Here’s a wonderful Old Master copy created by one of the students here at the studio. It’s a copy of a drawing by 18th century French artist Jean-Baptiste Greuze. Creating copies of works by great artists is an excellent way to learn.
By replicating the work, one comes to a greater understanding of how to use the graphic language of line, shape, colour, value, etc. to convey three dimensional form. It’s a very valuable learning experience and vastly superior to using photographs as references.
One of the real identifying qualities of Greuze’s drawings is his use of hatching to help create volume and form in his representations. In the example above, the linear quality of the red chalk used is helping to define the anatomical volumes of the face by crossing over them. Each line’s path travels over the face, neck, and hair as if they were features on a topographical map. By doing this, the fleshy forms really have the appearance of bulging outward.
Try this on your own. The next time you are “shading” something, see if you can help describe the volumes surface through the use of linear hatching.