Artsy Club Logo

Texture in Painting: Techniques for Artists


Texture in painting can be physical, created through the application of paint or other materials to the canvas, or visual, created by the illusion of texture through painting techniques. Artists use a variety of methods such as impasto, sgraffito, collage, glazing, and scumbling to add texture to their works. Understanding and applying these techniques can bring depth and life to paintings.

Texture in Painting: Techniques for Artists

Table of Contents

Understanding Texture in Painting

Texture in painting refers to the perceived surface quality or feel of an artwork. It can be divided into two categories: physical texture and visual texture. Physical texture is the actual three-dimensional feel of a surface that can be touched, while visual texture is the illusion of texture created by an artist using various painting techniques.

Physical Texture Techniques


Impasto is a technique where paint is applied thickly to canvas or board, creating a texture that is both visible and tangible. This method often uses oil or acrylic paint and can be applied with a brush, palette knife, or even fingers. The result is a surface that stands out from the canvas and catches light in interesting ways.


Sgraffito involves scratching through a layer of paint to reveal the underpainting or the surface beneath. This technique can create a contrast in color and texture, adding depth and interest to a painting. It is often used in conjunction with other techniques to achieve a complex texture.


Collage is the addition of external materials, such as paper, fabric, or found objects, to the surface of a painting. These materials create a physical texture that can be felt and seen. Collage can be used to add a new dimension to a painting and to tell a story through the use of different textures.

Textured Mediums

Artists can also add texture to their paintings by mixing different mediums with paint. Sand, sawdust, or even marble dust can be mixed with paint to create a textured effect. These mediums can be applied in various ways to achieve different textures.

Visual Texture Techniques


Glazing is a technique where thin, transparent layers of paint are applied over one another. Each layer modifies the appearance of the layers beneath, creating a rich, luminous effect that can give the illusion of texture and depth.


Scumbling involves brushing a thin, opaque layer of paint over another, allowing some of the underpainting to show through. This technique creates a textured effect that is more visual than physical, giving the painting a sense of depth and complexity.

Dry Brushing

Dry brushing is the technique of using a dry brush with a small amount of paint to lightly brush over the canvas. This method creates a scratchy, textured look as the bristles of the brush leave marks on the surface of the painting.

Combining Textures

Many artists combine different texture techniques to create complex and interesting paintings. By layering physical and visual textures, artists can achieve a rich tapestry of surfaces that engage the viewer's sense of sight and touch.

Tools and Materials

To create texture in painting, artists use a variety of tools and materials. Brushes, palette knives, sponges, and even unconventional items like combs or plastic wrap can be used to apply or manipulate paint. The choice of materials, such as the type of paint, additives, or substrates, also plays a significant role in the final texture of the painting.

Texture in Different Art Movements

Texture has played an important role in different art movements throughout history. For example, the thick, expressive brushstrokes of Impressionism, the layered textures of Cubism, and the bold impasto of Abstract Expressionism all showcase the use of texture to convey emotion and perspective.

Tips for Artists

When experimenting with texture, artists should consider the overall composition and how the texture will affect the painting's balance and movement. It's also important to understand the properties of the materials being used and how they interact with one another.


Texture in painting is a dynamic and versatile element that can greatly enhance the visual impact of artwork. By mastering the various techniques and understanding how to apply them effectively, artists can create paintings that are rich, engaging, and full of life. Whether through the physical application of materials or the illusion of texture, the possibilities are endless for artists to express themselves and captivate their audience.

Published On: Tuesday, August 29, 2023
You May Also Like
Abstract Art Exploration: Creative Techniques and Ideas

Abstract Art Exploration: Creative Techniques and Ideas

Published on June 9, 2023

Art Education for Kids: Why It's Crucial

Art Education for Kids: Why It's Crucial

Published on April 23, 2023

The Science of Colors: An Artistic Perspective

The Science of Colors: An Artistic Perspective

Published on December 26, 2022

More Articles
Painting Classes for everyone.
Offline in Mysore. Online around the world.Call +91 9900066350EXPLORE OUR PROGRAMS