Adding Textures to Your Artwork!

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Hello, it’s me, Yaantii! Today I’m going to be talking about textures, and how to use them to make your drawings pop!

Adding textures is one of my favourite ways to finish off a piece, by giving it a little extra personality at the end. Textures can help make images look less flat, and work on most art styles from anime to digital paintings.

You can use pretty much anything as a texture:
 Internet
 Photographs
 Create them yourself using interesting brushes
 CSP Manga Materials
 Render some noise

Different textures will work for different drawings; sometimes a drawing will look better bare. It all depends on how that specific pieces comes together.

For my digital paintings, I love to overlay fabric textures to certain pieces of clothing to give it a bit of a push towards realism. For anime art, sometimes I want it to look like it was drawn using watercolours or markers and want just a touch of natural media to them so that’s where textures really shine.


For this demo, I’m going to be using an artwork that is already lined and coloured. I save texturing as the very last step of finishing a piece. This is just a character I made up on the spot and thought a green coat would be cute. I didn’t really put a background, so this looks a little bare right? We will fix this with some textures!

For this, I will use the simplest texture that I can think of: noise!

Creating Your Own Noise Texture

Noise, also referred to as dust or particles, is super easy to make, and is one of the most common ways to spice up a drawing with textures. On its own, noise resembles that pattern on old TVs when you couldn’t get a signal for the channel, or maybe like a million ants.

To render your own noise, start by going to Filter > Draw> Perlin Noise from the top menu. Here, you will be prompted with a screen that lets you generate your own noise.

My main focus on this part is the “Scale”. The larger the scale, the larger the pattern will be.

Other settings such as “Amplitude” increases the contrast between the white and black, and “Attentuation” adjusts the blurriness of the texture. You can also use the offset options to randomize the placement of the noise if it looks too uniform.

Applying the Texture

Now, once you have a texture that you are happy with, save it and make sure that it is on a separate layer from the rest of your artwork. This layer should be on top of everything else. We will be using layer blending modes to make this transparent and make it react with the drawing itself. If you would like the noise to only affect the character and not the background, you can use a clipping mask to clip it to the character.

The Multiply Method

Set the layer blend mode to “Multiply” and layer opacity to ~10-20%.

Your artwork will look like this:

 Keeps your shading mostly intact as it is a blending mode
 Easily add depth to drawings because it darkens the image
 Can be too dark if the opacity is set too high
 Will affect white background if not clipped
 Can become muddy/dull looking

The Overlay Method

Alternatively, you can use “overlay” which is what I prefer. Set the layer mode to “Overlay” and the opacity to ~20-40%.

Your artwork will look like this:

 Keeps your shading mostly intact as it is a blending mode
 Good for watercolour/natural media simulation
 Brightens dark images
 Will not affect white background
 Can make an image look washed out if the opacity is too high
 Can be tricky to make sure that it is not overpowering

Creating Other Textures

While noise is the simplest, there are tons of other textures that you can achieve. One of my favourites is watercolour, but often times, using noise isn’t quite enough for that. Using more “organic” or hand-drawn textures can make your artwork look much less calculated and more appealing too. (When creating your textures, make sure that they are DARK, or they may not appear well)

Here are some great brushes that you can “stamp” to make cool textures:
 Watercolour brushes
 Pastel/chalk brushes
 Cloud brushes
 Effect brushes
 Stamps
 Geometric shape brushes

You can create your own textures like we did above, using black and white brushes. This is a texture that I created using Krita during my lunch break at work. To create a texture like this, I used a textured brush as a stamp, and clicked with my mouse to create random shapes and edges. Then, using the same methods, I overlayed this texture on top of the drawing.

This is what it looked like:

I hope that this tutorial has been useful :D I’m a super fan of textured art, so this was really fun to write. The last thing I have to say is make sure not to go overboard with textures 😉.

Happy drawing,

Draw with me live!

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