Using Typography and Textures In Your Drawings

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Feature_image using typography and texture in your works

Written by Juha

In this tutorial, I will be explaining how I used textures and typography to complete the image and gave it this design feel to it. Creating awesome art is hardly ever simple. Composition, colors, different elements such as hair, body, background, foreground, smoke etc. has to be thought out before even starting the actual work.

Sketching and such kind of work can always be done. Sketching can even be helpful. However if one is just drawing blindly rather than with a purpose nothing good comes out.




In this tutorial, I try to bring new ideas and approach to drawing. Even though you don’t get things right at the first time, don’t feel discouraged. Try new things. Approach the work from a new angle and see if only changing the perspective makes the image work better.

With this drawing, I feel the image came to completion only after I applied textures to it. Also changing the concept altogether helped. I corrected the colors, values and by happy accident found a nice gradient adjustment for the colors to really make it stand out.

Sometimes more work is needed if the initial idea doesn’t work. Hopefully, this tutorial gives you courage and determination to make your drawings complete, even if the start is slow and rocky.





Inspiration and reference check

For this image, I used a reference from Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust for example. This particular movie is definitely one of my all-time favorites. The drawing style of Yoshiaki Kawajiri is just super awesome. This movie is also one that always brings me back to cel shading.

The shading and color choices and all are a just top notch in this movie. I truly recommend watching this movie. Huge, huge source of inspiration to me. Now and forever. Sorry for the kudos but this movie is just awesome.



Initial sketch and idea

I watched some pictures from Ilya Kuvshinov and had this idea of drawing a woman with very colorful shadows and using light base colors with dark hair. You can see these in the process photos. I even went quite far with the illustration and rendering until I just saw that it wasn’t up to the par I wanted it to be. Clip Studio Paint’s Rough Pencil did the trick here.


Changing the Concept

When something doesn’t feel right you have to change the concept, redraw or just leave it to the WIP (work-in-progress) folder to wait for a better inspiration and idea to come up. I changed the concept quite a bit and turned it turned out to be more abstract at this time. But the inspiration died quite soon, yet again.


First I thought of doing more like full image illustration so that the character would fill the image entirely but then I settled to do a centered image. I thought of making it a t-shirt design but later on it evolved to full illustration after all. Just a bit different than I originally thought of.




Tip! Program Strengths

Lineart is so much easier and more natural to do in Clip Studio Paint and thus I only use Photoshop to add typography and textures, make color corrections, final adjustments, and the overall finalization.

Different programs have different strengths and thus you should use certain programs for certain tasks. For example, Corel Painter is a superb program for painting, even though Photoshop is also awesome I think Painter has more options for the brushes.

SketchBook Pro is excellent for sketching (at least what I have read) and Clip Studio Paint is wonderful for lineart related work and also extremely efficient for cel shading. Use different programs for different tasks to make your drawing experience more easier.




Something else between

I left it in the WIP folder so to speak and draw something totally different in between. Mind Purification was one of those drawings, as well as Moguji the Chocolate King. Then I went back to it and even though I had changed the concept to a certain point, giving it this split in the middle and coloring was nice and all was looking rather good, it was still missing something.


Adding more depth and color

So I added another layer of shadow. I picked purple(ish) color and set the layer mode to multiply. Then I draw those big shadows to the main elements, hair, and body. I changed the color scheme quite a bit. Trying to make it more interesting and giving the split some meaning. The greyish look just wasn’t giving me enough good vibes so it had to be changed.


Adding more elements to the drawing

After the image was rendered in Clip Studio Paint it was time to move on to Photoshop. I used Photoshop to add those final elements, like the black blocks, typography and everything that is either difficult or time-consuming in Clip Studio Paint. There is no need to stay with only one program when you can use the different elements on different programs.


Adding typography

From the moment I changed concept I knew I wanted to write the Control + V text to the drawing and as a Japanese fan I wanted the Control to be written with Kanjis. The V on the top and + mark on the bottom just gives the painting more design feel to it.


Tip! Flip the canvas

This you might have heara d thousand times before but flipping the canvas is actually one of the most efficient ways to see what is wrong with the image and how the image is balanced. Is the image too much to the left or right, up or down, how is the weighting working. You can flip canvas in Photoshop by choosing from the top: Image – Image Rotation – Flip Canvas Horizontal / Vertical.


Adjust the image until it’s almost perfect

I guess perfection does not exist but the goal of every drawing I make is to try to make it as perfect as possible. Most likely there is always something you could correct or adjust but what it does is that you won’t get the work complete and the frustration comes. The final thing I did was the addition of textures to give it more lifelike feel and to unite the background and foreground together. I also added a gradient effect for the colors (a happy accident I must say), and also corrected colors with color balance and with some other adjustments.


Getting textures

Textures were taken from an awesome site called Do check it out, it is a free no royalty based site and from there I took some cement and metal textures for the work. I also used some of my own photographs also. Play with the textures to see what works and what not. I altered the images with curves, levels, and brightness, contrast tools to name a few. After the changes to the images/textures, I used soft light and multiply layer modes to get them to blend in.


Final look

It is usually best to keep the drawing in the folder for few days and come back to it and everything that strikes the eye should be corrected or changed. When the corrections are done you can call it complete and share it with the world if you dare.




Drop a comment if you liked the post. Remember to share the post if you have friends who might also like this.

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