Thursday, 28 November 2013

Cross Hatching

Glamourpuss #15 (September 2010)
Art by Dave Sim
(from Comic Book Daily, 12 July 2011)
Cross hatching is like a bottomless pit. You can go finer and finer and finer with the pen. I’m already training myself to use an absolutely brand new Hunt 102 pen nib so it's the absolute sharpest it can get. Then you can do vertical, horizontal. Then you go 'if I just do one diagonal it'll look so much better.' And then you get that done and you go 'if I just do the other diagonal it’ll look so much better'. And now I’m going how do you get in between the diagonal and the horizontal and that’s when you know you've pretty much lost your mind...

...I got the first [diamond ring] done and I went - 'no no no this is billionaire diamond rings'. So I took the nicest diamond ring and I enlarged it about 20 or 30 per cent, just the gem, and kept the ring the same size.

That's one of the processes of discovery that went on with Glamourpuss, finding out stuff that is really cool to draw in the Al Williamson, Stan Drake, Neal Adams sense. Diamond rings is one because of all the facets the more you copy. Here's the grey area so you cross hatch that. Here are the sharp reflections so you put that in black. Same thing with the perfume bottles. Man, now I know why women like perfume bottles - some of those are just absolute works of art in themselves, you look at it and go that would look really good -- Ya, but it'll also take about a day and a half to get all those facets in there. Sometimes it's worth it, sometimes it's not. I haven't done a perfume bottle in a while -- thanks for reminding me. I will do a perfume bottle coming up real soon...

Glamourpuss #3 (September 2008)
Art by Dave Sim


Anonymous said...

I know someone's gonna say it, so let me be the first: for absolutely great cross-hatching -- delineating form, texture, and light -- check out Gerhard's work on Cerebus.

-- Damian T. Lloyd, mls

Dave Kopperman said...

The thing with cross-hatching is that it's the perfect solution for some textures (glass, diamond), less well-suited for others (metals). It works well in the former case because you're dealing with multiple surfaces of varying levels of transparency - the hatch lets you build up tones gradually and conveys depth at the same time.

It doesn't work as well on the highly smooth and reflective metal of the rings, because it inadvertently adds a roughness and texture to the surface. The smooth solid black and the simple parallel lines on the fourth ring and the 'arms' of the first ring are far more effective at conveying the way light reacts in that case.

It always bothers me with Dave's work because otherwise, he's so masterful with the medium. It's weird to see him constantly fail to correct what I think of as being a pretty simple and easily rectified error.

M Kitchen said...

My daughter owns the original piece of Dave Sim art for the bottom right ring in that image. What a lucky girl.