New Texture Library & Texture Tutorials

April 3, 2020

I often use textures in my digital artwork. They help add a bit more depth and interest. You can use photo textures with Procreate, Photoshop, or most any digital painting software that supports layers.

I recently added my personal texture library to this site. The collection includes 280 high resolution surface textures organized into 12 categories. These are all images that I created. I’m making them available to other artist free of charge. I hope you find them useful in your own projects.

How To Apply Textures

There are many different methods for applying textures, but here are the basic steps:

  1. Create a new layer above the layer you want to apply the texture to.
  2. Import the photo texture into the new layer and adjust the size and position as needed.
  3. Experiment with different blend modes on the texture layer to get the desired effect.
  4. Adjust the opacity to increase or decrease the intensity of the effect.
  5. Use a layer mask or the eraser tool to remove areas where you do not want the texture applied.

A Quick Photoshop Example

I was pleased with this Venom sketch overall, but it felt a little too clean and sterile. I used some photographic textures to give it a more organic, gritty look. It's a subtle change, but I find the textured version much more appealing (click to enlarge).

I used five different textures, each on a seperate layer above the image. The specific blend modes and opacity settings are shown below, but I usually just experiment with different combinations until I get the look I'm after.

On this illustration I kept the effect subtle (low opacity), but even a hint of texture can make a big difference. You can use layer masks to remove the texture from unwanted areas. Since masks are none destructive, I prefer them over the eraser tool.

Textures Used

Video Tutorials

In the first video, Hardy Fowler explains how he uses photo textures in character design. He initially discusses secondary light sources. Skip to 2:30 for the texture demo.

In the second  tutorial, Matt Borchert shares more  tips for using textures in  Photoshop. These techniques can be used in many different types of illustration and design. 

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