How Do I Capture Texture?

I often get asked how can I capture fur or grass or silk and this can be a difficult question to answer.  Capturing texture is a mixture of using tone and using the marks to create the texture.  Grass for example would be best captured by short strokes of line in the direction of the grass, but there are many ways of doing this and it will depend on the media. I offer a few tips…

Learning to draw and paint
Create texture through different marks

Using mark-making

The most obvious way to capture texture is through the strokes or the marks you make.  I often see learners and students doing this without realising they are doing it, dots for a distressed surface, short directional strokes or cross hatching for grass.  Look closely at how the texture is made up and think of the type of line, stroke or smudge that would represent the texture.  Silk for example is very smooth so blending and smudging would be best rather than line, fur is often represented well with short line strokes. 

Creating textures
Clingfilm and watercolour – one way to create texture

Experiment with media and technique

Sometimes I have found a really good texture by experimenting with media.  Scraping a credit card with paint for example one time I thought just like bark on a tree.  Another time I used a roller to create a painterly background and found that the textured surface looked very much like wood.  

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