What’s hatching?


A favourite pen

I was pleased to be asked to join another of Tony McNeight‘s sketching classes on the weekend; the topic – cross-hatching, and the medium, ink. It was some time since I’d used the technique but I was keen to give it another go. True, my tools were ancient, but in good form, since I’d recently cleaned my pens out and replaced the ink cartridges. 

hatch circlesMy Art pen is nice to hold and the ink flows fluidly from it’s nib but I was the only person using one. Most use a smaller pen with a flat circle-shaped tip, so the hand is held more upright. With mine, the handle is long and rests on the thumb. However … onto the first exercises. The term contour cross-hatching was familiar to me, as I have used it often with pencil sketches. But using ink is a different matter. I was like a rusty chain to begin with. We sketched circles, trying to make the cross-hatch appear three-dimensional, by adding more line to create depth of tone and lessening the line near the light source.

Cross-hatching has been around from the Late Gothic/early Renaissance era, when it emerged as a fine line drawing technique. Albrecht Durer is a name synonymous with this technique. He first practised silverpoint: the dragging of a silver rod across a primed surface, a technique learned by his father. His early self-portrait clearly demonstrates the use of contour cross-hatching. Quite an amazing work for a thirteen-year-old.


Self portrait by Albrecht Durer at 13

Cross-hatching was well-used during Durer’s lifetime and continues to be used today, in print-making, etching, engraving and woodcuts. Drawing on the surface of paper is quite different as the pen does not penetrate the surface. With my particular pen, my hand fairly flew across the paper; nice if I was wanting to capture a scene outdoors, but hard to rein in and produce a tighter control. In this instance I wasn’t trying for anything in particular, prepared to just experience ‘whatever’.

stuffed duck

A dead duck flying

‘Whatever’ came in the form of a taxidermied paradise shelduck. Yes indeed, but it was an interesting object to draw. The duck was still robust looking (from the side I chose to view) albeit its once white feathers being more of a grubby grey. It was quite a task, but all the group produced very interesting drawings, and definitely did well with the cross-hatching task. I got a bit carried away, but enjoyed the model regardless. I was not that keen to add watercolour, knowing I’m no expert in that medium and have a habit of making a real mess. But I was a good student that day and gave it a go. Love it? Mm; still, I did it.

1 thought on “What’s hatching?

  1. Hi Viv

    Enjoyed your blog as always. But I must admit I didn’t read the tuatara one – had a feeling there was a real image of one in there somewhere, and you know how I feel about such critters!!

    Sounds like you and Lara had a great time at WOW – hope to get there myself one day …….

    Great pic of you in your Desi jacket too! Funny I think of you every time I see a Desigual store – and that’s in every town in Spain of course haha! I know how you like their gear.

    We have been in Cadiz a week now – weather not as good as last year. Had rain a couple of days (!!) – wots that about??! But mostly beautiful bright blue skies, warm sunshine and chilly shade – we’re certainly not complaining!!

    Can’t believe Kerry is still working – is he ever going to stop? Must be the excitement of all that travel that keeps him so young?? Or is it being married to you?? 🙄

    We are off to Marbella next week to hang with the Rich and Famous – look out for us in the celeb gossip columns (we’ll be the ones in puffer jackets and sneakers).

    Plan to stay there a couple of weeks – there are several nice places nearby to explore.

    And then it’s back to our fave camp at Vila Joiosa (near Benidorm) for couple of months over Xmas. Looking forward to catching up with Uk friends we met there last year.

    I’m missing Anna and my friends at the mo – quite a big price to pay for life in paradise!!

    Hope you are keeping well health-wise. You certainly seem to be enjoying Devo life. And to think you nearly ended up on that island – just sayin ……………! 😊

    Love and hugs from me Bron ❤️❤️

    Sent from my I Phone Bronny x



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