How I use texture in illustrations (plus 4 free texture sites)

Today I’m going to show you how I used photographic textures in the illustrations of My Dead Bunny.

Photographic textures are great for whenever you need a realistic-looking texture, or when it’s going to be too hard ot time-consuming to draw a texture by hand.

I’ve used photographic textures in all my books so far, but only sparingly.  The creepy, cinematic style of Dead Bunny called for the use of lots and lots of textures, and it was heaps of fun to let loose.

Example 1: title page

Here’s a little excerpt from the title page illustration. It uses the three three texture samples you see below it.


Those textures are, from left to right:
– blotchy concrete (from Mayang’s texture library)
– tree bark (from Grunge Texture 4 Me)
– telephone pole (from Grunge Texture 4 Me)

Without the textures, it looks like this:dead bunny final pg 4-5 title v4-no texture

Example 2: house interior

This one uses four texture samples.


The textures are, from left to right:

– wood panels (from flickr user William Warby)
– wallpaper 1 (from Lost & Taken’s incredible wallpaper library)
– wallpaper 2 (ditto)
– rug (from Mayang’s patterned fabric texture library)

Without the textures it looks like this:dead bunny final pg18 final-no textures

Example 3: house exterior

This page used a whole bunch of textures but I’ve just focused on the four most obvious ones.


From left to right, the textures are:

– bricks 1 (from Mayang’s brick texture library)
– roof tiles (from Mayang’s roofing texture library)
– wood panels (from flickr user William Warby)
– bricks 2 (from Mayang’s brick texture library)

Without the textures it looks like this:

dead bunny final final pg16-17 - no texture RGB

How to add textures to illustrations

Rather than put together a tutorial myself, I found a great one over at Digital Arts Online. Artist Dominique Byron uses the same processes in Photoshop that I use – check out his tutorial here.


Here’s a timelapse demonstration of how I applied the textures in an early test illustration for My Dead Bunny. First I added all the shades of grey to the image, then I applied the textures to each section of the image.

4 free texture sites

Finally – here’s my favourite free texture sites. Each site arranges its textures by category so you can easily find what you need.

Happy drawing!

MDB_cover-400pxBuy ‘My Dead Bunny’ now

Booktopia (Australia)
Readings (Australia)
Angus & Robertson (Australia)
Book Depository (UK)

Author: James Foley

James Foley makes children’s books for children who read books. If you’re a child and you’re eating his books, you’re doing it wrong. His books include Brobot, Dungzilla, Gastronauts, Chickensaurus, Toffle Towers, My Dead Bunny and There's Something Weird About Lena. James lives in Perth with his wife, 2 kids, and a labrador. He is a massive Marvel movie nerd and comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts. Follow him on FB/twitter/insta/youtube @jamesfoleybooks, or at .

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