How to Draw Textures

There are really not many tricks for drawing textures. You can use the texture of your paper to help you create some of them but, in the end, you still have to draw them as they are. When I want to draw a large area of texture, I go about it in the same way no matter what the texture is. Here is a brief explanation of how I do it:

1.    I look for and draw the underlying values first. These are the values I see if I squint my eyes and blur the whole scene. They are not precise and I usually lay them down with powdered graphite and a brush, because they don’t have to be exact.
2.    Next I refine the darkest value shapes in a more precise way but not quite as detailed as they really are yet. At this point, these darkest value shapes still remain a bit blurred and indistinct in my drawing.
3.    Then I use my eraser to lift the brightest highlights without worrying too much about their exact shapes either.
4.    Next, I work in the subtle dark value shapes. I draw them precisely and I go back and refine the darkest value shapes, too.
5.    Finally, I add the subtle highlight areas and shape the brightest highlight details.

As you can see, I work back and forth and from dark to light. Each round of working back and forth between shadow and highlight brings those details into sharper focus.

All textures can be broken down into value and shape. Take your time, learn to really see, and work from general to specific.

Texture

Texture

More about my layered texture technique.

Simplified Texture Technique

Simplified Texture Technique

Here’s a simplified version of the technique.

Other Things You Might Like:

About Carol

I'm an artist, an accidental author, and lover of life. I grew up in Yorktown, Indiana, and I've been writing (and drawing) this website since 1999.
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2 Responses to How to Draw Textures

  1. shaheer says:

    what is texture

    • Carol says:

      Hi shaheer,

      Any surface has a texture. A metal surface is smooth, some cat fur is fluffy, dogs with short hair look smooth, and so on.

      Now for the tricky part.

      The farther away from things you are, the more everything can be seen as a texture. So, a meadow looks like a mass of short and tall weeds with many textures when you’re standing in the middle of it, but from a distance the same patch of meadow has an over-all texture.

      This gets a bit confusing when drawing because our minds “know” that a meadow is made of short and tall grass and we try to draw it that way when in reality, depending on the distance, it could look very smooth and not “weedy” or multi-textured at all.

      And that leads us to first rule of drawing realistically.

      Drawing Rule No. 1 – Draw what you see and not what you think you see.

      I like to draw most textures by filling the area with a medium value hatch, and then adding the shadows and erasing the highlights.

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