ANDY FISH is a comic book artist

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Drawing Tips: INKING Techniques

CROSS HATCHING is an effective inking technique that when used correctly adds a great finished look to your work.  When I was taking inking classes in art school they would make us FILL an 11x17 art board with dark to light cross hatch-- and if you had ONE hook you had to do the whole thing over again.  THE WHOLE THING.

A hook is created when your brush or pen catches the paper on your return so that rather than have a clean straight line (as in examples #1-3 above) you would have a line with a hook on the end as in this example:
HOOKS (left)  vs NON HOOKS (right)
The reason was that hooking appears messy and as one professor told me "It's the epitome of laziness!"
Correct cross hatching as I teach my students involves clean straight strokes.  In the sample at the top of the page we see four styles of hatching.

1. Single hatch lines-- which are called "feathering"-- again-- the ends should be sharp.
2. Crossed lines -- two sets of line that intersect -- say it with me-- the ends should be sharp.  This creates the cross in cross hatched.
3. If we add in a third or fourth line to the mix we get a denser form of hatching.  This effect is more organic (meaning messy).
4. Patch Hatching-- this effect is very clean and provides more a sense of pattern and and texture than it does form, but a nice effect to master.  The lines are drawn evenly spaced in one direction in a small square area, then in a 90 degree change for the next square, then repeat.

Mastering inking is something that challenges all artists.  Whether you work in pen, quill or brush is a personal choice-- but I can tell you that I work almost exclusively with a #2 round brush and I can ink a page in 1/3 the time someone with a pen can.