Artist at Work: Textures

with Mary Jane Begin
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Artist at Work: Textures
Video duration: 0s 35m 56s Beginner


Mary Jane Begin is back with more from the Artist at Work series. This installment focuses on adding texture to your imagery—visual texture that breaks up repetitive strokes and static blocks of color—with pattern, color, light, and a variety of brush strokes. Mary Jane takes an early-stage illustration from her book series Willow Buds and shows how to add variation, contrast, and a tactile quality to trees and grass, water, and the sky. These lessons are useful whether you're working with traditional media like the watercolors Mary Jane uses in this course, or digital formats like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Mary Jane uses the following materials in this course:

  • Arches 140 lb hot press paper
  • Tube watercolors- Winsor & Newton Cotman brand
  • Paper stumps for blending
  • Pastels- a variety of stick and pencil forms (including Conte pastel pencils)
  • Short, fat, fine-bristle Winsor & Newton #2 and #4 brushes (for scrubbing color off)
  • Sceptre Gold II sable/synthetic blend #3, #6, and #10 brushes
  • Winsor & Newton Cotman brand 25 mm/1 in. flat brush (for washes)



- Adding your hand to the feel of a work can make it unique and immensely inviting. So developing your awareness of color textures is a good place to start. I'd like to show you how textures in color can add dimension, depth, contrast, and a tactile quality to your imagery. This is the finished image from a book I wrote and illustrated called Willow Buds: When Toady Met Ratty. You can see the detail and variety of textures. I'd like to show you how you get some of these textures with this color composite of the same image.

I always use referenced materials when making textures to create a sense of believability in my final image. In this case, I used the images of sky, grass, and trees. I'm Mary Jane Begin, and this is Artist at Work: Textures.

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