Add Texture to Vector Art

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This tutorial will show you step by step how to create and add texture to your vector art.

So you want to apply textures to your drawings?

Just read the following steps on how it can be done!

First of all, there are a few types of texture that I use myself.

  • Fine art textures – paint splats, dry brushing ink washes, etc, etc. these can be found on the internet from an allowed stock source or even better make it yourself! Just grab some chalk or paint make a texture or pattern. Wait for it to dry and scan it.
  • Photo Stock – there are plenty of photo stock out there you can use or grab your own digital camera and start clicking. Picture of fur, tiles, anything you can think of can be useful.
  • Vectored patterns/textures – Or you could use vectored patterns or textures. These are a little harder to find and are more rewarding to make yourself (I’ll show you how ^_^)A good place to find all these kinds of textures and pattern is or but these come at a price or you can try finding some free to used stock sites (be sure to follow there terms and conditions).

Here are 2 examples of my use of textures.

The first, is 2 vectored textures I created and used on the shoes, a leather and wood texture.The second is fine art sponged texture used in the background, a fine art texture I picked up from an online stock source (istock).


If you don’t wish to create your own textures then skip ahead to the second half of the tutorial.

Okay so first off, I’m going to show you how to create your very own vectored texture (you can useillustrator if you like but I prefer to use Photoshop).

Step 1

Open up a new document in Photoshop, make it a4 size so we know it’s large enough to do the job.
Now I want to add texture to this little girl’s coat. I could scan in some cloth and use that or a picture of some I have of some cloth but the over all feel of the piece is best suited to vector.

Step 2

Back your blank document.
Create a new layer to work on and now to keep this neat I’m just going to grab my ‘Rectangular Marquee Tool’ and create a rectangle.
Fill it with black using the ‘Paint Bucket Tool’ and put two circles on the far left and right of the rectangle so get what you see here.

Step 3

Now this is your core shape, we’ll be using this over and over again (until you hate it! ^_^).
Now I want you to copy the layer by simply drag the existing layer you are working on down to the ‘New Layer’ button in the Layer window.
After you’ve do that go to the drop down menus at the top Edit > Transform > Rotate 90° CW. (If you can only see ‘Rotate; then you’ll have to rotate it 90° by name).
And now create a ‘T’ shape with them.

Step 4

Right things could get confusing here so to save ourselves lets rename those layers. Rename the one with vertical line ‘Vert’ and the one with Horizontal line ‘Hori’.
Okay with that done we can start to work again. Now I want you duplicate ‘Hori’ and create an ‘I’ shape like so.

Step 5

Duplicate ‘Hori’ again to create a sideways ‘T’ with the middle line, ) getting the pattern were creating here?

Step 6

Keep going until you end up with a texture like this one (and a WHOLE load of layers!). So, time to make thing simple again huh.
All right, simply done. First of go down the drop of the layers window and click on the eye of the layer named ‘Background’ so you see the grey and white checkered boxes.
Now go to the ‘layers’ drop down menu at the top and click merge visible. You now should now only have 2 layers, one which has your pattern on it.
Had enough of creating layers? Copy the same thing over and over? Well there’s more. Now you have that layer with the pattern you’ll be duplicating that one!!
Simply duplicate it like before and match it up to the existing one like so.

After a while it should look like this ….

…. don’t worry about small mistake in it, we’ll call this mistakes ‘character’ if you catch my drift.

So now you what to know how to apply your textures?


This is a lot simpler than creating them trust me. Adding texture will add depth to piece that shading (some times) can not.
A common mistake I find when people apply a texture they put it over the top of the WHOLE image, defeating to point of textures.
Textures are there to give some depth to your images or contrast. Put the texture over the whole image only flattens it.
So instead pick an area you what to see texture in, normally clothing, a background or object. So select your area.
In this tutorial I’m going to doing the little girls coat.

Step 1

Now to select the area you’re working in can vary to your working method in Photoshop, so I’ll tell you mine method and an alternative. Most of pieces of a few (hundred) layers but one key layer comes into play when add texture, a flat colour layer. This layer in kept clear from shading is remain only one colour through out. By making the above shading layers invisible you can see what I mean.

Step 2

By colouring in a image via this method to select the area I wish to use I simply get my magic wand and click on the area on it flat color area like so.

Step 3

Now if method of selection won’t work with your working method then it’s off to the pen tool. Grab the pen tool and start creating a path around the area you wish to add texture.

Step 4

Once you’ve finished selecting your area its time to click on the arrow button in your paths window > make selection > new selection.

Step 5

Now you need to create a new layer for your texture to go into. Once your made it make the layer a multiply layer. Go to the edit drop menu and click ‘paste into’ and you should get something like this

Step 6

Well at the moment the texture is a little brash so to tone it down were going to drop the opacity of the layer it is on like so.