Project – Using Texture

Exercise – Experimenting with texture


I tried a number of methods to describe the texture of object and in doing so discovered the dip pen as a great tool for making stippling marks, hatching and small curved lines. I have always avoided ink pens due to being left handed and always smudging them when writing, but using calligraphy ink, the marks dried very quickly and the pen was very easy to use. I will do more with this as I go on. I also had some success stippling with a 6B pencil to describe the textured side of a leather strap.


Experiments with frottage (it turned into a train after drawing the smoke!). This gave some interesting effects, but I wasn’t too excited by this method. Maybe it is because it feels like cheating?

Research point – Max Ernst


Born in Germany, he initially studied philosophy before moving on to study art, although his interest in philosophy was shown in the art work he produced. He served in world war one, but continued painting whilst doing so and was involved in the Dada movement which expressed the artists revulsion of the war and rejected the conventions of art. In 1925 he produced the first Frottages – a technique used to reproduce textures through rubbing over textured surfaces, wooden floorboards in Ernst’s case – which he used to introduce randomness as well as texture into his images.

Some Ernst examples:

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Examples from other artists from a frottage exhibition.

Sources: Guggenheim, MoMA, Contemporary Art Daily

Exercise – A drawing with textures


I chose pen and ink to do this drawing as I wanted to experiment some more with this medium. As this was experimentation, the style isn’t consistent across the image as I modified how I worked as I went on. Some areas of this drawing worked well, such as the reed head, some of the papery leaves and the feather (without the shadows). The shadows under the feather didn’t work as they were too dark and would have worked better as shading than as hatching. I changed to watered down ink for the other shadows which seemed to work better. It was hard to show graduations in tone and I only really managed to portray the very light and dark areas, with no mid-tones – greater spacing between the lines would probably be the best way to portray this. I also found it hard to keep interest in the heavily textured areas such as the reed head.

Check and log

Have you discovered any new ways of using your drawing tools to depict surface and texture?

  • A few new techniques and I have discovered the joys of using a dip pen and ink which I have enjoyed.

How successful were you at implying form with little or no tonal hatching?

  • I think I achieved this quite well in my drawing with textures and the bit that went wrong was when I tried to introduce hatching. Maybe hatching works better for man-made objects, and shading better for natural objects? I’ll see as I progress.

What are your impressions of frottage as a drawing technique?

  • It can give some interesting effects, but it does feel like cheating and I think is obvious how it has been done and I’m not sure it “fits” very well with the drawing I have done to date. I’ll keep it in mind as an option though as I progress through the course.
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