5 Essential Pointillism Painting Techniques for Beginners
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Pick the right materials
  2. Practice dotting techniques
  3. Plan your painting
  4. Apply color theory
  5. Finish and protect your painting

If you've ever wanted to dip your toes into the vibrant world of pointillism painting, you're in the right place. This blog serves as a friendly guide, providing you with pointillism painting tutorials and helpful techniques to get you started. So, let's jump right into it!

Pick the Right Materials

The first step in any good pointillism painting tutorial is gathering the proper materials. It's like cooking - you wouldn't start making a recipe without having all the ingredients, right? The same goes for your painting journey. So, let's dive into what you need:


Pointillism requires a certain kind of paint. Acrylics are a great choice because they dry quickly and are easy to use. They come in a variety of vibrant colors, which is perfect for creating the dotted effect in pointillism.


Next, you'll need a canvas. Any size will do, but keep in mind that larger canvases might require more time to finish. A medium-sized canvas is a good start for beginners.


Here's where things get interesting. Traditional brushes can be used, but for a true pointillism experience, consider using a stylus or dotting tools. These tools come in different sizes, allowing you to create dots with varying diameters.


Last but not least, you'll need a palette. This isn't just for mixing colors— it also helps in controlling the amount of paint on your brush or dotting tool, ensuring each dot is uniform and clean.

There you have it: the basic materials you need to start your pointillism painting journey. Remember, in art, there are no hard and fast rules. Feel free to experiment with different tools and materials as you grow more comfortable with the technique. Now that you've got your materials ready, it's time to move on to the actual painting process! Stay tuned as we delve deeper into the world of pointillism painting tutorials.

Practice Dotting Techniques

Now that you've gathered your materials, it's time to master the heart of pointillism painting: the dot. It may seem simple, but creating a balanced and visually appealing dot requires practice. Let's explore some strategies to get your dots on point.

Consistency is Key

Consistency is important in pointillism. You want each dot to be similar in size and spacing. This will give your painting a cohesive and organized look. A great way to achieve this is by practicing on a blank sheet of paper before you move onto the canvas.

Control Your Pressure

The amount of pressure you apply with your dotting tool or brush will affect the size of your dots. Lighter pressure will create smaller dots, while heavier pressure will produce larger ones. Try to alternate between different pressures to add depth and texture to your painting.

Spacing and Composition

Spacing your dots evenly is also crucial for a harmonious composition. Too close, and your painting might look crowded. Too far apart, and it can appear sparse. Practice finding the sweet spot on a piece of scrap canvas or paper.

Experiment with Dot Shapes

Who said dots have to be perfectly rounded? Feel free to experiment with different shapes! Try making oval dots, square dots, or even star-shaped dots. The sky's the limit when it comes to your creativity.

In pointillism painting tutorials, you'll find that practicing your dotting technique is a vital step. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't be discouraged if your dots aren't perfect from the get-go. With patience and persistence, you'll be dotting like a pro in no time!

Plan Your Painting

Once you've honed your dotting skills, the next step in our pointillism painting tutorials is to plan your painting. This is where you lay the groundwork for your masterpiece, so take your time with this step.

Sketch Your Idea

Start by sketching your idea onto the canvas. This can be a simple outline or a detailed sketch, depending on your comfort level. The sketch will serve as a guide when you start the dotting process, so be sure to draw it lightly to avoid seeing it through your paint.

Choose Your Color Palette

Consider the colors you want to use in your painting. In pointillism, colors are not mixed on the palette but on the canvas through the viewer's eye. Pick colors that complement each other and match the mood you want to convey in your painting.

Divide Your Canvas

Divide your canvas into different sections according to your sketch. This will help you focus on one area at a time, making the painting process more manageable. Remember, pointillism can be time-consuming, so it's ok to tackle it bit by bit.

Consider The Light Source

Identify where the light source in your painting will be. This will help you decide where to place your lighter and darker dots, creating a sense of depth and volume in your painting.

Planning your painting might seem tedious, but it's an essential part of the process. It sets the foundation for your artwork and can make the actual painting process smoother and more enjoyable. So, grab your sketchbook and color palette, and let's start planning your pointillism masterpiece!

Apply Color Theory

Now that you’ve mapped out your painting, it's time to bring in some color. But before you start dabbing away, let's talk about color theory. Understanding color theory is a game-changer in pointillism painting tutorials and will take your artwork to the next level.

Understand The Color Wheel

Before you start, get familiar with the color wheel. The color wheel is a visual representation of colors arranged according to their chromatic relationship. It helps you understand which colors work well together and which ones contrast.

Use Complementary Colors

  • The colors opposite each other on the color wheel are complementary. When used together, they make each other pop. In pointillism, placing dots of complementary colors next to each other can create vibrant and dynamic effects.

Grasp The Concept Of Value

Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. By varying the value of your dots, you can create a sense of depth and volume in your painting. Lighter dots can represent areas hit by light, and darker dots can indicate shadows or recessed areas.

Experiment with Warm and Cool Colors

Warm colors like red, orange, and yellow can convey sensations of warmth and sunlight. Cool colors like blue, green, and violet, on the other hand, can depict calm and peaceful scenes. Experimenting with these can add a new level of depth and emotion to your painting.

Applying color theory might sound a bit scientific, but it's truly an exciting part of the painting process. It's where you get to play, experiment, and watch your artwork come alive. So, ready to give your pointillism painting a burst of color?

Finish and Protect Your Painting

Great job! You've made it to the final stages of our pointillism painting tutorial. Now comes the equally important part of finishing and protecting your painting. After all, you want your masterpiece to last, don't you?

Let It Dry

Patience is key here! Wait until your painting is completely dry before you do anything else. If you're not sure whether it's dry, give it an extra day. Better safe than sorry, right?

Apply A Varnish

  • A protective layer of varnish can go a long way in preserving your painting. It'll protect your artwork from dust, moisture, and UV rays that can cause colors to fade. Just make sure to choose a varnish that's suitable for the type of paint you used. And remember, apply it only after the painting is fully dry.

Frame Your Artwork

Framing isn't just about making your painting look good. A good frame provides support to the canvas and protects the edges of your painting. Plus, it gives your artwork that professional gallery-ready look!

Store It Properly

If you’re not planning to display your painting right away, make sure to store it in a cool, dry place. Avoid direct sunlight and high humidity, both of which can damage your painting over time.

Finishing up might seem like just an afterthought, but it's a crucial step in ensuring your pointillism masterpiece stands the test of time. And remember, every painting you finish is a step forward in your artistic journey. So, what's next on your pointillism painting tutorial adventure?

If you're eager to learn more about pointillism and want to improve your overall painting skills, check out Rachel Christopoulos's workshop, 'Improve Your Acrylic Painting Skills.' This workshop will not only help you master pointillism techniques but also enhance your ability to work with acrylic paints, allowing you to create stunning art pieces.