Drawing Textures

Learn how to draw textures in this drawing tutorial.

Knowing the different ways of drawing textures can add a new dimension to your drawings.

But what is texture? Essentially, the texture is the surface of an object. You can see the texture and you can feel the texture. Being able to communicate texture in your drawings will take your work to the next level.

As you go through this simple tutorial, note that you can essentially create these textures with drawing pens and drawing pencils.

Structure + Facture = Texture

What? Let's break this down…

Structure, which is about how the surface is constructed. For example, the structure of a piece of canvas is fibers that are wound and spun together.

Facture is the texture created by you, the artist. For instance, the way you draw with a pen or how you lay the paint on a surface.

Together, the structure and the facture creates texture. Essentially, the texture is the visible and tactile quality of a surface. Which you can see and feel. We touch an object. And we can feel an object.

Is it smooth or rough?

So how do we communicate the feeling of texture into what we see?

Basic tips for drawing textures

Frottage is a way to get texture from drawing over another surface. Just like you probably already have done with one piece of aluminum foil and a coin. You can also rub your paper on a bumpy surface to give your drawing more texture.

When you are drawing a texture you draw the shapes, tones, lines, and colors.

If you are a little more advanced with drawing, you can also keep in mind that light has a significant role in the drawing of the texture. How the light strokes the surface also has an effect on the texture of the surface. A bumpy surface has more shadows. If you practice this you will be able to draw the texture more realistically.

Combining pencil techniques 
Using a combination of pencil strokes, you can create a texture-rich drawing.

For example, small circular strokes were used to create the stonework.

Types of textures to draw

Hard surfaces
A hard, smooth surface such as metal or glass is reflective. Reflections are where the light hits the surface and bounces away. This creates sharp, crisp edges. Also, this creates contrasts of light and dark values.

Soft surfaces
A soft surface such as cloth or leaves absorbs the light, creating smooth transitions between highlights and shadows.

Rough surfaces
With rough surfaces, pay attention to how the light hits less of the surface. Notice how there is less reflected light, This creates softer gradations in values. Notice how in rougher textures there are deeper dips and nooks. For example, rough surfaces such as tree bark, have many long and narrow ridges. Which catches the light in the higher areas. The dark areas behind the lighter areas make the lighter highlights pop more.

How to create common textures.

Clouds and skies
Clouds are soft and cottony. Behind them is a smooth sky. The easiest way to create cloud textures is from subtraction. First, focus on drawing the sky by lightly shading your paper with cross-hatching or back to back lines. Secondly, blend and smooth the sky so it is and smooth, even texture. Finally, erase out the cloud formations with the white eraser

Trees and foliage
To create the illusion of tree leaves, use the pencil mark of scribbling to create short, random marks. First, draw the larger shapes of the different groupings of foliage. Secondly, draw the smaller shapes from inside these larger shapes. Shapes created by foliage or the shadows. Working from the darkest to the lighter areas.

With each layer, add more definition and texture to the leaf bundles. Use the kneaded eraser to lift off highlights.

Notice the grain of the wood. Does it look smooth? Or does it look rough? Draw in the grains and knots of the wood with lines. If you're drawing in pencil, you can simply blend the areas you want to be darker. If you're drawing in pen, you can use a water wash to emphasize the darker and medium values.

Final thoughts on drawing textures

I'll be adding more sections in this tutorial on how to draw textures. For when you draw animals to other subjects. The more comfortable you get with these basic drawing techniques, the easier it'll be for you to create more interesting drawing ideas.

In conclusion, you don't need to render your drawings hyper realistically to communicate texture. You can still keep your sketches loose and draw textures.

Does it feel like its always a struggle to fill your sketchbooks?

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