but not always, a basis for a doodlewash, I thought I’d share a quick cheat sheet of just a few key styles.

3 BASIC STYLES OF HATCHING

Doodlewash Parallel HatchingParallel Hatching

This is fastest and easiest way to add dimension as it just consists of creating rows of parallel lines. The closer together the lines, the darker the shadow, and anything without lines appears as a highlight. Good for fast urban sketching since it’s super quick and you don’t have to think about each contour, but can make your sketches look a bit mechanical.

Doodlewash Countour HatchingContour Hatching

I think this is probably my favorite type of go-to hatching as it can still be done rather quickly, but rather than parallel lines you create rows that follow the contours of your subject. This is a bit more organic and adds dimension to the sketch. I prefer this for a doodlewash as it doesn’t add too many extra lines.

Doodlewash Cross HatchingCross Hatching

This is one of the most common types of hatching with Leonardo da Vinci being one of the early practioners (as I’ve mentioned before I’m a huge fan of his!). This type builds on contour hatching by adding a second set of perpendicular lines over the first, adding even more depth, shadow and dimension.

Beyond this, you can try anything from fine cross hatching to a basket weave hatch to tick hatching (see more detail and much better illustrations from Paul Heaston here). Or, of course, you can skip traditional hatching all together and stipple (using little dots of ink to create depth… way too intense for me, but some people love it!) or just use a series of random lines or try some gestural doodles (like the ones the dog is scrutinizing in the photo above).

It really comes down to personal preference as there are a ton of ways to add dimension and life to your sketch. Remember, don’t let anyone tell you there’s only one true method when you’re creating something! You’re the artist, you get to do whatever moves you. Cool, right?

I think, personally, I’ll probably go with just a bit of hatch and a healthy dose of doodle myself, but I’m still in the process of landing on a style. Which may be a rather involved process as I’m always prone to experimenting and trying new things!

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
5 Comments
  1. kirkistan 2 years ago

    I like seeing your cross-hatching demonstration. I’ve seen a lot of graphic design folks use a downward stroke at a 45 degree angle (with no horizontal lines). Where does that fit with your canon of cross-hatching?

  2. Author

    Guessing that would be parallel hatching on a 45 degree angle, but I am NO hatching expert yet. hehe… proof that there are about a million different ways to skin this cat. I figure you can’t really go wrong if it looks cool in the end. 😉

  3. Cathy Tenzo 2 years ago

    I have just started that class and his explanations of hatching make so much sense to me compared to a lot of others I have seen. Like your artwork!

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