Seeing spots? Try Pointalism!( or go see a doctor)


One of the most distinct art styles to come out of the impressionist era is Pointillism. Pointillism is a technique in which an artist uses hundreds of small dots of paint to create a piece as opposed to larger strokes. This collection of many dots of color creates the illusion of solid color. Made famous by artists such as Georges Seurat who painted “A Sunday Afternoon on la Grande Jatte”. It can also be used as an alternative to other shading techniques like crosshatching or free-form scribbling. It’s an incredibly effective way to add texture and interest to your sketches. Also, my favorite thing about Pointillism is it’s incredibly forgiving, when all is said and done what difference does a dot make? No difference. You need to work considerably harder to do too much than with other techniques. It’s truly freeing.
Here’s how you do it:

(optional step zero, add a light wash of color with a marker or watercolor)

Start with a light pencil sketch

Map out your shadows and highlights ( make sure to do so in a way where you can tell the difference between them!!)

Fill in the fully dark blackout areas. This helps you feel like you’ve actually done something so you don’t get discouraged (this will take a while) and helps you look at the piece as a whole

( here’s some examples of concentrations of dots)

Decide how “light” you want your light bits to be and add a sparse (far apart from each other) sprinkling of dots to reflect that. If you want some parts to be fully white (major highlights) avoid those parts

Pass over the lighter shadows with more concentrated dots

Pass over the medium shadows with even more concentrated dots

I think you can guess this step ( hint: pass over the dark shadows with very concentrated dots)

Add final details ( can be anything, but one way to better your sketch is to add a gradient of dots in between shadows and light bits to blend them)

Revel in your talent!
Can you tell who my drawing is of? … Probably not.