Hands-On Chalkboard Texture for Illustration | Paul Oxborrow | Skillshare

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Hands-On Chalkboard Texture for Illustration

teacher avatar Paul Oxborrow, Graphic Designer & Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Drawing Thumbnails


    • 4.

      Pencil Sketching


    • 5.

      Inking Your Piece


    • 6.

      Creating the Faux Chalk Effect


    • 7.

      The Finishing Touches


    • 8.

      More Ideas For Your Project


    • 9.

      Class Project & Wrap Up


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About This Class

Have you ever wanted to add texture to your work? I have an interesting technique for that, which gives a super interesting chalkboard look to any kind of drawing or lettering.

Join me in my studio to learn a simple and effective faux chalkboard effect! 
This super easy class requires only the most basic equipment to produce stunning lettering, posters and illustrations. 

As a bonus, you'll also get to learn from my complete illustration process.

No iPad Pro? No problem bro! Chalky Fingers is a drawing class for all skill levels and interests.

Meet Your Teacher

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Paul Oxborrow

Graphic Designer & Illustrator


Serial filler of sketchbooks, design geek and incidental Lego Typographer, I've taught over 6,800 students the pro tips, cool tricks and interesting methods developed over two decades working as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator for advertising agencies and creative studios, on brands like Cadbury, Unilever, Ola, and Diageo.

I make friendly, detailed classes about real things that have accelerated my creative career.
You'll feel like you're right next to me when you take one of my classes. From mockups to Photoshop, chalk and brush pen, we've only begun to dig into digital illustration and creative exploration!

