Chicken Scratch / Paper to Tablet

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  05 May 2014
Chicken Scratch / Paper to Tablet

Hello, I've been learning how to draw alone recently and I have
two questions:


1) Scratchy lines

When I was younger I saw many drawings which had multiple lines on top
of one another and I thought "man, that looks so professional..." even
tho I could never appreciate them fully because I prefer clear
images. Back then I had no experience with drawing at all, but now
that I'm starting to learn I see a lot of "avoid chicken scratch"
warnings written everywhere. I have no problem with that, I don't like
scratchy lines and I never repeat lines (I may very well erase them
and do them again tho), but the thing is that I see many artists (and
often very good ones IMO (what do I know...)), using this kind of

Take this work for instance. It is very pretty, and looks very good,
and yet there are lines EVERYWHERE!

Maybe I'm just misinterpreting what these people are doing, maybe
they just want thicker lines? The way I see it is that chicken scratch
is used in order to avoid committing to a full line, but am I being
naive here? Is there really a reason to draw like this besides
ineptitude insurance?

I confess, even tho I'm very comfortable with using one line only
I sometimes break a line accidentally when I'm afraid (then I
proceed to erase it and do it normally when I notice of course).

Keep in mind that I know these are sketches, but even then I just
see no reason for multiple lines.


2) Pencil and paper to tablet

I'm currently practicing using pencil and paper. Eventually I want to
move on to digital art, but at the moment I'm not in the position to
buy a decent tablet (I'm a young student and I don't have all that
much disposable income). There is something that worries me tho:

How hard is it to make the switch? My main concern is that when you're
drawing in paper you're looking at your own hand, while in a tablet
you are not. Is it hard to map your hand motions "at a distance", or
does it come naturally to most people? I hope I made myself clear with
this question, I don't really know how to explain it...


I didn't know if I should've made two threads for this, but I don't
want to pollute so I decided to put everything under this thread.

Thank you for the attention and, in advance, for all the help
  05 May 2014
The "chicken scratch" or multiple lines as you've called them are more commonly known as cross hatching an extension of Hatching - a shading technique used by artists to highlight surface details when affected by light. For example your image a "rough" quick caricature in three quarter portrait view, note the diagonal and horizontal lines on the clothing and facial areas.

By simple hand pressure the artist achieves the 3D illusion of depth in light to dark tonal values when surfaces are cast in shadow. This drawing method is often used by both pro cartoonist's and illustrators to prep/rough out work when working within tight deadlines. Hatching is very old, in fact centuries - most notably the 14th century Renaissance period, the Masters Michelangelo, Da Vinci both employed this technique when developing their masterpieces.

As to transitioning to digital via a Wacom tablet, yes takes some practice at the start, depending on skill level but not an arduous process. I have a Wacom Bambo Pen the least expensive at AUS$99, the device's settings are useful to map pen to image editor feature sets [Potoshop CS6], so anyways hope the comments were helpful.

Cheers ;)
I like criticism, but it must be my way. - Mark Twain

Last edited by sacboi : 05 May 2014 at 10:50 AM.
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