A time lapse of a tulip done in stippling and the technique

Dots, so small on their own yet so powerful in groups. Bringing a tulip up off the page was challenging as well as a learning experience.

Watch the time lapse or skip down for more.

What the heck is stippling?

stippled-tulip-1Pointilism and stippling are very similar, in that they are dots, lots and lots of dots. Stippling in particular is done in ink. The closer the dots are, the darker the image appears. The further apart, the lighter the image appears.

Why stipple?

To learn patience? All kidding aside, stippling is an interesting technique. How can a bunch of seemingly random dots create a picture? It is all in the careful placement of those random dots. I chose to do this tulip in stippling to not only try out another technique but to test out a new paper, or more accurately, a drafting film. I picked up some Graffix Dura-lar matte 005 drafting film and wanted to try various techniques and mediums on it to see what I liked and how the film reacted to various treatments.


Dura-lar is an acetate like film that comes in various thicknesses and finishes. I chose to work on the 005 given this seemed to be the most popular for artists. The matte finish is what gives the film enough tooth to allow colored pencil and ink to stick. I gave colored pencil a try and didn’t like how the pigment seemed to slide around without really sticking. Moving onto ink, I first colored in a section before moving onto stippling. Both worked well, but I really liked the effect the stippling gave me. I found I was able to erase my earlier section and redo it in stippling to fit with the overall look of the piece.

Takeaways and lessons

stippled-tulip-2From this experimenting, I learned some of what I liked and didn’t like about this drafting film. I realized I wasn’t ready to work with colored pencil on the film at this time, but that ink worked well for me. Experimenting is a great way to not mess up a larger project by figuring out what works on a smaller test project. It is also a great time to just have fun with a new medium. I did end up finishing the colored pencil piece and used it to add a tint of color to the final tulip. This gives an idea of how transparent the film is and how layers can work together.

Supplied Used

  • Graffix Dura-lar matte 005 drafting film
  • Sakura micron pigment pens, 005 and 01
  • Polychromos and luminance for the color underneath
  • Tombow mono eraser

What is next?

If you have been following me on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, you’ll know it’s a Dogwood blossom. I’m now on Patreon with lessons coming soon. Let me know in the comments what paper you like working on.


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