JULY 12–DECEMBER 13, 2020

Drawing Technique


Odilon Redon (French, 1840–1916), Study of a Man's Back and a Melancholy Angel (detail), 1865. Graphite on paper, 11 1/2 × 8 3/4 in. Clark Art Institute, Gift of David Jenness, in honor of Arthur F. Jenness (Professor, Williams College, 1946–1963), 2016.7

A linear method for creating shading and modeling, hatching consists of fine, closely laid parallel lines drawn onto paper. The length, number, and concentration of the lines affects the value, or degree of lightness or darkness, of a hatched area. Lines spaced widely apart describe light, as the tone of the paper is left unworked; lines closer in proximity to one another create a darker value. The direction of the strokes determines the illusion of form. When an artist draws one or more networks of hatched lines over another set at an angle the process is called cross-hatching. This technique creates a sense of texture or shade without blending or otherwise manipulating the media.


Isidore Pils (French, 1813 or 1815–1875), Head of an Arab (detail), c. 1860s. Black and white chalk on paper, 11 1/4 × 12 3/8 in. Clark Art Institute, Gift of Herbert and Carol Diamond, 2017.10.7

Heightening refers to the technique of brightening the value of an area of drawing with a white or pale-colored medium to complete the depiction of form. Natural chalk and watercolor containing opaque fillers, such as powdered chalk or zinc oxide, traditionally have been used to heighten drawings after the use of darker media, such as black chalk, charcoal, or ink.


Nadar (French, 1820–1910), Portrait of Dantan Jeune (detail), c. 1854. Charcoal with stumping, heightened with gouache, on paper, 9 3/8 × 6 1/8 in. Clark Art Institute, Gift of Herbert and Carol Diamond, 2018.11.12

A stump or tortillon is a small, cylindrical drawing tool made from tightly rolled felt, leather, or paper with cone-shaped or rounded ends. Stumping refers to the technique of smoothing or blending lines drawn using dry media, such as chalk, charcoal, Conté crayon, graphite, or pastel, with this tool. Stumping, which allows finer, more controlled blending than the use of one’s fingertip, manipulates dry media by moving it across the paper; the term erasing is used when an implement removes the media.