Combining Cross Hatching and Stippling
Creating tone and texture with cross-hatching and stippling.
Cross Hatching and Stippling are the two basic techniques for the creation of tone and texture in an ink drawing. These are traditional techniques that have been used by artists for centuries. They can be applied in a tightly controlled manner, as in our drawing of Whitby above, or more freely and expressively as in the Van Gogh landscape below.
VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
'Harvest Landscape', 1888 (ink on paper)
In 'Harvest Landscape', Van Gogh intuitively combines hatching and stippling to create a bold expressive technique that naturally conveys the depth, texture and energy of its subject. The spontaneity and fluidity of his pen strokes say as much about the artist's personality as they do about the subject. It is the skill of an artist's technique, filtered though a personal vision of the subject, that determines the quality of an artwork.
If we look at a close-up detail of our Whitby drawing, it should help to reveal how cross hatching and stippling are combined for a tonal and textural effect. A range of cross hatching and stippling techniques have been used to give tone and texture to the walls and roofs. These techniques are not used independently from one another, but are combined to increase their effectiveness. After the brickwork and roof tile patterns had been sketched in, areas of tone were hatched and cross hatched over these to suggest depth and form. Stippling was then applied in various densities to both plain and brick patterned walls in order to convey the grime and texture of the different surfaces.
Whitby Detail 2
In Detail 2, graduating densities of stippling have been used to express the texture of the bushes. Hatching and cross hatching, combined with stippling, have been applied to suggest a variety of other surface qualities ranging from metal lock-up doors, to smooth concrete and rough brickwork.
As a general rule, it is probably easier to apply cross hatching first, in order to build up the tonal structure of the drawing. Stippling tends to be used later to add subtlety and texture to the work.