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Dot Painting - Paint Dab Marker - Abstract Painting - Step by Step Beginner's Painting Tutorial

Updated on August 27, 2017

Three Canvas Painting

Bird on the Tree
Bird on the Tree

Dot Painting

Dot painting is an old form of painting. It is usually popular among kids especially preschool kids. Paint Dab Markers make the dot painting easy to make and also are mess free. Kids can have fun making dots and parents are worry free because the paints are not spilled all over the carpet or floor. The best thing about these paints are that they are washable. Amazing!!

In this tutorial, I have tried to make an abstract painting with the help of Paint Dab Markers and Permanent Markers. This is a beginner's tutorial and recommended for ages 15 and over.


For this painting not a lot of materials are required. This project can be done in less than $10.

Following are the materials:

  1. Stretch Canvas - I highly recommend the stretch canvas because the hard canvas does not take the paint properly for this particular technique. You can choose as many canvas you like for one painting. In the tutorial, I used three 8" X 10" canvas.
  2. Paint Dab Markers - This is what will help you make the painting. I suggest you start with a basic set of four. I got my set at Walmart for approximately $5.
  3. Permanent Marker (Black) - Usually everyone has Sharpie Markers.

That's about it. All the materials you require, apart from the basic supplies like - pencil and eraser.


Let's begin the fun of Dab Markers. They do give an impression that it is for kids but you can create amazing paintings for your wall, or to gift it to someone.

  • Lightly draw your desired image on the canvas. Remember to draw basic outlines. Nothing intricate or detailed. In the tutorial, I have used three stretched canvas to draw my image.
  • Once you are satisfied with your drawing, take your dab markers. Before dabbing them onto the canvas, take a piece of old newspaper or mail, and try some dabs on it. This enables the flow of the color properly.
  • Once the color has started to flow evenly and the dabs are round enough, start dabbing one color on the canvas randomly. Do not follow the pattern of the drawing. Just dab away like kids.
  • When you have enough of one color, take another color and follow the same procedure. Do the same with all the colors. In my case, I only had four colors and I used them all. You can use less or more.
  • After the canvas is completely covered in dab markers, take your permanent marker and connect the dots with double lines.

Spider Web Background

House and Tree with Cloud
House and Tree with Cloud

Paint Dab Marker

Had you ever used Paint Dab Markers or similar markers prior watching this hub?

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The Tutorial Continued

  • When all the dots are connected, color the double lines around you drawing. Remember that the drawing is just a guide and your double lines will not be exactly like the image you drew. You will have to adjust and try to make the image show up. In the tutorial below, I drew a tree , and then I colored the line to make it look like a tree.
  • After you have the basic outline of your drawing colored, start to color the double lines inside the main outline.
  • Once done coloring all the double lines, to highlight and differentiate the drawing from background, draw lines inside each triangle formed by the double lines inside the main outline of the image. Do not worry about the lines to be in the same direction, you can draw vertical, horizontal, diagonal lines.
  • Your painting is ready to be put up on the wall or presented once all the triangles are covered in lines.

Circles inside Circles

Dancing Peacock (Bird)
Dancing Peacock (Bird)

Some Additional Ideas

I have made four different types of painting using this technique. Three of them are on the single canvas and the last one with the video tutorial is made up with three canvas.

  • Like in the image House and Tree with cloud, I connected the background dots with single lines making it look like a spider web.
  • For the Dancing Peacock, I made tiny circles inside the dabs surrounding the actual image, to put emphasis on the painting. Also I colored the border of the painting with the permanent marker.
  • Butterfly and the flower, I used blue craft's acrylic paint and gave it a wash before making the dabs.
  • The three canvas painting, I left the background plain. I colored a little circle inside the face of the bird and outlined it to make it look like an eye. Also to put emphasis on the face I outlined the face of the bird too.

Background Wash

Butterfly and the Flower
Butterfly and the Flower

YouTube Tutorial

Make Your Own

Hope you enjoy making this abstract painting.


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