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Y12 Advanced

Introduction to Pointillism

By Brenda Hoddinott

Pointillism is a method of drawing or painting with several layers of small colored dots, strokes, or individual brushstrokes. In this lesson, you try your hand at shading a section of a rose with pointillism and colored pencils.

Supplies: Good quality drawing paper with a weight of at least 90 lbs, pencil sharpener, sandpaper block, and colored pencils that are similar in color to those in Figure 101. The range of values created by these colors is shown in Figure 102.

Figure 101

Figure 102

Lightly Sketching a Rose

Follow along with Figures 103 to 111 to very lightly sketch the outlines of the rose with your lightest yellow. Remember, if you press too hard, you'll destroy the paper's tooth.

As you can see in Figure 103, my actual sketch is too light for you to see well. So, all sketch lines (Figures 104 to 111) have been darkened in Photoshop so you can see them.

Also, don't worry about getting your proportions exactly like mine - as, you know roses are all different. By the way, my drawing is less than 4 in (10.16 cm) wide. I began with the innermost section of the rose and worked my way outward to the edges of the petals on

Figure 103

Figure 104

Figure 105

Figure 106

Figure 107

Figure 108

Figure 109

Figure 110

Figure 111

Getting the Point of Pointillism

Values are integral to creating the illusion of form in colored drawings. You need to combine the following three methods to create a range of different values with pointillism:

A close-up view of pointillism rendered with colored pencils clearly shows a few of the thousands of dots of various sizes and shapes. Compare the color and grayscale versions to get a realistic sense of the values of the color palette with which you will be working.

Figure 112

Figure 113

Drawing Lots of Rose-dots

When viewed from a distance, the dots in pointillist paintings and drawings appear to blend together to create the illusion of depth, visual masses, and forms. Nineteenth-century French impressionistic artists (including George Seurat and Paul Signac) helped this genre to become a highly respected style of painting, and (more recently) drawing.

The process used in this drawing to create a broad range of values is to work from light to dark. The lightest values have small sections of the white paper showing through. The darkest values have mostly large dots and an occasional small dot and short line to better define edges. You need a lot more patience for darker values because you need to draw many more dots that are closer together.

You may want to print this image of the completed drawing to supplement the individual step-by-step drawings.

Figure 114

Follow along with Figures 115 to 127 and use whichever colors work best to create graduations of values. From this point on, the values shown are close to those of the actual drawing. Also some images are slightly cropped to emphasize their sections with shading (cropped illustrations have a gray border).

Figure 115

Figure 116

Figure 117

Figure 118

Feel free to add a few short lines to identify the edges of areas that need to be dark in value

Figure 119

Figure 120

Figure 121

Figure 122

Figure 123

Figure 124

Figure 125

Figure 126

At this point, I usually show students a large illustration of my final drawing. However, drawings created with pointillism usually look better when viewed from a distance.

So, here's the final image - smaller than its actual size.

Figure 127