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How to Do Pointillism

I like to make art in the style of pointillism and share tips with other creators.

This was my first pointillism piece: Donald Duck!

This was my first pointillism piece: Donald Duck!

What Is Pointillism?

Pointillism is an art technique of neo-impressionist painting. Pointillism and "stippling" are the same thing (the former is the original name). The basis of pointillism is creating a bunch of dots in different densities to create a cohesive image when viewers look at the bigger picture. It was developed by Georges Seurat in 1886 as a variation of the art form impressionism.

Here's how to use this technique yourself!

What You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Fine liners/liquid pens

When selecting your fine liner/pen, make sure the tip is as thin as possible and that the ink doesn't bleed when used on paper.

This is my latest pointillized piece, using mainly black with a tiny amount of red to bring out the eyes and tongue.

This is my latest pointillized piece, using mainly black with a tiny amount of red to bring out the eyes and tongue.

Pointillism Tips and Techniques

Pointillism is not a "just do it" type of art. To create a great masterpiece, you must first learn the techniques, as the way you create each dot will have a huge effect on your final product. Once you have learned the basics (which doesn't take long), you will be off, creating your own masterpieces.

The biggest piece of advice is to avoid making tadpoles. Pointillism is tedious work, and one of the most common errors is creating what is known as a tadpole. It's created if you create a dot that isn't perfectly circular but has a small tail at the end of it. This looks like a tadpole and can hurt your final piece. To make sure no tadpoles appear in your pointillism, make sure to:

  • Not work on the piece for long periods: You do not spend hours trying to complete your artwork. Doing pointillism for hours straight is difficult, making you tired and increasing the likelihood of creating tadpoles. Take a break every once in a while to relax your mind and drawing hand.
  • Hold your pen vertically rather than in your regular pen grip: Holding the pen straight up ensures that once your dot is created, the pen only rises upward and not slightly sideways (creating a tadpole, which is more likely when you are using your regular pen grip).
  • Take your time: Pointillism is meant to be fun, and rushing it is a mistake.
  • Vary density to provide depth: When creating your pointillism art, you must show depth. You can do this by changing how many dots you place in one area. For example, if you were creating a shadow, the dots that compile the shadow should all be placed close together and there should be lots of them. This signifies that this part of your picture is darker than the rest. If you were creating points on the object which created the shadow, you would use fewer dots and space them further apart, signifying this area of the picture is lighter. Remember that when making shading effects, the amount of dots is always constant. For example, if you have two objects with shadows, make sure the density of each shadow is the same. If one shadow is lighter than the other, it ruins the outcome.
  • Have fun: The best way to do pointillism/stippling is by enjoying the process. Create a fun setting for yourself by being comfortable (relaxing clothing and a nice chair), and listening to music or watching some TV as well. Also, you can get a group of family/friends to do the activity together to make it even more fun!
Three-dimensional shapes practice sheet

Three-dimensional shapes practice sheet

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Read More From Feltmagnet

Practice Sheet

The best way to practice pointillism is by practicing. I've provided a sheet that covers the basics of shading and creating shadows. Just print it out and use it to get started!


Barry McCockner on January 27, 2020:

this is cool art

Mike Ox Long on January 27, 2020:

Joe Mama has entered the chat

joe mamma on January 27, 2020:

jah has entered the chat

emmy on January 22, 2020:

Thanks bruhhhh

ravi on January 06, 2013:

it interesting ! thanks