Dot art – otherwise known as pointillism – covers many forms of art. Artists, graphic designers, photographers and illustrators are all experimenting with this exciting art technique. But whatever the medium, pointillism pieces all have one thing in common: the dot.
We’ve selected 14 striking examples of pointillism-based artwork to inspire you to give the technique a go. Some are more traditional, while others have elaborated on the technique to create something entirely new.
1. Federico Pietrella
Berlin-based Federico Pietrella’s approach to pointillism doesn’t involve pens or brushes; instead he works with old-fashioned date stamps and uses them to build up his brilliantly detailed artworks. The final touch? He always has the stamp set to the current date, so you can tell exactly when each work was created.
2. Angelo Franco
Ecuadorean artist Angelo Franco has been painting for over 30 years. His work is notable for its bright, contrasting colours and pointillist, impressionistic style, which he uses to try to capture the essence of his subjects, whether they’re landscapes or still life studies.
3. Ton Dubbledam
Coming from a creative family and inspired by the Impressionist masters as a boy, Dutch artist Ton Dubbledam often works in a pointillist style that’s notable for his use of repoussoir – putting the light in the background and using strong shadows to draw the eye to important details.
4. James Cochran
James Cochran – Jimmy C – was a huge part of the underground graffiti movement in Australia during the late 1980s. His interest in urban realist and figurative oil painting led to the development of his signature aerosol pointillist style; portraits or urban landscapes painted entirely from blobs of spray paint.
Although now living in London, Cochran’s pieces of art can be seen on walls, buildings, and murals around the globe. His David Bowie mural in Brixton, London, has been adopted as a shrine to the musician.
5. Paul Signac
An artist, anarchist and keen sailor, much of whose work focused on the French coastline, Paul Signac was one of the two founders of Pointillism, along with Georges Seurat. Inspired by Surat’s working methods and theory of colours, Signac abandoned impressionism and developed the process of painting scientifically juxtaposed dots of pure colour that would blend in the viewer’s eye, rather than on the canvas.
6. Jerry O Wilkerson
St Louis-based artist Jerry O Wilkerson expertly blended pointillism with pop art in his work. Much of it was food-based, featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, lobsters and even a Campbell’s soup tin, among other things, rendered in vivid pointillistic colours that owed as much to the half-tone looks of print processes as to the impressionistic style of the original pointillists.
7. Phan Thu Trang
Born and based in Hanoi, Phan Thu Trang uses a limited palette and bold dabs of colour to bring the rural Vietnamese landscape to vivid life. Using oils and a palette to render the amazing impasto trees that dominate her work, she always tries to use colour and light to create a different sensation for each piece of her art.
8. William Wilkins
Having graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1960, William Wilkins started developing his own pointillist technique in the 1970s.
His earlier work tends to be concerned with tone and colour and frequently employs many layers of paint, while his more recent work is more interested in luminosity and opacity, with seldom more than one layer of paint on the canvas. He lives and works in Wales, but also works in Venice.
9. Kevin Sprouls
Kevin Sprouls spearheaded the style of drawing now referred to as ‘hedcut’. Using a stippling method of many small dots and a cross hatching method of many small lines, Sprouls created drawings that emulated the look and feel of old newspaper woodcuts and engraving.
In 1979, the illustrator approached The Wall Street Journal with his ink dot work and was subsequently employed by the publication until 1987, helping to create its signature look. There are now five hedcut artists at working at The Wallstreet Journal, continuing Sprouls’ legacy.
10. Dr Woo
All tattoos are essentially pointillism. Typically using eight needles at once, tattoos are made when each needle penetrates the skin at high speed to create lines.
What is so unique about Dr Woo’s work, however, is that he uses one needle, meaning his tattoos are created not from a machine, but by hand dot after excruciating dot.
While this style of tattooing isn’t unique to Woo, his designs are incredibly intricate and beautiful and have inspired many. The LA-based artist has inked celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Brooklyn Beckham and Ellie Goulding.
11. Xavier Casalta
French artist Xavier Casalta is an expert when it comes to creating inspiring dot art. He builds up his images using a time-consuming stippling technique in black ink – the above artwork took 400 hours to complete, and includes around eight million dots. Casalta’s intricate designs have attracted clients including Dior, the National Gallery of London and Nissan.
12. Pablo Jurado Ruiz
Pablo Jurado Ruiz is a Spanish artist who specialises in pointillist art, using black and white drawing to create beautifully realistic portraits of innocence. “I try to tell stories through a minimalist and subtle vision,” he explains. “My current work focuses on simple but realistic drawings worked in an impressionist technique.”
13. Georges Seurat
French Post-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat spent over two years creating his beautiful, and probably best-known, painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
An early example of pointillism, Seurat finished the piece, which is estimated to consist of approximately 3,456,000 dots, in the late 1880s.
14. Miguel Endara
Crafted by illustrator and artist Miguel Endara, Hero (above) is composed of approximately 3.2 million black ink dots, using a single Sakura Pigma Micron pen (nib size 005, 0.2mm).