25 Days to Better Drawings: Shading with Line

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Lesson Description

Learn how to apply the concept of cross contour lines to shading using hatching and cross hatching. In this exercise, we create a drawing of a pepper with pen and ink and finish the drawing with hatching and cross hatching.

Lesson Materials

Graphite drawing pencil, white drawing paper, technical drawing pens, and a kneaded eraser.

Lesson Resources

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Lesson Discussion

  1. Agreed! Ellipses and cross-hatching ended up being much more difficult than I would have thought. What I love about this series is it doesn’t take anything it teaches for granted–the fundamentals are so clearly explained without being condescending or glossed over. I’ve heard of all these concepts before but I finally feel like they’re coming together for the first time instead of pieced together from some draw-a-picture-in-five-easy-steps manual or from the tips on the back of a colored pencil box. Thanks again!

  2. Wauw, a bit more difficult with the inkt pen but interesting. I need to be carefull to keep looking to the example instead of Matt’s drawing, because it’s easier to replicatie from a drawing than from an object. So now and then I try to stop the video in order to only concentrate on the object. Looking forward to the next days! thanks matt!

  3. I think this is my first successful cross hatching. Because This is the first time I actually knew what I was doing while I was drawing and not expecting some artistic intuition from nowhere. I’m really happy with my drawing!

  4. hello again – have completed my capsicum drawing – i found the hatching for form a little challenging as I usually draw with graphite tona variation to do this. But I like the different outcome.

  5. Matt,
    This was an excellent lesson. Your instructions were very clear and this lesson combined with the contours lesson really gave me a good understanding of how to place the hatching. Thank you!

  6. Enjoying everything a have learnt so far in this course, thanks for presenting the concepts in such a clear achievable way. Looking forward to the next lesson. Thanks again. Angel

  7. Matt,
    I’m Learning more on drawing . I started Plein Air and soon realized I need some more drawing help !
    Thank you for all you’ve done to encourage us and teach us the correct way to learn.

  8. Matt,
    I am really enjoying this course. I am a beginner and appreciate that these are following a logical steps. I am starting to grasp value of lines for shape and shading. I am uncomfortable using pen so use graphite only for the hatching and cross hatching. Is that okay?
    Thank you for creating these courses. I am looking forward to doing several Moe when I finish this one.


  9. Matt,

    This is a great course; I feel more comfortable with each exercise and my drawings actually look pretty decent – thanks to your instructions.

  10. I do not “get” what determines the broken lines, for instance, in the first pen and ink application of the contour drawing. Why are broken lines used coming out of the parts of the stem? And why are broken lines used in the “divisions” of form around the pepper and the broken lines are different lengths? Could you please explain?

  11. This is great, Matt. A real breakthrough for me, thanks to your clarity and gentle approach. I was traumatized by an art teacher in junior high school and so I’ve always been afraid of drawing. I’m 69 years old now, and finally ready to screw up my courage and give it a try. Your course is really helping me to overcome the fear and to actually enjoy the process. I can see that with the understanding you are imparting, I’ll be able to do better and better over time. Thank you so much for this life-changing experience. You rock!


  12. So far, the day I’ve struggled with the most is the curves and elipses 😅 Dear god I was struggling with my patience! This course has definitely expanded my knowledge so far. I can’t wait to get to the end and test myself. I have no doubt it’ll improve! I’m just worried I’ll stress out before then jejeje

  13. Hi Matt, when you are hatching the pepper, I see sometimes you break a line into several sections. Do you do it randomly or do you follow some rules?

    • Hi Luting,

      No rules here. I’m just trying to break up the line is areas to allow more of the white of the paper to show through. This produces a slightly lighter appearance. A solid line would be darker.

  14. Natt,

    Thanks for this great course. I have seen a noticeable improvement in my drawing since I started the 25 Day course. I was able to get the shape, cross contour and hatching lines in place so that the drawing actually looks like a green pepper! However, I struggled a lot with the stem area. I will try that part of the drawing again just to be able show the depth and curves of that part.

  15. Hi Matt
    I notice that at the bottom of the sphere where it is the darkest shading, you leave a white thin area. I did not do this and it was hard to differentiate the sphere from the cast shadow. Could you explain this process.
    Thank you

  16. Hi Matt,
    love it!!!
    You are doing so great in explaining each and every step over and over again while directing through the course. I wish, I would have had a teacher like you at school. Just followed the first sections so fare and can already see progress in my scetches.
    Thank you so much!

  17. I found today’s lesson rather challenging, confident in getting the shape and contour of the pepper (capsicum here in Australia!) but once I tried to hatch, well it looked more like the surface of a kiwi fruit. Hairy! I may need to rewatch it but I’m disheartened I couldn’t really comprehend today’s lesson

  18. This clears up so much for me when it comes to drawing (for example) rocks. I am certain that I will be more able to determine planes and use contour lines and hatching to show those planes and the change is direction of those planes. If this sounds like I know what I am doing, then I have misled you 🙂
    I am rubbish but perhaps less so now.

  19. Just love everything in these lessons, it’s great to have someone so good at what they do show us step by step, I am surprised I am able to keep up, thank you for this Jan

  20. I want to redo the pepper exercise, because my finished drawing is ugly. One reason is that I used a thicker pen than in the example. I have a motley assortment(Penstix, Micron, Faber Castell Pitt and Pigma). Probably my Micron .01 is the closest one. Also, I want to experiment with using the full size reference photo rather than the thumbnail formatted with the lesson. All in all, and excellent lesson!

