Hatching (or hauchure in French) is a technique similar to cross-hatching in which the artist uses closely placed parallel lines to express shadow, texture, or value in an image. The quantity, thickness, and spacing of these lines affect the lightness or darkness of the hatched space. Depending on how close or far one places the lines, hatching can achieve a full range of value from light to dark. By curving the hatch lines around a form, one can create the illusion of volume in a drawing. Hatching has been a technique in art for centuries but can be seen in many comic books, particularly golden age comics and, but can be found in more contemporary comics as well, particularly in manga. Hatching is commonly used to define the muscles of superheroes, heroines, and other creatures, such as Wonder Woman’s horse, depicted on the right.
On the cover of Wonder Woman #1 (see Figure 1), hatching is used to create texture on the ground, to define the horse’s muscles, and on the clothing of the men at the bottom of the image. Here, it is predominantly used as a form of shading and definition of shape.
In a panel from World’s Finest #153 (see Figure 2), hatching is used in a similar manner, to shade and define Batman’s muscles and costume, along with Robin’s cape.
In Daniel Clowe’s David Boring (see Figure 3), hatching is used to shade God’s nose and face. In the bottom right image, hatching is used to imply sky and clouds. Interestingly, these clouds are only implied. They are not contained in solid lines, requiring closure on the part of the viewer, to see the clouds among the hatched lines.
In One Punch Man, hatching is used to imply shadow, and contributes to a gradual change of light to dark on OPM’s cape.
(Figure 4) Much of the shading and detail work present in these panels from One Punch Man is created through a combination of hatching and cross-hatching, for example, One Punch Man’s shadow, the shading of his cape, and the muscle tone of the 10-pack abbed monster,Vaccine Man, who has just destroyed parts of the city. Image source: Usuke Murata, ONE Comics. (2012) ONE Comics. Sueisha Inc.”One Punch Man.” Issue #1. p 17
Clowes, D. (2000). David Boring. New York: Pantheon Books.
Fussel, M. (2015). Hatching and Cross Hatching. The Virtual Instructor. Retrieved September, 2015.
Hamilton, E. & C. Swain, (1965) World’s Finest Comics. The Saga of Superman Versus Batman. vol. 1 #153 (November).
Figure #3. Hatching is seen in the top left panel in the shading of God’s face, and in the bottom right panel in the sky and the clouds. source: Clowes, D. (2000). David Boring. New York: Pantheon Books.
Peter, H. G. (1942) Wonder Woman #1 (Summer).
Usuke Murata, ONE Comics. (2012) ONE Comics. Sueisha Inc.”One Punch Man.” Issue #1. p 17