Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Article Four - Creating Textures

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Learn how to add texture to your drawings in this entry into Diane Wright’s drawing lessons series.

Drawing Lessons: Creating Textures

So what is texture?  We touch an object and can feel that it is smooth or rough, but how do we translate what we feel into what we see.  The type of surface and the amount of texture determines the amount of light that is reflected off the surface.
  • Hard surfaces – A hard, smooth surface such as metal or glass is highly reflective.  This means that the light hits more of the surface and bounces off.  This creates sharp, crisp edges and stronger contrasts of light and dark values.
  • Soft surfaces – A soft surface such as cloth or leaves absorb the light, creating smooth transitions between highlights and shadows.
  • Rough surfaces – If the surface is rough, the light hits less of the surface or hits it in less or sporadic areas.  The reflected light is less, making softer variances in values.  But the deeper the dips or crevices, the rougher the texture is.  Rough surfaces like tree bark, have many small ridges that catch the light on the high ridge with a dark shadow behind the ridge, creating stronger variances.
By using the pencil techniques described in Article Two and with a little practice, discovering how to draw textures can become one of the most favorite parts of drawing.  Here are some examples and steps on how to create common landscape object  textures.
Clouds and Skies – Clouds appear soft and cottony.  The sky behind is smooth.  There are three steps to create smooth skies with clouds.
a) Lightly crosshatch with an HB pencil.
b) Blend smooth with the chamois.
c) Erase out the cloud formations with the white eraser

Grass and Weeds – Use a vertical up-down pencil stroke.  With heavier pressure, start at the base of the grass blade then lessen the pressure as you reach the tip of the blade. This creates a tapered line.  Work from the back to front, drawing the shadowed blades, leaving the blades in front lighter.

Water  Use a side-to-side rocking motion to create the impression of water.  The flattened diamond shapes capture the reflection of objects in the water.

Trees and foliage – To create the illusion of tree leaves, use the pencil mark of scribbling to create short, random marks.
The first layer identifies and shapes the leaf bundles.  Draw in the branches that are not hidden by leaves.
Then build additional layers, working from the darkest shadow areas to the lighter leaf areas.
With each layer, add more definition and texture to the leaf bundles.  Use the kneaded eraser to lift off highlights.

Weathered Wood – Draw in the details of the wood grain and knots with a 2B lead.
Then use the flat edge of a chisel point 2H pencil and burnish a smooth light value over the top.
Additional details can be added.
Use the kneaded eraser to lift off highlights.

Combining pencil techniques -  Using a combination of pencil strokes, you can create a texture-rich drawing.  Here is an example.  Small circular strokes were used to create the stonework.  Burnishing a layer over the wood grain details makes weathered wood.  The bell used smooth gradient shading with highlights lifted out with a kneaded eraser.

More Drawing Tips
  • Avoid drawing too light.  Find the darkest area and establish your blacks.  This allows you to use the full range of values from white to black.
  • Work right to left if a lefty, left to right if right-handed.
  • Work background to foreground; top to bottom.
  • Start on the most detailed (focal point) area.  All other areas can then be sketched with less detail.

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