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Using lines, dots, and shapes to create the illusion of texture

Time Frame

10 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size


Life Skills

Thinking & Reasoning




Students will learn how to create the illusion of texture using lines, dots, and shapes. This will integrate a previous lesson on rendering variations of lightness and darkness in drawing. The final project will be for the students to render an animal in pen and ink using one of the techniques discussed in this lesson.


  • Objects you can pull 'rubbings' off, (Bark, sandpaper, cloth, bottom of shoes, brick)
  • graphite pencils
  • paper
  • ink pens
  • overhead projector
  • paintings with 'real texture'
  • paintings with 'implied texture'

Background for Teachers

Students have the chance to explore various print materials under a high power magnification to better understand how pictures are formed. A draw program on any computer picture can be enlarged to show the fine detail of each pixel. A microscope on a magazine or newpaper picture shows the texturing and dots. Students must be able to render objects using the 5 properties of light and shade before they can more on to this project.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to render an animal in one or more of the pen and ink techniques, paying attention to light and shade.

Instructional Procedures


Enlarge a stipple picture so that all you can see are dots. No particular form should be obvious. Display this on the opaque projector as the students come into class. Students will be curious as to what it is. Say nothing at the beginning of class, just begin as usual and let them wonder. When you are ready to start your instruction, ask students what they think the picture is. After a few guesses, display a regular sized copy of the same picture so they can see the form coming out of all the dots. They will be amazed at the fact that what looks like random dots can create an actual form.

Discuss what texture is and where it might be found. Send student out into the classroom, school, or school yard to with a piece of paper and a pencil. Ask students to find 5-10 different textures and do a 'rubbing' of each of them. They do this by laying the paper on the object and coloring over the top of it. When the students return, discuss the different textures and how each of the textures look rendered in pencil.

Discuss the difference between real texture and implied texture: Bring in a painting with texture created with the paint. Let the students feel the texture. Bring in a picture with implied texture.

Complete worksheet: Complete worksheet along with discussion on types of implied texture, and ways to create texture with pen and ink.

Students must be able to render a sphere, cylinder, box, and cone using one of the pen and ink techniques discussed in the worksheet. They must be able to demonstrate the use of the five properties in light and shade.

Discuss how some pictures use combinations of pen and ink techniques: Have students complete worksheet two using each of the ink techniques so that it is rendered similar to the example given.

When students have demonstrated their understanding of the different techniques of pen and ink and are able to render objects in a mastery level, they are ready to start their final project. Each student should bring into class a picture of an animal in black and white. If they need to, they can copy a photo on the copier. Students should look for a clear photo with strong lighting. They should begin by sketching out the animal lightly in pencil, masking in shadows. Once the sketch is finished, the students will be ready to begin inking in their project using the best technique for that particular animal. A reminder, to make an animal look realistic, the highlight in the eye is very important.


How have other artists through the ages used texture to show contour or light and shadow?

Created: 01/29/1997
Updated: 02/05/2018