Get Started with Stippling | Alice Rosen | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What is Stippling?


    • 3.

      Tools & Technique


    • 4.

      Choosing Your Subject


    • 5.

      Stippling a Crab


    • 6.

      Summary & Your Project


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About This Class

Stippling is a drawing technique that uses nothing but dots to create areas of light and shadow. It can add depth and dimension to simple illustrations or, with a little patience, create stunning works of art.

Stippling is a great technique to add to your drawing toolkit: it’s a forgiving technique that’s accessible to beginners, it requires very little equipment, and once you’ve mastered the basics you can use the same method to create more and more detailed and realistic illustrations. The possibilities are endless!

This class is suitable for beginners, as well as those looking to develop their stippling technique and challenge themselves to produce a pen & ink stippled illustration.


What we’ll cover:

What is Stippling?  We’ll have a look at simple stippling examples and amazing stippled works of art, as well as its use in scientific diagrams and natural history illustrations.

Tools & Technique  I’ll give my personal recommendations for pens and paper to use with this technique, as well as what to avoid. I’ll also demonstrate a basic exercise that forms the foundation of this technique.

Choosing your Subject  We’ll go over what makes a good reference image, and what to think about when deciding on a subject to illustrate with this technique. I’ll also show you how I prepare the reference photo to make my life easier when I start stippling.

Stippling a Crab  I’ll show you how I approach the illustration from start to finish, with tips and advice along the way.

Summary & Your Project  Download my free ‘Get Started with Stippling’ worksheet to practice shading with stippled dots, and have a go at your own stippled illustration using what you’ve learned in this class. Have a look at the ‘Your Project’ tab for more info.

Let me know if you have any questions. I hope you enjoy the class and I can’t wait to see your project photos.

Don’t forget to follow me on Skillshare. Click the ‘Follow’ button next to my name and you’ll be notified as soon as I post a new class.


Check out my latest class, Painting Bees in Watercolor, Gouache & Watercolor Pencils:

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Alice Rosen

Scientific & Natural History Illustrator


Hello! My name is Alice Rosen and I am a 25-year-old science & natural history illustrator. I live in a small town near Bristol in the UK where I spend my time drawing, painting, creating and working on my illustration business. Head over to to see more of what I do.



I use watercolours, pen & ink, and graphite to create detailed and scientifically accurate illustrations of animal and plant species, habitats, and anything else that aids natural science communication and education. I also work on decorative designs for posters, cards, gifts and stationery. You can check out my shop here.



Follow me on Instagram to see my latest works-in-progress and more!<... See full profile

