Directional Hatching and Cross Contour Figure Drawing
By Ed Hall
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Plane and Contour in Figure Drawing
Ed Hall, licensed to About.com, Inc.
When setting out to draw the figure, thinking about form, and the planes that wrap around to shape that form, can help to develop a strong, three-dimensional quality in the drawing. Contour lines are used to initially “map” out the topography (or planes) of the figure. And it is important to remember that each of these planes has a distinct value, because each is hit by light at a different angle. It can take some practice to learn to identify these planes. Once you’ve trained your eye to recognize and differentiate between planes on the figure, one of the best ways to start defining figurative form is through the use of directional hatching. Most people refer to this as “cross-hatching,“ but I like to make a distinction here. The two are related, but slightly different.