In four decades of writing about art, this is the first book I’ve seen solely devoted to the technique of cross hatching. You might think that it’s something that really only needs to be covered in a more general book about drawing, and you would be partly right because this is, in fact, a more general book than the title implies.
That’s not to say it’s running a false flag, but rather that any technique is only as valuable as the results it produces and August Lamm has the good sense to set her narrative in a wider context. Let’s say, therefore, that this is a book about drawing where cross hatching is the primary feature.
The main purpose of hatching is to create shade, emphasise detail and enhance shape in monochrome line work. This can be anything from simple shapes to still lifes, landscape and portraiture and figure work. It is those latter that form the bulk of what is presented here, although still lifes are used as conveniently simple initial exercises and the examples of landscape work well-chosen and informative.
The examples and exercises use both simple and more complex techniques, along with wash and inking where necessary. The cover illustration (I think a self-portrait) gives a good example of the sort of work than can be produced. August is also very sound on the basics of facial structure and the proportions of the figure, adding a perhaps unexpected dimension that increases the book’s broader appeal.
There is much to like here. A thorough introduction to hatching cannot but be welcomed, but the wider consideration of drawing methods provides a completeness that makes for a worthwhile and thought-provoking read.
Click the picture to view on Amazon