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Digital Art Ideas for Beginners: How to Add Texture in Illustrator

Ready to learn how to add texture in Illustrator!? In these digital art lesson tutorials you’ll take your artwork to the next level with Illustrator textures. There are a few different techniques that you can explore below and while some of them overlap, each presenter has a different style. Use the one that works best for you and leave the rest! 


Digital Art Ideas for Beginners: How to Add Texture in Illustrator:texture05

Using the Clipping Mask with Text in Illustrator CC Video

You simply can’t learn how to do digital art without mastering the clipping mask in Illustrator. This tool has so many uses and can be used in so many different places. It’s so fun and easy to use that you may find yourself just looking for places to use it…even in the most unlikely places. This video is part of the 17 part video series on learning how to use the elements of design while learning Illustrator.

  • Tutorial Difficulty: 1/10
  • Time to complete: 50 minutes
  • Tutorial Type: Video 
    • Run Time: 6:06
  • Presenter: Slow paced and easy to understand
  • Adjustments for Cloud: none
  • What you need to know in order to do this tutorial: Nothing!
  • Tutorial corrections: none
  • Ideas for creative license: This tutorial is pretty straightforward as far as the tasks to complete. See if you can come up with some very obscure textures and images to accompany them.


Digital Art Ideas for Beginners: How to Add Texture in Illustrator:gradient01

How To Create Texture Gradients - Illustrator Tutorial

This illustrator project takes you through how to use the grain texture in illustrator. It will require you to also learn a bit about gradient, but it is easy to follow and the technique is not difficult to apply. 

  • Tutorial Difficulty: 3/10
  • Time to complete: 20 minutes if you use my example, 40+ if you create your own design
  • Tutorial Type: Video 
    • Run time: 7:18
  • Presenter: He’s “hip” and has a propensity for bad jokes, but he’s easy to understand and follow.
  • Adjustments for Cloud: none
  • What you need to know in order to do this tutorial:
    • You’ll need to start with a group of vector shapes. You can download mine if you want to have a place to start, or you can make your own. Mine can be downloaded at the bottom of this post. (Scroll down :)
    • He doesn’t give you a document size for creating your own design. I used 400 x 400 pixels.
  • Tutorial corrections: None! Everything works as he explains.
  • Ideas for creative license: 
    • You are welcome to use my example to practice the effects, but consider making your own image and adding the grain texture to it.
    • For my image, I used some of the techniques outlined in the How to Create Mountain Landscape Illustration in Adobe Illustrator tutorial that I posted with the value tutorials. Try using techniques used in previous tutorials to keep them fresh in your mind.
    • The grain effect gives you several options for how it will look including intensity, contrast, and grain type. In the video, the presenter only used stippled. In my example shown above, I used a few different grain types including sprinkles and clumped. Play around with all the settings until you come up with something you like!


Digital Art Ideas for Beginners: How to Add Texture in Illustrator:Bird Illustration

How to Add and Create TEXTURE | Illustrator Tutorial (9 WAYS)

I saved this one for last because it is a bit of a doozy! While the techniques used are very helpful and they could be invaluable for you in your future projects, it is a lot of information and it could seem a little overwhelming! As the tutorial name suggests, the presenter will give you 9 different options for applying texture to your artwork. If this is too overwhelming, look below in the “What you need to know…” bullet point and just choose a couple different techniques to master, and then maybe come back another day to do some more. If you do decide to do all 50 minutes of the tutorial, go through it slowly! It is easy to miss a step if you’re not paying attention.

  • Tutorial Difficulty: 8/10
  • Time to complete: 4 hours and 30 minutes (to do the whole tutorial, see below for suggestions on breaking it up into smaller parts).
  • Tutorial Type: Video 
    • Run Time: 50:20
  • Presenter: 
    • He has an accent, but he is easy to understand. 
    • He moves pretty fast and doesn’t completely explain everything that he does, so you may have to stop and start the video several times in order to really grasp what he is doing.
  • Adjustments for Cloud: Some of the options look a little different, but everything works the same for the 2022 edition of Cloud.
  • What you need to know in order to do this tutorial:
    • There is a free download that goes with this tutorial in the video description. You will have to provide an email to get it (this may be a job for teachers, and then they can provide the files for their students).
    • You can create the bird with shapes and colors for practice, but the bird is provided in vector form for your use in the downloadable files.
    • He shows you a lot of options when it comes to applying textures to the artwork. It may be helpful to watch an entire section before actually doing the tutorial work to see what way will work best for you. The effects may slow down your computer as well. Perhaps you could choose just one or two of them to try:
      • 1:27 prepare vector illustration for texturizing
      • 8:17 method №1: apply photo texture to background using blending modes
      • 12:18 method №2: apply photo texture to vector shape using clipping mask and blending modes
      • 13:22 method №3: customize photo texture using opacity mask, brush and Gaussian blur
      • 20:08 method №4: apply noise texture using opacity mask, grain effect, brush and Gaussian blur
      • 25:15 method №5: apply texture using opacity mask and linear gradient
      • 27:18 method №6: apply transparent texture using opacity mask, radial gradient and linear gradient
      • 31:30 method №7: apply texture using freeform gradient and opacity mask
      • 40:07 create noise brush
      • 42:26 method №8: draw with noise brush using clipping mask
      • 45:01 method №9: draw with noise brush using opacity mask to create rough transparent edge
    • If at any time your computer runs slow while you are working with the grain texture, take the tip from 48:52 in the video and turn off the grain effect through the Appearance panel.
  • Tutorial corrections:
    • At 6:35-8:18, he talks about using the Expand option and cutting objects with the shape builder, but he has already done this step from his example. So you can watch him and learn how he does it, but you won’t be able to do it yourself. 
    • At 9:35-12:20, he tells you to play with the blending modes. Depending on the blending modes that you use, you may or may not have the same results that he does as he goes through the process.
    • At 15:45-18:25, just a reminder that you will need to make sure that you have the line selected before you can adjust the color.
    • At 42:53, he has you change the color of the texture brush. Make sure that you have the stroke selected and not the fill.
  • Ideas for creative license: 
    • This tutorial, while extensive, leaves a lot of room for creativity. You could choose any or all of the nine texture techniques that he outlines. 
    • You could also try these techniques on your own artwork, limitless possibilities!


That concludes the texture tutorials at this time. I hope you take the time to go through these and learn some new skills. Remember, practice is the best way to learn and get more comfortable with these programs!

Click the button below to get my illustrator example for the second tutorial.