Drawing Textures – How to create more Realistic Drawings


Simply put textures are nothing more than complex crosshatching techniques and lighting effects combined to fool the eye in believing it is seeing something else. Both can be achieved by layering the textures in certain way to accomplish the desired effect. Take the example of the Ascending and Descending lithograph. Notice how the textures play with the senses in this print working in harmony to create the illusion of the never ending staircase.  The same idea is used to create textures in portrait drawings. (Albeit not as elaborate as this print)

Read More about the Artist that created this lithograph here.



sniffles drawingIn portrait drawing realism is king. The key to creating a more realistic portrait is creating convincing textures within a drawing. Hair, skin and clothing require translating textures to the viewer in a believable way.  Many people have asked me, “How I did you make the sweater in your “Sniffles” drawing seem so real?”  In this post hopefully I can shed some light on some of the techniques that I used to create that illusion.

Use Various Pencil Techniques to create texture


If you take a look close look at the texture of the sweater in this drawing you will notice small lines in various directions creating a crosshatching pattern. This is how I achieved the realistic textured effect in my drawing. In addition to using crosshatching I also used layering accompanied with various pencil techniques.

An example of this would be to use the side of your pencil as opposed to using the point in a certain areas. Also, using darker pencils next to a lighter area and creating a sharp contrast. Changing the direction of your strokes at random while creating the crosshatch will also achieve the desired effect.

Keeping the Light Consistent with the values


Not only do you have to keep the crosshatching pattern consistent with the texture of what it is you are drawing. You will also need to stay consistent with the values of light. The best way to do this is to keep the values in the areas with less light darker and the values in the areas with more light lighter. I accomplished this by changing my pencils from darker to lighter or vice-versa when the situation calls for it. Following the flow of light is the key to keep the textures consistent and realistic.

The most important thing to remember when creating textures is not to over think it. Just keep your strokes and rhythm flowing with your reference. Don’t be afraid to experiment, by doing so you will learn new ways to create exciting and interesting textures in your drawings.



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