I am currently working on a pen and ink drawing in which there is a large portion that I want filled with a flat dark tone. I don’t quite want full-on black, so rather than paint in the area with ink, I am building up the tone through cross-hatching. This takes much, much longer than simply flooding the area with ink. It takes a lot of time to build up the dark value, and meticulous attention to maintain a consistent texture. But it’s worth it because it yields a different character than flat black. In this particular example, I have used a metal-nibbed dip pen, which I don’t normally use for cross hatching. I would normally use a technical pen, or a fine nylon-tipped pen. Each has it’s pros and cons. The former has a nice consistent line, and uses good black India ink, but a tech pen that thin tends to clog and skip. The latter is very fine, but the line never seems as black as I would like it, and the line gets weaker over time. For the dip pen, I use an India that I really like. It is very black, very opaque, and has just the right balance of flow and viscosity. But, when cross hatching, the pen has a tendency to produce some blobs and dollops of ink amid the chicken scratch pen strokes. I’m not sure if I like it, but I won’t really know until I am done. And that is really the point of this post. I am not done with what I was working on today. So, here is just a portion of it.