5 tips to use hand made textures in your work

Using hand made and hand drawn textures in my work is a huge part of my style and how I achieve a certain look in my illustrations. It is a great way to keep a hand drawn look even if a large amount of the process involves the computer and Photoshop.

Please note that at the end of this article is a link to a tutorial on how to use these materials once they have been scanned and collected. For now though, let's make some textures.

1. Carve a soft pencil to create a flat edge

Carved pencil.JPG

Carving a 2b or softer pencil can allow you to draw lines and areas of bumpy pencil texture. I use this on almost every illustration I make, to give a bit more variety between clean colours and textures edges. You can see this in the river in tip #2.

2. Colour in large areas

The Hudson river using larger coloured in areas

The Hudson river using larger coloured in areas

With the carved pencil mentioned or a normal pencil, colouring in larger areas and pages can lead to great results. These can be scanned in and edited with Photoshop to create helpful textures that will be unique every time.
Then you can colour, duplicate and manipulate however you like to achieve your desired effects.

3. Make marks and scribbles

Drawing scribbles and any other marks you'd like to use can be very helpful to create unique areas to depict things like grass and shadows, or can be coloured and replicated to create patterns.

Using the hand drawn marks with reduced opacity as shadows under the wild flowers

Using the hand drawn marks with reduced opacity as shadows under the wild flowers

4. Scan torn edges and interesting textures

These have been scanned, desaturated, and light levels changed. They look like they could be a horizon or mountains for example.

These have been scanned, desaturated, and light levels changed. They look like they could be a horizon or mountains for example.

Scanning found materials or things you have lying around at your home or studio can introduce another element to your work. Creating interesting edges with torn paper, the veins and detail of leaves, or just whole areas of leather for example can give you another endless set of shapes to work with.

5. Play with opacity and removing the white areas

Once you've collected and scanned your marks and textures, they can be played with in Photoshop for further use. This can be achieved by firstly opening them in Photoshop, desaturating the layer, changing the light levels to create a strong contrast, then erasing the white from the layer with the colour select feature.

The white background has been removed from the scan, these can now be cut out and coloured on seperate layers.

The white background has been removed from the scan, these can now be cut out and coloured on seperate layers.

I also wrote a tutorial in more detail about this point which you can read here - how to remove the white from drawings. This will be very helpful when used with these tips if you would like to take your textures and drawings further.

I hope these texture tips could help you out! You can see lots of them in use in many of my prints here.