How to create textures from scratch and use them in Affinity

In this article, we’re going to look at some fun and interesting ways you can make your own textures to add vintage-looking, worn elements to your artwork in Affinity Designer or Photo.

The first thing we need to do is gather our materials and tools to get creative with! I’ve made this handy list of things you could use but the options really are endless.

Paints, brushes (old and new for different textures), pencils, pens, crayons, sponges, pieces of card, clear Sellotape, textured paper, paint rollers, spray paint, pastels, chalk, markers, palette knife, drawing ink, calligraphy pens, varnish, Tipp-Ex.

Don’t feel that you have to stick to standard art materials; household items such as cleaning sponges, old cloths or rags and bubble wrap are also great for applying paints and inks in different ways to make interesting marks and textures.

Step 2: Create your textures

Now we have our materials gathered together let’s start to have some fun with them. First thing you should do is make sure you put down some newspaper or something to protect the surface you’re working on. It might get quite messy with these next steps so it’s really important to avoid any accidental damage to furniture or your recently established ‘WFH’ spaces!

The key thing to remember while we’re making these textures is that we’re going to digitise them afterwards to use in our design work, so they need to be as highly contrasting as possible. This way, when it comes to removing the textures from our paper or background area we can do it quickly and easily without having to spend a lot of time editing afterwards.

Some of my favourite textures are often made using unconventional methods, so here are some examples of the different lines and shapes I created with all of the things I collected.

Experimentation is key

It’s important to remember that there is no wrong way to do this. Sometimes the best results happen when you least expect it or out of the smallest little section you didn’t necessarily plan to make, so just go for it. Experiment with different ways of making marks using your chosen materials and see what you come up with.

Tip: You never know what you might find useful at a later date, so make sure you hang onto all your experiments and keep them to hand for when you’re looking for inspiration or something a little more unique to kick-start your next project! Step 3: Digitise your work

Now we’ve made our marks and textures it’s time to get them into our chosen Affinity app. If you’ve got access to a scanner that would be best way to get a high-quality image of your texture (although make sure everything has properly dried so none of the ink or paints leave a mark on your scanner glass!).

In this case, I’m just using my smart phone but a digital camera would also be great. The most important things to consider when using a camera instead of a scanner are; making sure you get enough light into your image, if you get too close to your paper you’re likely to get shadows or other unwanted elements interfering and by capturing your image head on it will help to avoid any changes to perspective.

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