How to Create Textures With Ink: Drawing a Toad

Articles & Drawing Tutorials, Drawing With Ink

In this post, I’ll show you the step-by-step process of working on a complex texture with ink liners. We’ll create a beautiful drawing of a toad. ūüôā

The Art Supplies I Will Be Using

  • A brushpen (in my case, it’s Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen SB, which means “soft brush”)
  • An ink liner of a medium width;¬†S equals 0.3 mm.
  • An ink liner for creating thin lines, in my case it’s Uni Pin fine line 0.05.

How to Create The Texture Of The Toad’s Skin

In the previous posts, I was talking about the basic ink drawing techniques: lines, hatching, cross-hatching, contour-hatching, and stippling¬†(dotwork). We’ll use all these methods today.

If you haven’t seen the articles, I recommend that you check them out. ūüôā Understanding the fundamentals of drawing with ink helps you¬†greatly because any complex¬†texture consists of the basic, very simple elements.

Expressive lines, contours

Hatching and cross-hatching

Contour and cross-contour hatching

Dotwork, or stippling

A toad’s skin is warty, uneven; it has lots of smaller and bigger papules, and, as a result – demonstrates an exciting play of light and shadow. Our task is to create an illusion of this texture.

Below I have the examples of ways how you can build this texture. Pay attention that it is not a step by step process of drawing (we’ll come to our real frog illustration later), it’s rather an¬†enumeration of techniques.

Sample 1

Drawing circles and semicircles imitating the prominent parts of the toad’s skin. Don’t try too hard to make some perfect shapes – it will look unnatural; accuracy comes with practice.

Sample 2

Creating inclined hatching. This works great for adding shadows and accenting something in your texture.

I usually use the thinner-line tools for hatching, comparing to the contour width. For example, if I create contours with a 0.3 liner, I can choose the 0.1 or 0.05 liner for adding the hatches and working on the details.

Sample 1 + 2

Look how we can combine both types! I’ve drawn the circle shapes to mark the papules and then accented them with hatching.

Sample 3

Rounded contour hatching with the possible inclusion of cross-hatches. This way of applying ink strokes comes in handy when we want to accentuate the 3d form of something. The hatches look like they repeat the contours of an object.

When I was drawing this sample, I imagined that I was working on some oblong elements, trying to give them more volume.

Sample 1 + 3

And here is how we can combine lines (which form the circular shapes) and rounded contour hatching.

Sample 4

Dotwork, or stippling. It allows us to achieve impressive results with almost any complex texture, giving it soft, velvety look and feel.

How to Draw a Toad With Ink Liners

I hope that previous part made you more prepared, and now begins the fun part! ūüėÄ

Step 1

I start with a pencil underdrawing – don’t want to guess where I should place another ink line.¬†

Step 2

I use the brushpen to outline the contours. Just relax your hand and draw some beautiful, varying lines ūüėȬ†

Step 3

I start drawing circular shapes of different size with lines, using the 0.3 (S) ink liner. 

Step 4

I continue the previous step; the tool is the same. We don’t have to cover all the figure¬†with those¬†elements, so I leave the upper part of the toad¬†almost untouched.

Step 5

With the 0.05 ink liner, I create the shadows. The inclined hatching works excellent for this task. 

Step 6

I add more and more of the thin hatches. They may locate in the shadows between the papules or just cover the belly, accenting its three-dimensional look.

I like to start the work from one part of the drawing, entirely investing in it, and then proceed to another piece, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. You may notice that you feel more comfortable working on the drawing as a whole.

Step 7


Step 8

I’m going¬†higher and higher in the drawing, creating thin hatches with the 0.05 ink liner.

Please pay attention that the back of the toad is spotlit so it should get less hatching than the belly. 

Step 9

I draw the back of the toad, using the same tips.

It’s useful to¬†digress from your artwork from time to time and get some rest. It is especially true in cases with some monotonous work like this texture.¬†

Step 10

I start working on the legs.

Step 11

Using the same principles (circular lines + hatching), I work on the basic texture of the limbs.

You may notice that I apply the additional layers of hatching at the sides of the legs – it accents their three-dimensional look.

Step 12

I complete the work on the legs. 

Step 13

It’s time to draw the toad’s head. ¬†Using the 0.05 ink liner, I add some warts (they are smaller on the head) and create hatching that reveals the relief.

I also add hatches to the eye. 

Step 14

I work on the toad’s eye, adding dots with the 0.3 (S) liner.¬†

Step 15

With the 0.3 (S) liner, I add dots to the texture, paying particular attention to the shadows. They help me to unite the look and make the figure more three-dimensional.

Plus, I strengthen the outlines of the papules here and there, basing on my¬†impression of this artwork.¬†And it’s complete! ūüėÄ

I hope you liked this tutorial. Thank you for reading and watching ūüôā

If you have any question, please let me know in the comments.

And share this post with your friends who may be interested in learning more about the ink technique! ūüôā Drawing together is more fun.


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