Day 12: Hatching, smudging and other shading methods

So we have looked at seeing and drawing the shadow shapes, and today we’re going to talk about different ways to fill them with tone – ways to shade. The approach we often suggest is hatching like this, but we’ve noticed a lot of people like to use smudging. 

Smudging is excellent and powerful, especially with a pliable material like charcoal. It can achieve nuanced gradation, it allows you to move things around a bit and also smooths away mess and problems with the marks on the paper. Frank Gambino for example uses it to amazing effect.

But for those same reasons, we don’t think it is always good for people in the early stages of learning to draw. It means that you can depend on it, instead of having to improve your ability to make good marks on the paper. 

If you have to hatch, you’ll build up your muscle memory applying those lines so your lines will eventually become more confident. It’s another case of the harder road paying off more. Just to clarify though, we aren’t saying smudging is inferior to hatching, they’re just different, but we do think hatching teaches you more in the early stage learning process.

To get started try defining the shape – as big and simple as possible like we have talked about – and then filling with even, parallel hatching, like Chris Glib here. 

You can also try hatching that, in a simple way, roughly follows the contours of the figure, like this hatching from Raphael.

There’s all sorts of other great ways you can put down areas of tone in your drawing too. You can create areas of tone by applying the side of a stick of charcoal or chalk or something like that, like Mayko is doing here

or like in these examples by Richard McDonald. Then there’s also stippling and scribbling and all sorts of different types of hatching, and that’s before we even talk about brushes and painting.

Keep in mind that hatching skills take a while to develop, so it might be tricky at first, but as with so much in drawing, those that persevere get rewarded well for their efforts! See you in the next post!

Day 12 Croquis Cafe practice session

Day 13 Tutorial

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