Making Textures

by Michael Zabel

Here’s a fun way to make a free custom texture for use in a piece of digital artwork:

Step 1:

Get your hands on a sheet of nice quality drawing paper.  I like to use some 80 lb Strathmore stock that I usually find in the bowels of my storage cabinet.  Choosing a paper with a little bit of tooth helps in manufacturing authentic creases and what I like to call “random stray fault lines” to occur during the rest of the texturizing process.

Une feuille de papier.

Step 2:

Make the choice…start folding the paper in nice uniform perpendicular segments or just arbitrary randomness.   You can even go crazy and just crumple it up and toss it under your copy of Gardner’s Art Though the Ages for a while.  Note:  A copy of Gardner’s Art Through the Ages is NOT required for this procedure.  To illustrate this process I have chosen uniform folds:

Back and…to the left…
again…back and…to the left.

 Step 3:

This is the point in which this technique really starts to take stride.  Regardless of the choice of paper, the folding process should reduce it down to roughly the size of a standard back pocket on a pair of pants.  Henceforth, all that is required for the next step is some jeans and your ass:

Operation paper fold…complete.
The folded paper making its way into a butt pocket on a pair of comfy ass jeans.

Step 4:

Make sure the piece of paper from the previous examples is in the “butt pocket” of whatever pair of pants you choose to wear for the day.  This part of the project can last anywhere from a day to weeks depending on the amount of weathering you wish to accomplish for your own texture.  The idea is that eventually a human being has to sit down and the natural rhythm of a person standing up, sitting down, and just plain walking around all day will transcend into that piece of paper.  But why the “butt pocket” you ask?  This pocket takes the most wear and tear throughout any given day.  Just think about how much you sit and stand up…and sit…and stand up…and sit…in just one day.  For this example, I weathered this paper on a Saturday of running some errands:

Texture…at last!

The transformed paper, and original custom texture in all its splendid glory, can now be scanned and manipulated in the digital program of your choosing.  Creating textures can be a fun process with a fun story behind it…no pun intended.  There is, of course, always the easier way to find textures by conducting an internet search, but the process I have just highlighted (to me at least) is a way to create a one-of-a-kind touch to an illustration by literally putting yourself into it. 
 

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