From random dots to DOT ART (Tutorial Part 2) 6

fish dot art cd

In this part, I would like to concentrate on the Dot technique using 3D contour. For other techniques, see part 1 of my tutorial.

To start with, please compare these 2 images:

dot art detail

The item on the left was produced with usual acrylic paints (technique from part1 of my tutorial, using a wooden stick). The other one (on the right) was made with 3D contours (aka relief paste outliner). In my view, the contours give you a more precise 3D dot, with jewelry-like effect. Additionally, after drying the paint from contours, it does not crack and forms a solid bond with almost any surface. Once I painted with dots a computer mouse, and after 1 year of heavy duty, the pattern is unchanged. There are many contours on the market (PEBEO, Marabu, DECORfin and so on).


The main differences between them are:

  1. The size of the drop. (some outliners are thick lines only)
  2. The viscosity of paint inside the contour (some of them are more “runny” than the others)
  3. Whether additional protection (varnish) or oven baking are required for your final product.

I used contours from all 3 companies and found them suitable for a variety of surfaces (I used plastic, leather, MDF, ceramic). Pebeo has the advantage of a greater range of colors and shades. However, I notice some inconsistency in the quality of Pebeo outliners. The viscosity of paint inside the tubes, varies from color to color. In some of them, it is so high that I found it difficult to work with them (the paint was refusing to come out and my hand got painful from the constant pressure on the tube), whereas the others were much too leaky. Marabu and Decorfin outliners present a more uniform, good quality of paint, but come with only 15-20 shades.

 How do we begin to paint a DOT picture for the first time?

  1. Choose the item you want to paint. I would recommend a ceramic plate or a tile because if you make a mistake, you can correct it easily. There are 2 ways to do that: you can wipe it with a hand wiper immediately, or you can wait apprx 30 min and gently separate unwanted dots from the surface using a blade, a paper knife or a scalpel.
  2. Wipe the surface with alcohol (optional).
  3. Start “dotting”

To give you an idea how to work with an outliner watch this video:


1. Start from a small project using just one color contour.

2. Train your hand making some patterns first.

3. Draw the sketch of the image you want to achieve with a marker pen on the chosen surface, and then start “dotting”.

Here are some patterns to get you started (courtesy of Natalia Vorobieva, Russia):

dot patterns

See part 3 of my tutorial for more “dotting”!

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