Week 9: composition I

Design Elements: Texture

Texture associates art with our sense of touch. Actual texture is palpable or physically real (like tree bark) while visual, or implied, texture is the illusion of physical texture experienced with our eyes.

Actual texture

There can be many actual textures in a two-dimensional work of art, including thick oil paint, rough watercolor paper, or perhaps an aggregate of sand or collaged materials on the surface of a drawing.

Scored paper artwork

This is an example of physical texture. The artist starts with a blank sheet of paper and creates the composition using only folds.

Simons Schubert

Untitled, 2008, 75cm x 50cm| Simon Schubert

Visual or Implied Texture

We also experience the illusion of texture with our eyes. This is also called implied or visual texture because it “appears” to have texture but is only the rendered appearance of texture. Photography illustrates visual texture—we see it but we cannot touch and feel the texture with our hands. Drawings use both actual and implied texture.

Photographic Texture

A photograph is visual or implied texture because when you touch the surface of the photograph it is smooth.


Live Oak Branch, Avery Island, La | 2000 | Darren Clark