Young Artist’s 'Hatching' Drawings Gain Fame On Social Media

hat started as a therapy to cure her insomnia helped a young woman find fame on social media.   

Artist Khairunnisa Mohd Izham, 24, popularly known as Khai, specialises in using the hatching technique to come up with unique and attractive sketches and drawings that landed her a sizeable fan following on her Instagram and TikTok accounts.

Her income from the sales of the original and printed versions of her works has also motivated her to focus fully on her artistic career although she has a degree in medical sciences from Management and Science University (MSU).

Khairunnisa Mohd Izham with some of her drawings.

Hatching (derived from the French word hachure) is an artistic style that is used to create tonal or shading effects by drawing closely spaced parallel lines. When two or more sets of parallel lines cross one another, it is called crosshatching.

The main concept of using the hatching technique is to indicate shading, with the intensity of the effect being achieved by the number of lines used and their thickness and proximity to one another.



Khai, who resides in Ipoh, Perak, told Bernama when she started sketching in 2018, she did it purely for fun and relaxation purposes but little did she realise her works will make her famous on social media.

“I was interested in art since young but never really took it seriously. In 2018 when I was in university, I had insomnia and found it difficult to sleep. I then saw a doctor who advised me to pursue an activity that can relax my mind. That was when I took to sketching,” she said.

Malaysian pen artist, Khairunissa love to draw buildings and landscapes.

She found herself drawn towards using the hatching and crosshatching technique as it made her feel calm and relaxed. Khai is glad she followed her doctor’s advice – all that sketching not only helped her to beat insomnia but also enabled her to discover and hone her talent in that particular drawing style.

Today, she has no regrets about the career path she chose as her success as an artist is evident in the number of followers she has on her TikTok account. Since becoming active on TikTok two years ago, she has accumulated over 225,000 followers while the videos of her works have garnered over four million “likes”.

“When I first started using this (hatching) technique, I focused mainly on sketching buildings. I produced my first proper sketch, of a Victorian-style house, in February 2019,” she said, adding that she learned the finer points of the technique via videos posted on the Internet and social media by local and international artists.



Using a black-inked pigment pen to draw, Khai also applies various other techniques in her sketching to emphasise the linear element. This way, the shading aspect in all her works comes to the fore and this has now become her trademark as a hatching artist.

“It’s quite difficult to produce such drawings because we need to create the shape, parallel lines and cross lines. The lines can be vertical, horizontal or inclined.

“These lines can also be ‘adjusted’ to create the effects we want … for instance, when the parallel lines are drawn close to each other, it creates a darker effect while lines that have more space in between them create light tones,” explained Khai, whose father is a talented portrait artist.

Hatching, is an artistic technique used to create tonal or shading effects by drawing (or painting or scribing) closely spaced parallel lines.

She said it takes her four to five weeks to complete a drawing on an A2-sized canvas and up to three months on an A1-sized canvas.

“One has to be meticulous, patient and disciplined when drawing with a pen using the hatching technique as we will be forced to redo the whole thing if we make the slightest mistake,” she pointed out, adding that initially, she used charcoal, pencils, water colours and acrylic paints for her drawings but later switched to pens.

“Using a pen allows me to control my sketching and also makes my drawings look more alive, and it is also more suitable for this (hatching) technique.”  

Besides buildings, Khai also draws landscapes, trees and forests. Declining to provide details pertaining to the cost of her artworks, she said their prices are fixed based on their size, detailing and the amount of hard work that went into creating them.    

“Some of my works are worth thousands of ringgit each,” she said, adding that the toughest piece she has done to date is the drawing of Palazzo Carignano, a historical building in the city of Turin in Italy.

The most expensive drawing she has created so far is the one depicting Istana Jahar in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. She, however, refused to reveal its price tag.

On her impressive social media following, Khai said she never thought the creations of artists like her would receive an overwhelming response from the public.

“Perhaps not many know about this artistic style (hatching), so I guess when I started sharing my works on social media I indirectly introduced this concept to the general public.

Khairunnisa's first drawing is a Victorian style house, in February 2019

“I believe without the support of my social media followers, I will not be where I am today,” she said.

To showcase her talent, Khai has also started participating in art exhibitions and hopes to open her own gallery someday.

“I hope to travel to Europe as I want to draw their unique buildings,” she added.


Translated by Rema Nambiar








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