09 Pablo Picasso – Crosshatching

I lived too far away to spend much lap-time with Dougie, so I wrote him these letters.


Hi Dougie,

This is a picture Pablo Picasso drew of a young lady.  

Do you see how Picasso made her hair and the area around her face dark? Whenever a group of straight lines all going one way cross another group of straight lines gong a different way, they will make the drawing darker.

Crossing lines like this is called “Crosshatching.”

Do you remember the picture by Ben Shahn of the shopping carts?

Do you see that wherever the lines cross, the picture is darker? That’s crosshatching.

Crosshatching was used for hundred of years whenever artists wanted to make a shadow or a part of their picture darker. 

Pablo Picasso wanted to make his picture look like one of the old drawings, so he used crosshatching.

Did you ever try crosshatching? Let’s try it now.

First draw a box. Start with a square.

When drawing a square try to make the up and down lines perfectly straight up and down. Make them match. Up and down lines are called verticals. Do the same with the lines going left and right. Make them flat and straight. Make them match. Lines going left and right are called horizontals.

Now draw three lines from three corners. Make them all go exactly the same way–slanting to the right.

Be sure they are all going the same way. Don’t make them look like this:

But like this:


Now add a horizontal on top, and a vertical on the right side to finish the box. Be sure the horizontal matches the other horizontals, and the vertical matches the other verticals. When you make them match, you may find that some of the lines go past the corners.

That OK. We’ll erase them.

Now we can start crosshatching. A slanting line is called a diagonal. Draw lots of diagonal lines on the front and the side of the box. When lines go the same way they are called parallel. Try hard to make all your diagonal lines parallel.

Now comes the fun part, the actual crosshatching. Make more diagonal lines, only this time make them go the opposite way of your first diagonals, and make them only on the front of the box, not on the side.

You just did you first crosshatching! Do you see how it looks like the light is shining on the top of the box, and some light, not as bright, is shining on the right side, and that the front is in shadow?

Go back and look at how Picasso did it. Do you see his lines are not all perfectly straight? And do you see how he made some parts darker with extra lines?

We can do that with our box too, to make it look a bit more real. 

Now try to do crosshatching in ink.  Then you’ll be drawing, not only like Pablo Picasso, but like the old masters.






About majchr

Majora Christo
This entry was posted in Art, Children & Art, Drawing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 09 Pablo Picasso – Crosshatching

  1. susan Miller says:

    I happened across this when researching Picasso drawings…it’s a lovely lesson and post

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