Cross-Hatching

Cross-hatching is a form of shading where lines are drawn at overlapping 90 degree angles to create dark shadows. Cross-hatching can be drawn in many different ways to communicate a certain style. Typically cross-hatching is drawn with the lines at precise 90 degree angles but it can be altered to convey a rushed, frenzied, or patterned shadow.

Zoomed shot of the cover art on Before Watchmen - Comedian Rorschach. Image source: DC Comics
Figure 1. Zoomed shot of the cover art on Before Watchmen – Comedian / Rorschach. Cross-hatching is used to create depth in the image of Comedian’s face. Image source: DC Comics

For example a cross-hatching technique is employed on the cover of Before Watchmen – Comedian / Rorschach by Brian Azzarello. The cross-hatching in the corners of the eyes is used to create depth in the image and emphasize the highlights. [Here, the emphasis should be on the artist and not the writer. Before Watchmen Comedian and Before Watchmen Rorschach were two different titles that were combined in a single hardcover collection. I’m pretty sure that this image is from the hardcover collection. This information should help you figure out who the cover artist is.] 

In Sandman Vol. 1 “Sleep of the Just” by Neil Gaiman [emphasis should be on the artist in this paragraph] the panel when Dream escapes uses cross-hatching to illustrate Dream’s thin figure and also to shadow the faces of the men who wake up after dream leaves. [Provide more context here. Remember that your typical reader will not know who these characters are and (s)he will not understand who Dream is. You just need one sentence that contextualizes the example a bit further.]

A panel from Sandman
Figure 2. A panel from Sandman “Sleep of the Just” by Neil Gaiman and artist. Cross-hatching is used to highlight Dream’s figure. Image Source: Cite the original comic here. 

The cross-hatching used on Dream emphasizes the contrast of the bright light coming from the portal to his realm and the shadows created by the movement of his body.

Panel from Cable & Deadpool #30 showing Deadpool and Daredevil fighting. Cross-hatching is extensively used to highlight movement and muscles. Image Source: Reddit.
Panel from Cable & Deadpool #30 showing Deadpool and Daredevil fighting. Cross-hatching is extensively used to highlight movement and muscles. Image Source: Cite the original comic here.

Cross-hatching is mostly seen when shadowing muscles of characters. It can be used to create definition that would otherwise be hard to show using black shadow.

In this panel from Cable & Deadpool #30 by Fabian Nicieza cross-hatching is used on both Deadpool and Daredevil to illustrate movement and muscle definition. Provide more context for the example, and identify the artist. Is there anything else you can say about cross-hatching here? 


REFERENCES

References should be sources that flesh out the concept of cross-hatching, not your comic book sources. You should move these citations to the image captions, and track down one or two quality sources that flesh out the concept of cross-hatching.

If you’re having a hard time finding other sources or figuring out other things to say here, you might look for interviews with comic artists about their thoughts on cross-hatching and how it factors into their work. Or perhaps you could explain the difference between hatching and cross hatching? 

Azzarello, B., & Jones, J. (2014). Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach. DC Comics.
Gaiman, N., & Thompson, J. (2008). The Absolute Sandman (Vol. 1). New York, N.Y.: DC Comics.
Nicieza, F., & Brooks, M. (2004). Cable & Deadpool (Direct ed.). New York: Marvel Comics.