What is single hatch shading?

Simply put, draw multiple parallel lines in a single direction to shade. It’s a very old technique that I’ve seen in Renaissance drawings. You’ll see comic book artists use it a lot.

single hatch shading example
Allie shaded mostly with single hatch shading

The above image is Allie, mostly using the single hatch shading technique. I did a little bit of smearing initially then just decided to shade the rest with the single hatch shading technique.

Note that it’s just a bunch of parallel lines. That’s all it is.

When you have a reference drawing, simply either draw darker or have the lines closer together when the areas are darker. Or you can even cross the lines (which is called cross hatch shading, which is a different technique I’ll explain another day).

You’ll see what I did above. For the darker areas, I simply drew darker.

Don’t overthink this. Do what feels natural.

“Which direction do I draw the lines?”

This, is entirely up to you.

I did mostly diagonally or slightly diagonally. Do what feels right for you.

What looks right is right. There are no hard rules for single hatch shading.

Seriously, just try it and you learn by doing. The more you do it, the more natural it will feel.

Let’s take a side-by-side example

hatching (drawing technique) example
Example of hatching (shading technique)

This is a friend’s leg at a beach. She wore a bikini but I only wanted to show her leg.

On the right, you have a five minute sketch with hatching.

I’ll explain to you what’s going on. You’ll notice that there are multiple levels of shading on her leg. The darkest is on the far left. Thus, I simply drew with more pressure on the left, then added a second lighter layer of hatching on the left side so it looks like the shading tapered off a little bit.

That’s all there is to it. I prefer to hatch slightly diagonally. You can hatch any way you want. Whatever feels and/or looks right to you is the right way to do it. It if feels or looks wrong, try it differently.

Don’t overthink this. Just do it.

I did this exercise in less than five minutes. I simply drew her leg then did some hatching.

You can do this with an apple. Or a pear. Or a friend.

Simply draw it without shading and then add some hatching.

The more you practice this, the better you’ll get at it.

And once again, there is no wrong way to hatch. If it feels right to you, it’s good hatching.


Categories: Art technique

1 Comment

Hatching part II – Roman Riva Art · October 7, 2022 at 8:31 am

[…] wrote an intro to hatching last week. It’s a simple shading […]

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