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About stipple portraits, hedcut portraits, and ink dot portraits

Updated on April 4, 2013

Seeing spots

Portraits and general subject drawings made out of many ink dots laid carefully side by side are often called pointillism or stipple. Pointillism is the color version of a stipple portrait. As colored dots are placed adjacent to each other, when the viewer moves further away, the colors seem to blend to the eye, creating a new color.

A "Hedcut" is a black ink on white paper stipple portrait that usually includes bold lines and dashes to create a portrait that has a similar look to the engraving on currency. The Hedcut style is famous as the Wall Street Journal style of portrait featured in the newspaper. What is even more stunning about Hedcut portraits is that they are slightly smaller than the size of an index card.

Whether called pointillism, stipple, or hedcut, they all take a great deal of time and attention to produce.

Mistakes cannot be erased. A small error will mean that the entire portrait must be begun again.The artist must maintain patience and strong concentration while working on stipple portraits.

If you're interested in making a pages (we call them 'lenses'), on Squidoo, you can start here! You can make lenses about just about anything - it doesn't have to be art...and you can make money for yourself or for charity. Better yet, it's 100% FREE to do this!

Stipple Man

A really neat advertisement that shows a Wall Street Journal Hedcut-Stipple portrait coming to life.

Visit my art website

While I no longer offer stipple/Hedcut portraits (I decided to concentrate on my love of pencil portraits), please check out my pencil portraits.

Books About Stipple - Pointillism - Hedcut Portraits

Software To Create Stipple Effect?

A lot of people would like to be able to recreate the Wall Street Journal stippling look with a computer program.

It seems like something like that would be available, but it's not easy. I guess that is another special thing about the ink dot portraits - they are handmade, they do take time, but the results are pretty special.

Here are some links I found that relate to how to get the "Hedcut" pointellism look with computers. - What Software Program Can Create the Wall Street Journal Portrait Look from a Photo?

If you have PhotoShop, you could try this technique, outlined in Andrew Dela Serna's Blog: Hedcut effect by PhotoShop. It's probably the closest I've seen done by a computer program, but in my opinion, it still lacks something that hand drawn art supplies.

Here is a website where you can create a hedcut/stipple type portrait of yourself by putting similar elements of your features together: LINK

Hedcut Portraits of Animals

Yes, you can get hedcut/stipple portraits of pets! The results can be amazing.

Drop me a line about Stipple Portraits

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    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      I've done other paintings in pointillism, but haven't done a portrait yet with this technique. It would be interesting.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 

      5 years ago from Kansas

      I love stippling, but it can take a lot of patience to do it well. great lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      There was a guy in one of my classes at art school who was brilliant at stipple portraits. For some reason I've never tried it, but I love the results when it's done well.

      Great lens!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You taught me something today. I really like the stipple portraits...I just didn't know that was what they were called. That video was really cool!

    • Joy Neasley profile image

      Joy Neasley 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      I learned something new today...thanks. great lens.

    • jnstewart profile image

      John Norman Stewart 

      7 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      I've been an artist all my life and had never heard the term "Stipple Portrait". You are never too old to learn. Thanks for sharing your lens.

    • moskit profile image


      7 years ago

      I had never heard of Stipple Portraits till now.

      I have been searching for a new hobby to get started in. This may be it!


    • mr1902 profile image


      7 years ago

      Very informative lens, mind if I add it to my list of similar lenses on my textual pointillism lens? I've always been fascinated with stipple drawing, just too chicken to try it.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens...I've done pen & ink stipple work for AGES. One portrait of Bo Diddley on illo bd was pure stipple @ 6x10 taking eight hours to complete. The pic was soooo good that it was stolen! Now, with a glance at all the opuses available I will start a portfolio of stipples ala hedcuts. You'll be seein' me soon!

    • Rya LM profile image

      Rya LM 

      9 years ago

      Wow--I wasn't familiar with the hedcut term, though i recognized the difference between that and full-detail stippling once I saw it. Very interesting--and thorough--lens. Sorry it took me a while to visit you after you'd weighed in on my pointillism/stippling lens--anyway, this one has been lensrolled over there so that people can find out even more details about this technique

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I enjoyed your lens. You are so talented.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I've thoroughly enjoyed your lens and learning about Stipple portraits! I've been a fan of pointillism, but hadn't known about Stipple. How are your doing selling your black and white drawings? 5*****


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