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Crosshatching is a technique used in sketching where you create crisscrossing pencil marks to create shadow or darker values. There are a few reasons why I crosshatch when I sketch in my sketchbook.

1. It teaches you to layer. The more you crosshatch over an area the darker it gets. So if you start with an H pencil and crosshatch in an area, then go over it again and crosshatch with a B pencil the value gets darker and you still retain that nice crosshatching look. You’ll learn the more pressure you apply to pencils (especially B pencils), and more you layer the darker you can get. I find that a common weakness in drawing is contrast. A lot of times people can’t get their pencils to be dark enough in the darkest areas. Crosshatching can allow you to get to that dark point.


2. Crosshatching gives you a stylized look. Everyone will approach crosshatching a little different. Some will have more spacing between their lines, some will use diagonal lines, some will use horizontal, or directional lines. The fact that we will all combine crosshatching with our own line work will give each person their own look. Start combining crosshatching with smudge sticks (which we will get to later in sketchbook diaries) and you’ll get an even more stylized look.


3. It makes you evaluate shadow and choose your pencils wisely. Crosshatching is kind of therapeutic. It’s a repetitive motion, so its kind of easy to do in a way because you can easily go on autopilot. This makes you look at shadows more closely. Should I use an H pencil for this shadow or a B, is it dark or is it light? You start asking yourself those questions more and more, as you look at the next place to crosshatch in your drawing.

So pull out that sketchbook and start crosshatching. It’s a fun technique, but an important one that will help you understand shadow, value and layering. Watch the new episode below!