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hey, I'm Paul! and welcome to Chalky Fingers. Join me in my studio for a short, fun, flat lay style class where I'll teach you a simple, yet highly effective texture technique you can apply to any illustration which will give it an authentic chalkboard look. :-) I'll take you through my full illustration process, including thumbnails, where you'll learn to think before you think. Let's go! 2. Equipment: So you'll need one of these, some of this, some of this. A marker of your choice. These are my favorites. Carioca Jumbo marker, Posca Brush Pen, Posca Paint Pen, cheap and cheerful Bullet point marker, A Sharpie, and my weapon of choice: A Tombow Dual Brush marker. And lastly? Some Chalk. 3. Drawing Thumbnails: If you're doing a piece of illustration that's going somewhere outside of a sketchbook, so it's a gift, it's a poster. it's a card, something that's gonna be framed. Start with a thumbnail. I like to do 3 - 5 before I commit to the final illustration. What this gives me, I find, is a chance to let the concept come to life on its own. Just by process of separation, the key concept is gonna come to the front of all of this. So what I'm doing here is just feeling it out, with a combination of lettering, pictograms and general illustration garnish. The theme is loosely around the end of the year and some of the things I'm looking forward to when the summer comes in, and I'll just put them down on the paper as they come into my head. So that's not bad. It's a start, but I think, you know, this one It's a little congested. It's a little too much, but you know what? If we get into another one, I think something's gonna come start coming to the fore here. So whereas in the first one, we were using a guitar and music notes, and a number of other things to cue some sort of movement and energy and music and life. Just by enlarging some of the things, pulling in a little bit to the image and distributing them across different planes, I'm getting the same sort of feeling of movement and vibrancy. Ja I think that's getting that. Ok so something I'm seeing in these two is this little greeting. "Hey Bru" that's just something you say to your friends. It's kind of like, "hey brother, how's it going?" I think I'm gonna bring that front and center. That seems to be the main message here Whereas back to the first scamp, it was really just a collection of different things. I also find that, if I offset it a little bit, I'm putting a bit of attention in the top left hand corner, and a little bit of balance in the bottom right, and I think that's something I can work with. 4. Pencil Sketching: Ok, so I've got my three thumbnails here. You know of them, I like the energy here, but I think that's the most successful of them. So I'll start with that. My final canvas is a lot wider than the thumbnails And while I might have stretched the design out to fit the left and right as it is in the thumbnail, I think that would have thrown off the balance of the illustration to some degree. So I'm following my thumbnail fairly closely, and I'll build in a little bit of the garnish around the side, possibly even move some of the elements around further Further that "Hey Bru" is so strong for me, I really want to put that front and center ,and exaggerate that sort of 70's kick-out. You'll find when you follow the process of doing thumbnails before doing a final, you tend to do a lot less second guessing. Most of the hard work's been done by those three thumbnails above, in terms of what goes where and how important it is to the final illustration. That fire's a big thing. A real nice organic shape, something you can really simply represent by a few lines I'm choosing to put it behind the leaves because I think it's subtley kicking off a slight botanical feeling as well. See that now started coming, and that's not another snake. That's a little creepy crawly we get in the summertime. Actually, most of the year round. It's called a Tsongololo. You might have something similar called a centipede or a millipede, completely harmless. I just love them. They come out of their little hidey holes and start crawling around everywhere. This is a funny thing, you know. I'm thinking end of year and holidays and, you know that snow is an impossibility in my town. But somehow around that time, that's just a graphic you expect to see. I kind of like how it works like garnish here, you ever seen someone with a full sleeve tattoo? They call it "filler". It just helps bridge the gaps between these disparate elements. This is another big thing, A braai, a barby, a BBQ. You know, we've all got our own version, and that just goes so well over that fire piece there. I think I'll put the skateboard in the corner here. It's just a nice opportunity in that little hook where the Tsongololo peels away, to put the wheel there and keep the main form of the deck quite vertical. I'll pop that little guy in the corner there, I don't think anyone really says "YO" anymore, but it's a really fun one to draw. a couple more of these little fillers. So this "Hey" is definitely gonna be a job for the Dual Brush Pen. You know - these little things, I might put a few more here just to fill the gap. But basically we are pretty close to inking here. Just a couple of random geometric shapes. Maybe in this sense they represent the grill the fire is coming out of. Chuck in a little bone for luck. I think we're done. 5. Inking Your Piece: So now we ink. I'll just choose from these and pick one or two that I'll use to do this. Definitely the Brush Pen is gonna get used for that "Hey". and I think for the bulk of the work, I'll use the Carioca as it's got a really wide hard tip, which is gonna make coloring in a breeze. So I'll start with the outlines Pay attention to the way these lines cut into each other, even though we're going fully analog for this, That's actually something that's come from using Adobe Illustrator. I know by way of coloring them in that I'm going to be hiding those overlaps anyway, but it just helps me keep the councils of the letters aligned. It's the same with the legs of the "R", I know want them to follow the same curved plane. So I'll establish that first, and then move on to other parts of the letter get the basic compound shape right, cut in with the detail after. Another trick is to essentially build it up out of compound shapes. So this Tsongololo is just three compound shapes joined together. The sausage, likewise. Two circles, join the dots. I'll switch to the Tombow Dual Brush marker for the lettering. Different pens yield different results, and this one is just unbeatable for that thick-and-thin contrast those construction lines we had, too, are here hidden by the ink. The secret to coloring fast like this: Anchor your palm firmly on the table Look at the outlines that you don't want the pen to extend beyond. Just be bold and firm, and rock that marker back and forth. This is gonna make our chalkboard effect. While I like this pen running out, dry marker look, that Tombow is coming back. To get an authentic chalkboard effect, the marker strokes can't be too apparent. So we'll just brush in a little more opacity. With the inking complete, it's Chalky Fingers time! 6. Creating the Faux Chalk Effect: Now what if I told you that with an ordinary stick of chalk, I can make it snow? By the way, the chalk looks pretty great at this stage, and you could keep it this way with fixative or Hairspray. We'll just start rubbing it in very gently, with your first few fingers Experiment a bit with this. Don't rub too hard or too fast, otherwise you'll lose that random effect that a chalkboard has. Now we'll add some more chalk on, directly wherever we want to add highlights or contouring, even a bit of definition. It also helps to take that uniform smudge away from everything and make it look a little more dynamic, We're just gently rubbing the edges to blend them in. With a much lighter touch than we did the first time around. Yeah, that's getting somewhere now. I guess we don't need those anymore! So we'll add a final layer of definition here. I love the way it knocks everything back and just unifies the whole graphic. Let's take a closer look. Yeah man, That's the chalkboard effect we're after. 7. The Finishing Touches: So if this is to be our final piece, There is a feeling off too much dead space in that corner there. And you know other portions of it. Ruler? Meet Blade. We're gonna fix this by trimming off the edges. Now, don't cut your fingers off. Keep them well away from the edge of the ruler. I might even cut into the design a little bit, and I'll tell you why in the next lesson. Much better! 8. More Ideas For Your Project: Spoiler Alert! Chalkboards don't have to just be black. I wanted to show you guys, by way of this skull. See on this one. It's inverted essentially. And this one it's more literal, with the color surrounding a white skull. Two diffrent ways you can approach it and look the lettering as well, so the chalk looks a bit better on the black. Than the color. But in the age of chalk paint, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to use a color you want. Let's talk shape. Ditching the square canvas affords us a very unique opportunity. I'll color this one up quickly, and then show you what an edge to edge printed feel is gonna look like for this illustration. It's just pop this out and there you go. It just gives it a whole, you know, the fact that the illie goes right off the edge, just gives it a new feel. Feels like a pattern now, or a sticker and I love the way this looks mounted beneath glass 9. Class Project & Wrap Up: For the Class Projects, I'd like you to try a landscape shaped project for Skillshare, using the techniques you've learned. Be bold, have fun, get messy. I can't wait to see what you do! Thanks for taking this paper and pen skills class. Please consider giving me your review of the class. And if you enjoyed it, follow me on Skillshare to stay up to date with all future classes. Hey, I'm - (Car Horn) (Jackhammer) Hey, I'm Paul and welcome to Chalky Fingers!