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How to do Pointillism

Updated on April 16, 2012
This was my first pointillism piece, a Donald Duck
This was my first pointillism piece, a Donald Duck | Source

What is Pointillism

Pointillism is an art technique of neo-impressionist painting. Both pointillism and stippling are the same thing, but pointillism is the original name. The bases of pointillism is creating a bunch of dots in different densities to create a blended image (When looked at all together) to the viewers. Pointillism was developed by Georges Seurat in 1886 as a variation of the art form impressionism. This hub will cover the basics of how to do pointillism, and explain techniques of pointillism.


Pointillism is great because it only requires paper and a few, (or a single) fine liner(s) or liquid pens. When selecting your fine liner/pen, ensure that they are as thin as possible and that they do not bleed when used on paper (the ink does not spread after touching paper). If you choose a pen with the above criteria, you can create great pointillism art pieces.

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. | Source


  • Pointillism is not a "just do it" type of art, to create a great pointillized masterpiece, you must first learn the techniques of pointillism. The techniques of pointillism is the most important part, as the way you create each individual dot will have a huge effect on your final product. Once you have learned the basics (which doesn't take too long), you will be off creating your own masterpieces in no time at all!
  • Do not make tadpoles:Pointillism is tedious work, and one of the most common errors is creating what is known as a tadpole in pointillism art. A tadpole is created if you create a dot and the dot has a small tail at the end of it, making it look like a tadpole. Tadpoles can have a negative impact on your final product. To make sure no tadpoles appear in your pointillism, make sure:
  • You do not spend hours trying to complete your artwork. Doing pointillism for hours straight is difficult and, makes you tired, making it more likely to create tadpoles. To prevent this, take a break every once in a while to relax your mind and drawing hand.
  • Hold your pen vertically rather then 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, as pointillism is meant to be fun, and rushing it really is ahuge factor in the final produce.
  • Vary density to provide depth: When creating your pointillism art, it is important that you show depth, 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, signifying that this part of your picture is darker than the rest. But if you were pointillizing the object which created the shadow, you would use less dots and they would not be as close together, signifying this part of your picture is lighter. Remember when making shading effects, the amount of dots are always constant. Example: if you have 2 objects with shadows, makes sure the density of each shadow is the same, because if one shadow is lighter than the other, it ruins the final outcome.
  • Have fun: The best way to do pointillism/stippling is by enjoying yourself in the process. Create a fun setting for yourself by being comfortable (relaxing clothing and a comfortable chair), and listening to music or watching some T.V as well. Also you can get a group of family/friends to pointillize together, to make it even more fun!

Practice Sheet

The best way to practice pointillism is by using the sheet below. The sheet covers the basics of shading and creating shadows. To print out the page right click and save image as, then select the directory you want to save your picture in. Finally open the picture and click print!

Thank You

This is the basis of pointillism, art that truly involves imagination to create wonderful pieces of art. If you are looking for a more in depth guide about pointillism, there are a few books on the right that I have chosen that are excellent. Hope you enjoyed this hub and learned a lot about pointillism and are going to create artwork of your own!


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      ravi 4 years ago

      it interesting ! thanks