From random dots to DOT ART – Pointilism. (Tutorial Part 1) 4

I have discussed the history and principals of Australian Aboriginal Dot Art, in a previous post. In this tutorial, I would like to share with you the variety of techniques which are used to create something like that.


The following video will give you a flavor of an original technique, but I believe, this is a modern view on the Dot paintings “methodology”. As previously mentioned, the idea of Australian Aboriginal Dot Art goes far beyond methods and techniques. This is pointillism at its very heart: it is all about symbolic and religious expressions, traditions, unique language and ritual re-enactment of important events of Artisans’ inter- tribal life. Nowadays, original Dot Art has many followers all over the globe – hence, there are different tricks, some of which I will try to describe.

Doing Aboriginal painting by Mars Franke

Materials and methods.

1. What tools can you use to start making nice dots on your paintings?


Dipping the flat end of all these household items (and the wooden brush handle mentioned in the video tutorial above) and lightly touching the chosen surface, will give you even dots with minimal effort and skills. With acrylic contours, you will need a slightly different technique; by steadily squeezing the contour, you will be able to produce dots of the desired size (more details will follow on Part 2 of this tutorial).


2. What paint to use?

Acrylic paint works best for Dot Art; it dries faster than other paints, it is water-soluble and stays on without changes. After drying, your image will be very vibrant, water resistant, with no cracks. For a more pronounced 3D effect use a variety of acrylic contours; for instance Pebeo has a good collection of acrylic paint and contours.

3. What material can you use to paint on?


Ceramics, glass, pottery

Metal (kettle, tray or plate)


Wood of any kind covered with varnish prior to painting

MDF painted over and covered with varnish

Leather and fake leather

Book or diary cover

Some plastic (for example picture or mirror frames, toys)

Fabric (cotton, synthetic, jeans)

Finally, yet importantly, you can use anything you want to up-cycle as a template for dot painting: an old kettle, a jar, a stone from your garden, items of furniture or clothing, a  watering can, a wine bottle- the list is endless!!

Just some examples to inspire you:


In part 2 of this tutorial I will demonstrate a technique of working with acrylic contours and discuss the pros and cons of different makes of acrylic contours.

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