How to Use Stippling in Drawings

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Use Stippling in Drawings
Use Stippling in Drawings (Image: A. Hermitt)

Stippling is a technique used in drawing where the artist uses dots to add texture, shadows and tone to a drawing. The dots are denser where darkness is required, and the dots are sparse to indicate highlights or a smooth surface. To learn how to use stippling, you should practice drawing simple objects. You can use stippling with pencils, pens and markers. Here are the steps on how to use stippling in drawings.

Choose the correct paper for using stippling in your drawing. White, hot-pressed paper is smooth and will prevent ink from blurring or absorbing into the paper. It will also stand up to the abuse of sharp pencils when stippling.

Choose the correct drawing tools for stippling. You can stipple with pencils for subtle details and for learning purposes, but as your skills improve, you will want to use a drawing pen fro stippling as the contrast between the white paper and the black ink will give your drawing a crisp, dramatic and professional look. When using a pencil, use a soft, dark B pencil. Use an artist’s pen when doing a pen and ink drawing. You can also use fine tip color markers.

Use the proper technique for stippling your drawing. When using a pencil, you will need to tap and twist the pencil to get uniform dots on the paper. When using a pen or marker, you need to use a straight up and down motion to make the dots, being careful not to make stray lines or to smudge the paper. It helps to use a piece of paper under your wrist to prevent smearing the ink or the pencil lead.

Choose a small simple item to use as a model for your first stipple drawing. An egg or small ball is a great subject to use. Shine a light on the item to exaggerate the shadows and highlighting on your item.

Draw the shape of your item and begin making dots to fill in the shadowed area of the object. Where the shadows are darkest, make the dots close together; where light reflects off the item, use very few or no dots as all. For areas that gradually turn from dark to light, your dots should gradually get farther apart.

Continue making dots until your item looks realistically shaded.

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