How to Create Stunning Pointillism Art: A Step-by-Step Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Gather your pointillism art supplies
  2. Choose the right type of paper
  3. Plan your composition
  4. Begin applying dots
  5. Create shading and texture
  6. How to add color
  7. Build up layers
  8. How to finish your pointillism art
  9. How to care for your pointillism art
  10. Pointillism art inspiration and ideas

If you've ever marveled at the captivating beauty of pointillism art and wondered how those intricate patterns and vivid colors came to life through tiny dots, then you're in the right place. This blog will take you on a journey, showing you how to pointillism art, and transform a blank canvas into a stunning masterpiece. Let's start with the basics!

Gather your pointillism art supplies

Before you can start creating your pointillism art, you'll need to gather the right supplies, just like a chef prepping for a recipe. Getting everything ready before you start will make the process smoother and more enjoyable.

  • Art Pens or Markers: These will be your primary tools for creating pointillism art. Go for high-quality art pens like Sakura Pigma Microns or Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners, which offer a range of colors and tip sizes.
  • Colored Pencils: While not essential, colored pencils like Prismacolor Premier can add depth and vibrancy to your pointillism art. They can be especially useful for areas where you want to add color but not texture.
  • Eraser and Pencil: A simple HB pencil and a good eraser are essential tools for sketching out your initial composition before you start applying dots. Look for a high-quality eraser that will cleanly remove pencil without smudging or damaging your paper.
  • Acrylic Paints: If you're feeling adventurous, why not mix mediums? Acrylic paints such as Liquitex Basics can add a bold, striking touch to your pointillism art.

Remember, the key to creating stunning pointillism art is patience, practice, and the right tools. So don't worry if you don't have everything on this list to start with—just grab what you can and let's get dotting!

Choose the right type of paper

Now that you've got your supplies ready, let's talk about the canvas of your masterpiece—the paper. The paper you choose plays a significant role in how your pointillism art will turn out. Let's compare it to cooking: imagine trying to bake a delicate soufflé on a pizza stone. The outcome wouldn't exactly be a light, fluffy delight, would it? Similarly, using the wrong type of paper can affect your artwork's final look.

  • Weight: The weight of paper refers to its thickness. For pointillism art, you want to aim for heavyweight paper (around 100-140 lbs). This will ensure that the paper doesn't warp or tear under the pressure of your pen or the weight of the paint.
  • Texture: The texture of your paper can add an extra dimension to your artwork. Smooth paper will give your dots a crisp, clean edge, while a more textured paper can add depth and interest.
  • Color: Most artists opt for white paper, as it provides a clean, neutral background. However, don't be afraid to experiment with colored paper! Using a black or colored paper can create a dramatic effect and really make your colors pop.

Brands like Strathmore and Canson offer a wide range of high-quality art papers suitable for pointillism. But the best advice? Experiment! Try different types and brands of paper until you find what works best for you and your style of pointillism art.

Plan your composition

Planning your composition is a bit like setting off on a road trip. You wouldn't just jump in the car and start driving without a map, would you? In the same way, it's important to have a plan before you start dotting away on your paper.

Start by sketching your idea lightly with a pencil. This will serve as a roadmap for your pointillism artwork. Don't worry too much about the details at this stage: you're just outlining the major elements of your composition. Think of it like drawing the main roads on your map before adding in the smaller streets and landmarks.

As you plan, consider the balance of your composition. Balance doesn't necessarily mean symmetry, but rather a pleasing arrangement of elements. For example, if you're working with a landscape, you might position the horizon line off-center for a more dynamic composition.

Lastly, consider the concept of negative space—that is, the areas of your composition that are not filled with objects or elements. In pointillism art, negative space can be just as important as the dots themselves. It's like the quiet pauses in a piece of music: without them, the melody wouldn't have the same impact. So, remember to consider not only where you'll place your dots, but also where you won't.

Now that you have your roadmap, it's time to embark on your journey of creating pointillism art. Let the dotting begin!

Begin applying dots

Now we're all set to start the real fun part—applying the dots. Remember how we discussed the idea of a roadmap in the planning stage? Well, with your sketch ready, it's time to start dotting along those lines.

Take your paintbrush, dip it into your chosen color, and begin by applying dots along the lines of your sketch. It's like connecting the dots, only this time, you're creating them! Try to keep the dots evenly spaced and similar in size. This will help to create a cohesive look in your pointillism art.

As you work, you might find it helpful to start with the larger elements of your composition and then fill in the finer details. For example, if you're painting a tree, you might start by dotting the overall shape of the tree, then gradually add in the smaller branches and leaves.

One important thing to remember is that pointillism is all about patience. It might feel like you're not making much progress at first, but keep going. Before you know it, you'll start to see your image taking shape—dot by dot.

It's also crucial not to rush the process. Take your time to place each dot deliberately and thoughtfully. After all, each tiny dot is a crucial part of the whole. It's these small details that will make your pointillism art truly stand out.

So, are you ready to start the process of how to pointillism art? Grab your paintbrush, take a breath, and let's dive into the world of dots!

Create shading and texture

As you continue to plot your points of color, take a moment to consider how to create depth, shading, and texture. These elements can truly bring your pointillism art to life. But how exactly do you go about this? Here's the trick: it's all about the density of the dots.

To create a darker shade, place your dots closer together. This will give the illusion of a deeper, more saturated color. On the other hand, for lighter areas, spread your dots further apart. The white space in between will make these areas appear brighter.

What about texture, you ask? Well, the texture in pointillism art comes from the direction and pattern of your dots. For instance, if you're painting grass, try applying your dots in swift, upward strokes. This gives the impression of blades of grass standing tall. For a smooth surface like a lake, arrange your dots in a horizontal pattern to mimic the calm water.

