Texture is one of the basic elements of art—an essential building block to create visually interesting and realistic compositions. Below, we explore texture definition in art, as well as examples that demonstrate how to show texture in art. 

What Is Texture in Art? 

In general, texture refers to the way things feel, but the definition of texture in art extends to implied surface quality, as well. For example, digital artists can use certain techniques to create the illusion of particular textures, such as the roughness of brick or the plushness of fur. 

There are many types of texture in art, both real and implied. For instance, artists can apply oil paint with a knife to create ridges or weave together fabrics and cords to create a rough and visually interesting tapestry. 

Examples of Texture in Art 

Below, we feature a range of examples of how to show texture in art, from 2D digital illustrations to 3D wall hangings. As you look at these examples, ask yourself: Where has the artist used texture in their piece of art? Is it effective? These questions will help you better understand how to describe texture in art—and how to apply those lessons in your own creations.  

1. Brick House

house drawing
This house illustration features several art textures in the brick, roof shingles, and bushes. 

Even in a digital illustration, you can create the illusion of texture. In this example, visual artist and Skillshare instructor Musketon added detail to the walls and roof of the house to create the texture of brick and shingles. 

2. Macrame Wall Hanging 

A macrame wall hanging incorporates many types of texture in art. 

Wall hangings are a great way to add color and texture to any room. This type of art generally incorporates yarn and macrame, which can be manipulated to produce different visual effects. By tightly wrapping it or brushing it out into tassels, for example, you can create a wide variety of textures in one stunning work of art. 

3. Weathered Machinery 

machine illustration
This illustration of a dune spice harvester features brush stroke art textures. 

Digital artists can use vectors and custom brushes to create the look of texture—even in 2D illustrations. In this example, the artist added brush strokes to the surfaces of the machine, replicating the texture of weathered metal. 

Bring Digital Drawings to Life 

Vector Illustration: Designing with Texture in Adobe Illustrator

4. Acrylic Flowers 

acrylic flower painting
Artists can use thick acrylic paint to create interesting textures on canvas. 

Some paints, including acrylic and oil, can be applied thickly enough to create texture on a canvas. In this example, you can see how the artist swiped the paint with a palette knife to create the blades of grass and flower petals.   

5. Hand-Drawn Feathers 

parrot drawing
This drawing of a parrot features a realistic feature texture. 

Even with the simplest tools—pencils and pens—artists can create realistic textures. In this texture drawing of a parrot, the artist uses fine lines to replicate the surface quality of feathers. 

6. Watercolor Textures 

watercolor patterns
A variety of different watercolor art textures, from wood grain to scales. 

This example demonstrates a great way to learn how to show texture in art. By painting small design tiles, you can practice a variety of texture art, from wood grain to scales.

7. Waterfront Landscape

With a palette knife, artists can create textured, dynamic landscapes. 

What is actual texture in art? Unlike digital or 2D illustrations, this painting features texture art that you can see and touch. If you ran your fingers across this canvas, you would feel the dips and ridges of the paint. By using a painting knife to add texture, the artist was able to create a dynamic and energy-filled composition. 

Other Visual Elements of Art

Beyond texture, there are six additional visual elements of art:

  • Line: A mark that is longer than it is wide 
  • Color: Light reflected off objects
  • Shape: A closed line 
  • Form: A three-dimensional shape
  • Value: The lightness or darkness of color 
  • Space: The area between and around objects

Artists use these elements as the foundation of their work. While they are simple on their own, they can be combined to create something complex and beautiful. 

Experiment With Texture!

Create Amazing Textures and Patterns with Watercolours

Written by:

Katie Wolf