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How to use textures to create a realistic surface.


The surface of an object is also called texture. That is, what you can see and feel. To be able to draw an object realistically there are a few things you should know about texture.

Rendering of the surface means that you realistically imitating the surface. For example, if you are using a pencil to draw a silk fabric so that you can almost feel the soft material, it is very realistic. Before you arrive at this point you have to practice. Start with something easy.

Structure, texture, facture, what is what?

Structure, which is about how the surface is constructed. Thus, for example, in a linen cloth, the structure, the wires and fibers which are braided together.

At the same canvas, the facture is how the surface is edited by the artist. So for example with paint daubs, lumps of thick layers of paint, perhaps there are even or scratches or holes.

The structure and the facture combined is the texture, it is the visible and tactile nature of the surface. So what you can see and feel. You do not have to remember all this to draw well but it’s a good idea to always try to understand what kind of surface your object has. So is it smooth? Is it rough? Is there a particular structure underneath?

So, now you try!

You probably have some kind of wood in your home. Take the object (or take a picture, if you don’t want to destroy your floors…)

First look at the grain of the wood, maybe it feels smooth or maybe it is a wooden table which feels rough. Study your subject well before you start drawing.

If you use an existing object such as a table or a chair you have to choose a frame, you can do this with a homemade cut-out frame, cover a piece with paper or just make a square with your fingers.

A frame will help you define the edges of your drawing.

You can also use this image the bottom of this blog post then you won’t need to use a frame.

Look at the various light and dark tones of the wood. For more information on show read the blog post about shades. It doesn’t matter if it is not perfect. Try to draw the material expression precisely. Practice makes perfect, so if it fails at the first try: don’t worry.

Create on your sheet a few patches of 3 cm by 3 cm (or download and print my stencil). First, you start with thin lines copying the shapes of the wood. Start with the outlines, don’t lose yourself in the details in the beginning.

Look around your home to other different textures and patterns. Try to replicate as closely as possible with your pencil.

Other ways?frottage

Frottage is a way to get texture, by rubbing 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. Try to take on a texture from your home in this way on your paper.



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. The image below is produced by the elevation of the surface with deep and less deep shadows. This makes the surface is more interesting and also more challenging to draw.


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