Texture Drawing Guide
Updated: 08 Aug 2022
For a drawing to be successful, you have to be accurate in both structure AND brightness values.
You can learn about it here: how to draw realism.
To take your drawing to the next level, you need realistic textures.
Holes & Cracks
We love them! They are part of the abstraction of nature, and therefore attest to realism.
To draw ANY crack or hole, first decide where you want its deepest part.
The deepest part is the darkest.
Then, draw a transition from dark to light in the opposite direction.
In many cases, the darkest part has a hard (sharp) edge, due to overlapping.
The same goes for any crack, at any direction.
When an object is NOT facing the light source, it is still visible and clear.
The reason is ambient light. Meaning, scattered light and reflections.
On the other hand, light cannot get into some areas.
The term for these areas is ambient occlusion.
When drawing these areas (ambient occlusion) pay attention to edges. In many cases, they have soft edges, but in some cases, they have hard edges.
Cracks and holes are a type of ambient occlusion, though they are wider, and therefore there is a transition in brightness values.
In the next example, I overemphasized the parts between wood boards.
Keep in mind:
I drew the birdhouse from imagination, using linear perspective.
If you are new to perspective, visit my guide on linear perspective for beginners.
The texture lines are NOT the problem. They are easy to draw!
Make sure the lines are not parallel.
And, that they are not of uniform thickness.
When drawing a shadow area, it is NOT enough to make that area darker.
Make sure both the texture, and any crack, are darker in that area.
For realistic wood texture, after drawing the texture lines, the structure should be accurate (in perspective), and the brightness values should be correct.
The key to drawing metal objects is to be brave with contrast, depending on how shiny the metal is.
That is, a significant difference between dark and light brightness values.
When drawing light and dark areas, connect them with less defined (or soft) edges.
You can use smoothing tools, like a synthetic brush or a blending stump, to soften edges.
While solid objects (like metal) have hard edges, cast shadows have soft edges.
Plastic, usually, does not have texture. It is quite smooth.
Additionally, it does not have strong highlights or strong contrast, except for special cases.
In the example below, I drew some small stains for texture.
When it comes to plastic, which has a smooth surface, I use extra smooth paper (Bristol).
To learn more about the equipment I use, check out my drawing materials guide.
Objects by themselves are quite boring.
By using the power of overlapping, meaning an object that covers part of another object, you can add a sense of depth to your drawing.
When the structure for your drawing is ready, and it has a nice composition, it is time for texture drawing.
You can mix as many textures as you like.
Here you can learn more about composition drawing for beginners.
In some cases, I use the paper tooth for drawing texture.
It is great for fabric.
Pay attention to brightness values, meaning the darker and lighter parts of each fold.
Fabric is soft, and therefore has soft edges within its surface.
You can use a smoothing tool, like a blending stump, to smooth the edges.
A blending stump is great for fast results. For more accuracy, smooth with your pencil while drawing.
Now that you know how to draw some textures, it is time to put it to the test.
Visit my guide on drawing from imagination to create your own artworks, and enrich them with textures.
To be a successful artist, you need both knowledge and brush mileage (practice, practice, practice).
Here are 15 ways to draw depth.
In addition, you can find many tutorials in my list of top YouTube drawing channels.