Thoughtfully planning out shading and texture can make a world of difference in your pointillism artwork. It's these subtle variances that create the illusion of depth and dimension. So, as you continue your journey on how to pointillism art, keep these tips in mind!

How to add color

Adding color to your pointillism art is like adding flavor to your favorite dish— it brings the whole piece to life. But how do you decide which colors to use and where to place them?

First, decide on your color scheme. A sunset might call for warm colors like reds, oranges, and yellows. A forest scene might need greens, browns, and blues. The choice is ultimately yours! Remember, your art, your rules.

With your colors selected, it's time to put them to work. The real secret behind how to pointillism art with color lies in the technique known as "optical mixing." This is where you place different colored dots side by side, and when viewed from a distance, they blend together to form a new color. For example, placing red and yellow dots closely together may give the impression of orange from afar. It's like magic, but it's actually science!

Finally, don't forget about contrast. Use light and dark colors strategically to make certain elements of your artwork pop. For instance, if you have a bright yellow sun, you might want to surround it with a dark blue sky for maximum impact.

Adding color to your pointillism art may seem daunting at first, but with practice, it will become second nature. And the results? Absolutely stunning!

Build up layers

One of the captivating aspects of pointillism art is the depth you can create with layers. Layering in pointillism art is like adding toppings to a pizza. Each layer contributes to the overall flavor, and the more you add, the tastier it gets. But how do you build up layers in pointillism art?

Start by applying a base layer of dots. This first layer helps to establish the basic shapes and colors of your composition. Think of it as the crust of your pizza, it's the foundation that supports everything else.

Once your base layer is dry, you can start adding more. Each additional layer of dots should be a different color or shade. This helps to create a sense of depth and texture. Look at your art from a distance after each layer. You'll start to see your image take on a new level of complexity. It's fascinating, isn't it?

Remember, patience is key when it comes to layering. The more layers you add, the more detailed and vibrant your pointillism art becomes. But don't rush— take your time to carefully place each dot, and you'll be rewarded with a stunning piece of art that's sure to captivate anyone who sees it.

How to finish your pointillism art

So, you've spent hours, maybe even days, meticulously placing dots on your canvas. You've built up an array of layers, and now your pointillism masterpiece is nearly complete. But how do you give it that final, finishing touch?

Finishing pointillism art is just as important as every dot you've put down. It's like the cherry on top of a sundae: it may seem small, but it makes a huge difference in the overall presentation.

Start by taking a step back and examining your work. Look at it from different angles and distance. Are there any areas that look sparse? If so, go back and add more dots to fill in those areas. Remember: pointillism is all about the buildup of dots, so don't be shy to add more where needed.

Next, consider your edges. Are they neat and clean? If not, take some time to tidy them up. You can do this by either adding more dots to create a smoother transition or by using a colored pencil to gently blend the edges.

Finally, sign your work. This is a proud moment. You've just created a piece of pointillism art. It's a testament to your patience and dedication—be sure to put your name on it!

And there you have it: your pointillism art piece, from start to finish. But remember, art is a journey, not a destination. So, ready to start your next piece?

How to care for your pointillism art

Now that you've learned how to pointillism art and have your own masterpiece, it's important to know how to care for it. Taking good care of your art will ensure that it remains vibrant and beautiful for years to come. So, let's go through some simple steps you can take to keep your artwork in top-notch condition.

Firstly, if possible, frame your artwork. A good frame doesn't just make your artwork look more professional—it also protects it from dust, moisture, and light damage. Make sure you choose a frame with a glass or acrylic cover that blocks UV light to prevent your colors from fading.

Secondly, be mindful of where you display your artwork. Even with UV-protected glass, prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause your colors to fade. Try to hang your artwork in a spot where it won't be directly hit by sunlight.

Finally, remember to clean your artwork regularly. Use a soft, dry cloth to gently wipe the glass on your frame. Never use wet or abrasive materials, as these can scratch the glass and damage your artwork underneath.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your pointillism art remains as stunning as the day you completed it. After all, you've put in a lot of effort to create it—doesn't it deserve to be well taken care of?

Pointillism art inspiration and ideas

Now that you're all set with the know-how to create pointillism art and care for it, let's dive into some inspiration and ideas to kickstart your next project. Remember, art is subjective — there's no right or wrong when it comes to creativity. So, let's explore some themes and ideas for your pointillism art journey.

Consider nature as your muse. The natural world is teeming with colors and shapes that are perfect for pointillism. Imagine a vibrant sunset where the sky merges with the sea, or a lush forest with light filtering through the leaves. You can also take inspiration from your favorite animals, with their varied textures and patterns.

Alternatively, you could explore abstract ideas in your pointillism artwork. Try creating a visual representation of an emotion, a dream, or even a piece of music. Abstract pointillism can be a great way to express your feelings and ideas in a unique, visual way.

For those who prefer something more structured, geometric designs can make for captivating pointillism art. Think mandalas, optical illusions, or tessellations. By focusing on each individual dot, you can create intricate patterns that are truly mesmerizing.

And don't forget, you can always look to the masters for inspiration. Artists like Georges Seurat and Paul Signac were pioneers of pointillism. Studying their works can provide valuable insight into this unique art form.

Remember, the goal is to enjoy the process and express yourself. So, get your art supplies ready, find your inspiration, and have fun exploring how to pointillism art!

If you enjoyed learning about pointillism and want to further enhance your painting skills, don't miss the workshop 'Improve Your Acrylic Painting Skills' by Rachel Christopoulos. This workshop will help you refine your techniques and provide valuable tips for creating more stunning artworks using acrylics.