What Is Stippling?


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What is the stippling technique?

Artists use several mediums to complete a work of art, but one or two tend to become the preferred method. Stippling is a technique that incorporates several circles or small dots of the same color to create a composition. These points can be drawn, painted, or etched onto a surface using a variety of media.

The dotted dots are joined to create a recognizable image. The closer you get to the image, the more you can select individual points. As you zoom out, you may not be able to recognize the dotted effect because you will see a complete image instead.

This article will cover the history of the method, the reasons artists choose to use it, and how you can get started stippling.

History of dotted lines

Artists use the stippling technique to create sculptures, prints, and paintings. Giulio Campagnola first created the stippling process in 1510 during the Renaissance period. At first, he mastered this engraving technique. Back then, pages were printed in one color, so images were printed with dotted lines to recreate depth. These impressions are known as dotted or etched impressions and are made by etching several small dots on a metal plate.

Why do artists use the dotted line?

The stippling technique gives artists a more creative license to experiment with how the shapes and shadows of still life objects represent. Hatching is another similar shading technique that uses lines instead of points.

Stippling vs pointillism

Both stippling and pointillism incorporate a series of dots. However, stippling uses single-color dots to create a complete texture, detail, or image. Pointillism implements multiple dots of different colors to create a complete work of art.

Pointillism developed centuries after stippling in 1886 and is most associated with the Impressionist movement. Artists such as Monet, Georges Seurat, and Paul Signac influenced this movement.

Stippling supplies

The medium you use for stippling is almost as vital as the technique itself. Specific tools will help you create precise points with the right depth and effect. If you want to practice using this medium, consider investing in the following:

  • A fine ballpoint pen. If you're just starting out, a cheap pen would work, but you will be more successful with a finer tip between 0.03 and 0.005 inches. Some artists recommend using an archival marker for the best and most consistent results.
  • A graphite pencil and a pencil sharpener. Pencils don't have the same depth as ink, but they work well for creating depth. They are also a bit more forgiving than ink if you are a beginner.
  • Paint and fine tip brush. Paint is generally not the material of choice for stippling as it dries slowly and can easily drip or stain.
  • Matte drawing paper. You can start tapping on any paper. However, try to avoid glossy paper to avoid smudging. Rough textured paper or cardstock works well. Be aware that some thicker and more textured papers can wear down the tip of your pen or pencil more quickly.

How to start

When tapping, pay attention to the balance between negative and positive space. Simply put, hundreds of well-focused points will give the illusion of a dark shadow. Fewer points separated from each other will give the illusion of light.

Practice creating a gradient with dotted lines.

This concept of positive and negative space sounds simple, but the technique takes practice. Before attempting to dot an object, work on creating varying degrees of lightness and darkness. Create a dark to light gradient on a blank page by grouping many dots together and gradually spreading them out. Finally, try completing simple three-dimensional shapes to see how you can use dots to create depth.

Take your time to perfect your technique.

If you are a beginner, the tendency could be to put a bunch of points in quick succession. Take your time and be precise with placement and technique. Some artists recommend holding a fine point pen at a 90 degree angle to the paper. Keep your stitches as similar in shape and size as possible.

Remember these helpful tips:

  • Every once in a while, take a step back from your work to get a better perspective. It can be easy to get lost in small sections. Take a photo with your phone to see how the composition fits together and to assess where you can adjust or correct any errors.
  • Try to maintain the same pressure for each point and do not press too hard. The darkness and shadow will be created by the number of points and their proximity. Using a different pressure to create darker or larger spots is not helpful for this technique.

Once you've mastered the art of creating dots with consistency, proceed to more advanced tutorials that can show you how to draw an image using this technique. Good luck!

Enjoy The Video Tutorial about What is Stippling in Art | How to Draw using dots

Source: Fine Artist Mueen

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