Drawing Basics TRACK: Lesson 4, Texture


Choose a manmade object, or an object from nature that has visible texture. Consider how dramatic and tactile the texture of the object is.

Ordinary objects like a scarf, a rug, a stuffed animal are effective, as are natural objects like bark and dried flowers.

Spend time searching for an object that is really going to emphasize texture. For example, an apple wouldn’t be a good choice for this prompt because the surface is too smooth.


Johanna, Triplegem, Bowsers, CrissieB, Cynthia, Anna P.

Thumbnail sketches

Start by drawing a minimum of six thumbnail sketches to plan out your composition. Observe your object from life. Use pencil or any other drawing medium.

Thumbnail Sketches
Neil Espinosa

Draw literal rectangles for each thumbnail so you can see them clearly (don’t draw a grid and fill in the boxes). Tweak the thumbnails by changing the cropping.

Landscape Thumbnail Sketches

Choose the thumbnail that you like the best as a reference for the final drawing.

Final Drawing

Create an 18″ x 24″ drawing in any black and white medium that emphasizes the texture of that object. Have your thumbnail out as a guide so you make sure you stick to that composition.

Continue to observe your object from life when working on the final drawing. Tip: zoom in on the object, and keep your background minimal.

El Anatsui
El Anatsui


Anselm Kiefer, El Anatsui, Yoshimi Futamura, Nick Cave, Eyvind Earle, Diane Victor, Eric Carle, Elaine-Spatz Rabinowitz, Alberto Burri, Elliott Hundley

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Elements of Art: Texture in 2D

Texture is one of the Elements of Art. This video explains texture within the context of 2D works. Texture can be achieved with one art media or mixed media. Texture also relates to patterning.

This video provides many ways of collecting texture references, exploring texture as a means of conveying a tactile sensation, and more.

Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artists Alex Rowe and Lauryn Welch.

Elements of Art: Texture in 3D

Texture is one of the Elements of Art that is readily seen in 3D artworks. Materials and surfaces in 3D artworks vary tremendously and contribute towards the essential character of an artwork.

This video provides examples of contemporary art and 3D artworks from art history where texture plays an integral role.

Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Art Prof Teaching Artist Cat Huang.

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