How to Add Texture to Digital Art: 5 Pro Tips
Digital art gives you boundless possibilities, but there are a lot of nuances that can trip up beginners. One of those common frustrations is artwork with a flat, “too smooth” appearance that has little depth and texture. Without a refined finish, your piece can look synthetic and won’t resonate with your viewers. That’s why you should learn how to add texture to digital art.
We’ve collected the top tips and tools for achieving a textured look that oozes richness and organic authenticity. From simple “one-click” fixes to more detailed tactics, we’ve got your journey to texture mastery covered.
#1: Blend Noise or Texture Layers into Your Piece
One of the easiest ways to give your work an instantly textured feel is to create a noise layer and dial in the opacity until you’ve achieved the desired look. Alternatively, you can mask it and blend with a brush. However, it’s possible to use all kinds of textures for this new layer, so it doesn’t have to be random noise. If you’re rendering clothing or dynamic lighting, using a reference image or even copying a section of a photo to create your texture layer can be extremely useful.
500+ Clothing Textures Reference Pictures provides an astounding array of variety, poses, and textures to help you get started. Besides being perfect for texture work, these high-res images provide excellent study material for learning how different fabrics, hairstyles, and folds can interact. The set also makes great use of props and diverse lighting to support different scenarios.
#2: Refine Your Work With Texture Brushes
Texture brushes come in all shapes and sizes, from watercolor to more precise inking tools. But one thing they all have in common is that they try to evoke the quirks of natural, real-world implements. Working with texture brushes can help you define a clear style while maintaining a sense of groundedness. Whether you’re aiming for hyperreal results or invoking an avant-garde style, using a texture brush that you adore can make a huge difference.
For example, OILS BRUSH PACK v5 for PROCREATE 5.2 and later achieves a dazzlingly real oil painting look with minimal effort. Designed for Procreate, these 15+ brushes imbue your work with the familiar quirks and delightful imperfections of traditional oil paints. Whether you’re finishing off an existing work or starting fresh, these brushes add a sense of tethered naturalism that will elevate and amplify your work.
#3: Master Textures With Paintover Techniques
For intermediate-to-advanced artists who want to experiment with multidisciplinary methods, nothing beats starting with an untextured work and painting over it. Unlike pure photobashing, this method often involves selecting an untextured subject (like a 3D model) and enhancing the existing elements. For example, you might download a simple 3D model, like this PTT Female Basemesh which is ready for texturing. You can then pose it as you wish, import it into your preferred painting application, and begin your paintover.
In the tutorial bundle Painting Over 3D Characters, you can explore how to add texture to digital art with a 20-minute narrated video discussing lighting, framing, textures, and color correction. This comprehensive lesson includes all the elements you’ll need to get started, including PSD files and all the textures, lens effects, and cinematography filters used in the guide.
#4: Build an Organized Texture Library
This tip is less about getting textures into individual works and more about your long-term success as an artist. Creating a library of textures is a bit like bookmarking your favorite tutorials or keeping the same colors in your palette—they’re tools you want close at hand because they speak to you personally. Plus, having a local copy of your favorite textures means that if they ever go offline, you still have a backup.
There are countless places from which you can draw textures, including free or “pay what you can” packs like Texture Pack 02: 1000+ Free Textures. No matter where you find your textures, creating your own library is much more helpful when you keep it organized. So, make sure to use clear naming conventions and folder structure so you can quickly find what you need. Here’s a bonus pro tip: set up a favorites folder so you can keep all your 5-star textures in one place!
#5: Learn from Experienced Artists
Want to know one hallmark of a beginner who just learned about textures? They overuse them. They put them everywhere (maybe at full opacity), and it’s obvious they’re a bit overzealous. Truly mastering textures means being fearless enough to face criticism, humble enough to be a student, and motivated to always continue growing. Texture in digital art is one of those skills that, quite frankly, you can’t fully harness in a vacuum.
Are you looking for a great starting point for texture work? The Power of Texture Brushwork 3-video lesson by Anthony Jones delivers a thoughtful and mastery-oriented introduction to texture work. With its intimate focus on brush design and selection, this tutorial connects the dots between theory and practice. You’ll learn not just the “what” and “how” of textures, but also the “why”—knowing what they’re for and when to use them appropriately.
How to Add Texture to Digital Art Like a Pro
Learning how to add texture to digital art is a balancing act between overindulgence and that “plasticky” look you’re trying to dispel. But, learning from the experts will gradually teach you moderation—and there’s no better place to learn from the pros than Cubebrush.
Whether you’re searching for textures, tutorials, or the next big thing, our artist-first platform is here to support you. Ready to kick it off with Cubebrush? Find a tutorial that jumpstarts your journey and dive in!