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1. Introduction: I'm Alison. I'm a natural history in a straight set. Living in Somerset, England, I used pen, graphite, some water color shoes, detailed and scientifically accurate illustrations, plants and animals, as well as decorative natural history inspired designs. E have a background in science, and I actually studied Zoology University. But I've always loved art on. Now I'm lucky enough to combine both my passions and some me time during painting with enough siblings were really best told technique, but it's also very accessible to begin us. All we need is a good pen and some paper. And then, once you've mastered the basics, you can use the same technique to create amazing walks about, and he can combine it with other pen techniques. Or what's pains This'll classes suitable for anyone on There are a couple of different project options, depending on your level on how confident you're feeling by the end of the class. In this class will look at some examples ist applique work on adultery, which pencil paper I prefer to use. I'll guide you through the entire process, creating your own stippled illustration away from choosing reference photo and deciding subject that works for you and your level of experience. Teoh building up shutters and debt using just tiny dots. Have you find this class useful? Every Chelsea. Any questions? I remember to post progress Voting's of your project, if you like some feedback. 2. What is Stippling?: stippling is a technique these dots to create an image where dots placed closer together. It creates dark areas or shadows on the lighter areas where the doctor sparser stippling can be used at depths and shadows, too. Simple line drawings. So it's often used in scientific illustrations and diagrams to make a three dimensional subjects clearer to the viewer. It's also used to create diverse an amazing works of art, some of them super detailed. And it's not until you zoom in that you realize they're composed entirely of step with adults. You can also combine sibling with other techniques so you could outline the subject in Penn , for example, or paint over it with watercolor paints. Although if you do decide to do this, make sure that the Penha using contains water perfect. 3. Tools & Technique: in this video show you the pens and paper that I recommend stippling and will also go over the basics of the stippling technique to get started. And he was disposable permanent ink pen with a small lip. I tried a few different brands, and they work really well. But the picture my comm pens are relatively inexpensive and popular option. There are other, more expensive options with irreplaceable in. Koch is an irreplaceable Nibs, but I mainly used a pig microns and there find for beginners and professional artists. I've got a couple of other brands I've also used without any problems. These rewards proves from fade resistant. I'll write the brands in the description below. There are good options, really, and you don't necessarily need the lips to be the small. It's just having a look at what you've already got home to see. If that works before going out and buying something, especially as always, it's not ballpoint pen or a pencil, which wouldn't give you the consistent dots that you need this technique. For paper, I'd recommend something smooth and not too thin. If it's too thin, the people might become usually damaged, especially when you're applying lots of include with the same area. I like to use Bristol board as it's got a really smooth surface, and it's easy to work on. If you have a textured paper, it might be more difficult to keep your dots same size and shape as you go along. But artists have different preferences, so it's really up to you to find something that you're happy with. Maybe even try a few different pen and paper combinations to see if you get different results before you drive into creating stippled illustration. First practice deplane. He's in whichever pens and paper. You have to get the feel for it and to make sure you're able to get fairly consistent. Dot size. Hold the pen in a way that feels comfortable so you don't have to drastically change how you holding it when your hand gets tired, which could then change size or shape of the dots you're making, you don't need to press hard. It'll just lightly tapped. The paper is also not record for the tip of the pattern. If you pressed you hard, I prefer to use a pen with very small lip because although it takes a lot longer to finish it during. I can get a lot more detail in and make it look that much more realistic. But you can try pens with different neck sizes and see what you want to start with. You can even combine different pen sizes if you're careful, so you could use the smaller sizes on the lightest areas and use a thick nips on the dark areas. He can fill in those areas more quickly. Don't Rush is easier to make mistakes when he rushed, and you may end up dragging the pen across the paper by accident, which will create lines instead of dots. The first thing you once practices producing simple, radiant from light to dark. So I joined a rectangle here, and I want the left side to be the lightest on the right side to be the darkest I'm going to start by covering the rectangle in dots that's based pretty evenly apart, but not in any sort of regular pattern. I just want him to be placed randomly now. I'm gonna go back and add more dots the right hand side, which I want to be the darkest. But don't worry about making it too dark dressed. Yet it's better to build up the dots gradually so that you can make sure the April transition from light to dark, his smooth. And also make sure you don't get too carried away and making very much doctor than it should be. Definitely recommend spendings in time practicing the basics Before you start, you can download my free worksheet, which you'll find under the Your Project type, which includes a couple of simple exercises and some helpful tips. 4. Choosing Your Subject: in the section. I'll give you some tips for choosing subject to see your level of experience and also show you what I