Creating the Appearance of Texture



60 min

What you need:

Goldfaber Aqua watercolour pencil

Including various textures in a still life not only creates more visual interest, it also makes your subject more entertaining to draw because you can use a different technique for each texture. Rough textures may require dry, short, choppy, overlapping strokes, while smooth textures typically involve long, even strokes and soft blends with a brush and water. One of the best ways to practice drawing different textures is to set up a still life composed of objects that have a variety of surfaces: smooth glass, silky ribbon, shiny metal, or a rough woven basket are all possibilities.

In this clever setup, the uneven skin of the ripe strawberries contrasts with the smooth surface of the china plate and the delicate lace doily, creating a unique and beautiful Scene.

Step 1

First create a light and soft line drawing on stretched watercolor paper. Then sharpen a cadmium yellow pencil to a long, tapered point. Use the pigment residue and place it in two tablespoons of clear, warm water, where you leave it to dissolve into a yellow wash. Then apply the wash to the berries with a medium round brush. Be careful to leave most of the leaves and any highlights on the strawberries uncolored. Let this step dry completely before continuing.

Step 2

Apply a small patch of ultramarine blue to a separate piece of paper. With a small round brush dipped in clear water, pick up blue from this “palette” and carefully paint the design on the plate; then let the area dry completely. Next mix equal amounts of ultramarine blue and orange on your "paper palette" to create a neutral hue. To give the color a violet cast, mix in a small amount of permanent carmine red. Then use a small angled brush to paint the shadows on the plate and on the lace.

Step 3

For the strawberries, first scrub scarlet red onto your palette. With a clean paintbrush and clear water, wet the lightest areas of the strawberries. Then quickly apply liquefied scarlet red to the dry areas of each berry. Where the color touches the edge of the damp areas, there will be a soft gradation of color. While the red wash is drying, carefully fill the holes in the lace with a dry black pencil.

Step 4

With a small brush and clear water, wet the black color in the holes in the lace. Then scrub a dry black pencil onto your palette and add clear water. With a medium round brush, pick up the diluted color and apply it to the foreground. Next add permanent green to your palette, liquefy the color with clear water, and paint the berry leaves with various values of green. When the painting is completely dry, erase all your preliminary pencil lines—except the seeds of the strawberries—with a white plastic eraser. When erasing graphite, make sure the eraser is clean.

Step 5

Now work on the darkest areas. Apply dry black and dry ultramarine blue pencils to the holes in the lace and in the dark foreground. Finally use Indian red and ultramarine blue for the darkest areas on the strawberries, on the plate, and in the shadows.

Step 6

Next sharpen a scarlet red pencil and apply it (dry) over all of the strawberries - avoiding the highlights and the light seeds - using a circular strokes for consistent color. Use ultramarine blue, cobalt blue and dark flesh for the reflections on the plate and for the shadows on the lace. Then apply dry permanent green olive and dry light ultramarine blue to the leaves. Also apply dry helioblue to indicate the dark seeds. Finally apply the light values to the lightest seeds with white and light yellow.

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Excerpt from "Watercolor Pencil Step by Step", published by Walter Foster Publishing, a division of Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. All rights reserved. Walter Foster is a registered trademark. Artwork © Barbara Benedetti Newton. Visit