  21. All I can say is “wow”. Your rendition is worthy of being framed. That was such an amazing exercise. I’ve never seen anything drawn using pen with hatching and the effect is absolutely amazing. The further I got, the happier I became. For some reason though, I always struggle getting the cast shadow to look realistic. It ends up looking messy. I think also because it’s at the end of the exercise, I tend to rush through it (also because I dread doing cast shadows, so I want to skip past it as quickly as possible). Overall, am pretty chuffed at my capsicum drawing though. Thanks Matt. You’re a legend!

  22. I just finished the first 7 lessons and am very happy with what I am learning and how the material is being taught. I’m actually proud of the way my green onion came out. Thank you for the lessons.

  23. Matt, your lessons are just amazing. I was always disappointed with my pen drawings and I could never figure out what’s wrong with them. Turns out I never noticed that I am supposed to follow the form with the lines instead just adding the shades with straight lines. Dead simple thing what you won’t get until someone tells you. I had to fetch some other stuff lying around to sketch them, to believe it’s really this simple and quick.

  24. Hi Matt. Just had to tell you that I’ve been drawing for years, I’m 67, but with no tuition (except a little at school). I’ve loved drawing but never been passionate about it. I can now say that that is changing. Your instructions on drawing shapes from the shoulder has been a revelation. My spheres and circles are the best I’ve ever done and the ease of drawing the pepper was amazing. However, I’ve never cross hatched before and that is going to take a lot of practice to get that right. Looking forward to many hours of drawing.

  25. Thank you for another lesson that is stretching my artistic wings! Although I have several books on pen and ink drawing, I seem to do better when I see someone actually doing the work, instead of a finished picture. It is a TREMENDOUS help to have you explain step by step. I do go back and watch and listen the second and third time if necessary. I was pleased with my pepper, even if the bottom is a little lopsided. Most real peppers are! I almost stopped with the hatching. I was afraid that I would mess it up with the cross hatching, but I gently started cross hatching, and was glad I did. You are an excellent teacher! Keep up the Great Job!

  26. I started on the green pepper, but I didn’t finish it. Very unsatisfactory. I try to remind myself that Matt was just starting out too one time. I am afraid I am not very good at cross-hatching. My pepper is also disproportionate. But the shape isn’t really that bad. It is the cross-hatching.

  27. I am finishing up on my green pepper. Sorry to take so long. Life happens.
    I too am 69 years old, and I too am sorry that I took so long to get back into drawing. I have no artistic skill to speak of, but have been told I am an artist. I am an INFP, if any of you know what that means. I continue to be drawn back into drawing, but unfortunately, not enough. My green pepper is looking better with the cross-hatching.

  28. No matter what I did I could not get the ellipse and instead just making it a mess! I was getting frustrated and stopped after about 3 messy attempts then i sat there and stared at it, and thought, and thought ” How can I complete this using shapes?” and it dawned at me it was clear maybe for me the ellipse wasn’t the best approach. I just saw different shapes than Matt. The Bell peppers was a Hexagon while the stem inside was a pentagon. once I figured that out I was able to complete the basic shape then go back over it and define the curves.. and it looks Exceptionally close to the bell pepper now. hope My experience assists others who are struggling with the ellipse method and I Hope that does not veer from the core of this exercise. I would Love to have Matt’s Insight on this discovery of mine.

  29. Hi Matt, I just want to tell you how much I love these lessons! I have never taken a course that was so clear and easy to understand as yours. It has given me a new found confidence to venture into other avenues with my art outside of graphite drawings. I have decided to give the “Train” live lesson with Ink and Watercolor a try. Wish me luck!
    Thanks again!

    • Hi Laurie!

      Thanks for your comments! I’m so glad to hear of the confidence you’re gaining. Confidence, or lack thereof, keeps us from so many wonderful experiences in life!

  30. Hello Matt, My first memory of art was a copy of a Norman Rockwell magazine cover. From that moment on I knew I wanted to create art. A lot of circumstances prevented that (and unfortunately art teachers in school didn’t really want to instruct on anything specific). Fast forward 50 years and I stumbled upon your lesson. Your curriculum is amazing and through your course I am gaining my skillset again – and loving every moment of it!

  31. Hi Matt,
    I always struggle with cast shadows: they end up being directionally crooked or the wrong size. Is there some way to determine the proportionality of an object’s shadow?

  32. I’ve been using pencil (very fine and lightly) for the contours and cross contours, then I adjust the lines, as needed. Once I’m satisfied with the result, I go over the lines with the pen. Erase the pencil marks after the pen dries. Then I go on to hatching and cross hatching again with pencil, which allows me to practice and correct. Finish with pen and erase the pencil marks. This is working now for me, until I become more confident with the pen.

  33. I intended to only use pencil in drawing, but Matt has introduced me to pen and I really like the results. Now I’m considering pen and colored pencils perhaps, in my future?

  34. In all my years (off and on) of drawing, I have never heard of shadow vanishing points (from an earlier inquiry and response). So helpful in having another construct to figure out how the shadow should look when needing that information. Thanks Matt, for your course. I am so glad to have found your YouTube video to lead me to your course. I really like the instructional style and format of teaching this information.

  35. I always wondered why my previous attempts at hatching and cross hatching never looked quite right. Now, I know. It’s all about following te cross contour lines. Thanks for a great, informative lesson .

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