How To Stipple

The art of stippling is a kind of technique used for various purposes. The stippling technique is almost the same as pointillism when it comes to drawing. This stippling technique is commonly used in artistic drawings and painting miniature toys or sculptures. It is a process in which you usually make irregular sized dots. In stippling, you are basically making little spots until you form an image. The stippling technique can also be used when engraving artistically.

There are many artists who use this technique, like Giulo Campagnola who developed this technique in the year 1500’s. Learning how to stipple is quite easy. Here are some steps in making a stipple design of your choice:

  • First, you have to choose a design and then visualize it in you mind. Remember all the details that you have generated in your mind. And then get a pencil or a pen and a paper to draw the design of your choice. You could add more details depending on the simplicity or complexity of your chosen design.
  • Now that you have made an initial sketch of your design, have your stippling materials ready.
  • You could use a bristle brush with different sizes and shapes.
  • Pick a set of coloring materials if you want a colorful stippled design.
  • Prepare 2 cups and fill them with water for rinsing the brushes clean. 
  • A piece of cloth for cleaning the extra unwanted spots.
  • Then pick a canvass on where you want to apply your stippled design. You may carefully trace the design on your chosen canvass if you want to accurately copy the design on your sketch.
  • After tracing the exact copy on the canvass, you may use a brush and paint to start with the actual stippling. Hold the brush firmly and create little dots to mark the traced image. The sizes of the dots vary and it depends on how you apply pressure when the tip of the brush makes a contact with the canvass. Also make sure that the tip of the brush is always pointed to make accurate sizes of the dots.
  • Now complete the pattern and remember to wash out the color from the brush when you are choosing a different paint color.

You can also use the stippling technique in engraving art by etching a design in a material (mainly wood, an aluminum plate, a copper sheet, etc). For example, if you want to make a stippled design on a copper sheet, here are the steps:

  • Get a piece of paper and a pen to draw the design. Then place the paper on top of the copper sheet.
  • Pick a wooden rod with a portion of blade connected at its end to cut through the piece of paper, making a slightly visible pattern on the copper sheet.
  • Now hold the punching tool with one hand and a blunt tool on your other hand. Carefully place the tip of the punching tool directly on the created pattern.
  • Tap the top part of the punching tool using a blunt tool that you have to create little holes while tracing the pattern. The size of the holes depends on the pressure that you are applying when tapping the puncher.
  • Complete the pattern until the stippled image is complete.


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