Drawing is like magic—you can create many different surfaces using only a sheet of paper and a few pencils. But, just like magic, the whole process is not so easy to understand. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to draw a wood texture step by step. I will be using a simple cylinder as an example, but you can use the same process to draw the wood texture on every form.
Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:
What You Will Learn in This How to Draw Wood Tutorial
- How to draw a dark, rough wood texture (a log with bark)
- How to draw a light wood texture (smooth wooden surface)
- How to draw a wood grain texture
- How to draw a wood texture with pencils
What You Will Need
You will need the following things in order to complete this exercise:
- Some sheets of paper
- Hard pencil (HB)
- Medium soft pencil (2B)
- Soft pencil (5B)
- Very soft pencil (8B)
- Pencil sharpener
- Cotton swab/blending stump
- Ruler (optional)
1. How to Draw a Rough Wood Texture
First, define the width and length of the cylinder by drawing perpendicular lines with an HB pencil and a ruler, if you need it. The exact values are not important, but keep in mind that the bigger the drawing, the harder it is to keep the proportions right (but also the smaller it is, the fewer details you can use). Keep these lines very light and barely visible—I made mine darker just so that you could see them better.
Cross the upper and lower line with a short line to create the dimensions of an ellipse. The longer the line, the more rotated the cylinder. Use these lines to build identical ellipses on the top and bottom. Draw them lightly, and don’t force yourself to draw the whole outline at once.
Draw more parallel lines between both ellipses, gradually decreasing the distance between them as you get away from the central line.
Cross these lines randomly, creating diamond-like shapes in each band.
Separate the log from its bark by adding a slightly smaller ellipse on top.
Add more ellipses inside. They don’t need to be perfect, so feel free to wave them a little.
Create some distance between the shapes on the bark. Keep your hand loose, and don’t draw them too precisely.
Draw more loose shapes within the already defined one. Shake your hand a little to make these shapes less planned and more natural.
Time for the shading! Tilt your pencil a little and shade the inner ellipse on top. This is the core of the trunk.
Take a 2B pencil and add some shade to the inner side of every ellipse in this area. Keep your pencil slightly tilted, and don’t press too hard.
Go back to the HB pencil and use the same method to shade the other ellipses. Then draw some random dots between them.
Take the 2B pencil again and shade the edge of the bark.
Take a 5B pencil and add some crevices. The drier the wood, the more of them you can use. Don’t draw the cuts straight—treat the ellipses as little “waves”.
Take an HB pencil again and draw chaotic shapes on every element of the bark. Keep the pencil tilted for a more natural effect.
When you fill the areas, take a 2B pencil and continue.
Take a 5B pencil and fill the crevices with it. You don’t need to be precise—use the previous lines as a suggestion, not as exact guides. Feel free to add more crevices here and there.
Add details to the crevices by drawing with a well-sharpened pencil.
Draw similar but flatter crevices on the bark.
Then you can take an 8B pencil and use it to accentuate certain shadows.
2. How to Draw a Light Wood Texture
Start with a cylinder, just like before. If you want to practice a bigger variety of wooden surfaces, you can also “cut” a part of this cylinder. I also decided to make the edge softer and more polished.
Clean the redundant lines with an eraser to see the edges better.
Use an HB pencil to sketch the wood grain. Pay attention to the perspective. You don’t need to be too careful about continuity of the lines—they won’t be that visible later.
Tilt your pencil and give some shade to the inner side of the big pattern.
Take your blending tool and soften the area. Then use the same pencil to darken the tighter part of the pattern.
Take a 2B pencil and tilt it, drawing some lines along the fibers.
Use an eraser to “draw” brighter fibers between them.
Use the same pencil to add some detail to the big pattern. Draw short, sharp lines all over the wood grain, and keep your pencil sharpened.
Don’t be afraid of going quite deep with your lines into that bright area in-between. Just make sure you keep some distance between the lines to keep them separate. Then take a 5B pencil and accentuate the tight fibers in darker areas.
Use the same pencil to accentuate the lines in that big pattern as well.
Use various soft pencils to shade the cylinder as a whole to unify the pattern. Keep your pencil tilted, and don’t press too hard to keep the pattern intact. Wood is quite bright inside, so be careful not to darken it too much. The 8B pencil should be used only in some crevices—if you want to create old wood texture, you should add a lot of those. If your goal is to create a dark wood texture, don’t be afraid to cover the pattern—a dark wood texture shouldn’t have a highly contrasting pattern.
You can also turn it into a light wood texture by using an eraser in the areas between the grain lines.
Now you know how to draw a wood texture in two variants!
Wood Texture Resources
If you need a wood texture for your projects, but you don’t have time to draw it, you can also use these resources:
45 Wood Textures (JPG)
As the name implies, in this pack you’ll find 45 wood textures of all types and colors. With such variety, you’re guaranteed to find something you like!
Wood Grain Texture Type (PNG, PSD)
If you want to create text with some wood texture character, this set of letters will help you with it! Each letter has been covered with a highly detailed wood texture, and you also get numbers and special characters in this pack!
Wood Grain Texture Pack (JPG)
This pack offers you 20 high-resolution photos of wood grain textures. And they’re not just some boring wood grain textures—they have fantastic shapes that make them suitable to use for an abstract background.
Wood Texture Backgrounds (JPG, PNG)
This pack offers you ten color versions of an old wood texture background, perfect for making your projects seem more cozy. You also get a grayscale version to add your own colors!
Vector Wood Grain Textures (EPS, PNG)
If you need something scalable, this set contains ten vector wood grain textures—choose the one you like and change its size and color to your needs.
And here are a few more “how to draw” tutorials for you!