do to the reference photo to make my life easier when I start stippling. If you're a beginner, I would recommend avoiding a subject with complicated texture or details, like animals with fur feathers or scales. Instead, it's best to start with something that has a relatively smooth or slightly textured surface . Something was simple but interesting. Three dimensional shape, maybe a piece of fruit in animal skull, a shell or an object you've got lying around at home. If you can find something without too much for pattern, that will also make things easier when you start stippling. That way, you can concentrate on the shadows created by the light source without being distracted by the lights and darks of the surface pattern. On the other hand, if you're looking for more of a challenge, definitely give something with a bit more detail ago. Or try stippling, a subject that's completely out of your comfort zone. Once you found a suitable reference photo, take it into your favorite image editing software. We're only going to make a few small adjustments so you can use whatever software you already have a phone or computer for this, or if you got the object a hand, you can take a cliff photo of it and do the same. I've decided to create a stippled illustration of this common shore crab. I like how it's composed of lots of simple, fairly smooth shapes, so I don't have to deal with lots of details that makes the klingle challenging. So what I'll do now is opening up and change it to black and white. So I'm not distracted by the colors, and I can concentrate on the bodies instead. I'm also going to play around with the contrast highlights and shadows so contrite to visualize what the crop will look like. And it's staples for. Of course, you could also draw from life as well, and it's a really useful skill to practice. But it can help, especially when you're starting out to have the three D form already flattened into a duty image on to take away the colors that you can just focus on the light and dark values 5. Stippling a Crab: Now we have our reference photo. The next step is to draw an outline of the subject in pencil, making sure not to press too hard so that the pencil lines could be easily wiped out later on. I've drawn my pencil outline on tracing paper first, but changed a few things for my reference image that the Alexa position Taiwan today, I'm thinking. Transfer this during onto my working surface, using an embossing tool. It's up to you whether you draw directly onto paper or use tracing paper to trace a few Rechnitz photo, or just to make sure you're happy with the outline before transferring onto your nice paper . I like to quickly go over the pencil, drawing with a needle a razor to lift some of the graphite, so I'm left with a very light pencil outline. Now we're ready to start stippling. I'm going to think of the crab is a series of connected shapes and just pick one. Start with. Now, with in the shape I'm going to start adding some adults to the darkest areas, even though I'm just concentrating on this particular shape for now. I want to keep looking at my reference photos and see how the darkest areas of this shape compared to the darkest areas of the whole image, I can see that this area where the leg connects to the body is one of the darkest areas of the whole crap. So I don't need to be too worried about accidentally making it darker than it should be Before I start filling out the greedy in here, I'm going to start pacing dots to mark out the other dark areas of the shape on also to carefully space stops along the edges of the shape. Make sure that where the edges are very liked, you don't face these dots very close together. Now I'm gonna go back and stop lending the light and dark areas of the shape of the staples . Grady. In remember, you can always get back and add more dots to make an area darker, so it's important not to get too carried away and making area doctor than it should be. - From my reference photo conceded, This next section of my shape is much lighter a rule, but there will still be a slight grading where the top right side is the lightest, so I want to carefully place stop sparsely around shape, gradually adding more to the darker areas, but not anywhere near as many as we did before. As you can see, I tend to jump back and forth of it between the different sections of the shape. This is because, as I started well in the next section, I can see that maybe this side of the shape actually needs to be a bit darker. All that needs to be more contrast between two different areas for the highlight, so either want to keep it completely free of dots or just a very few carefully spaced apart dots to blend into the surrounding shape. You can get away with a much more random placement of darts in the dark areas, but you really need to pay attention when placing dots in the lightest areas so you don't accidentally end up overlapping dots and creating dark blobs. Whether should be. If you do make a mistake before you go in attempt to disguise it with more dots, which can sometimes make it worse, take a step back to see if it's really that noticeable. If it is, you can either attempt to blend in with more dots. Or use a bit of white paint on the Rozehnal brush to carefully cover over it. You can see I've used a couple of different approaches for different sections of the legs where the section is pretty light overall and shouldn't have any really dark areas. Attend to cover the whole section and evenly spaced apart docks that match the lightest values except for any highlights which will leave white and then go and gradually build up more dots in the dark areas. The other approach a uses to go fill in some of the darkest areas of the shape first and then blend outwards from these areas. It's up to you which technique you fat use, or if you use both like I do throughout was dipping process. It's important to take step back, maybe even squinted your work slightly. Seek and see how the illustration is developing a whole. You don't want to get too caught up in one tiny area of the drawing and then step back and realize you've made it way too dark. It can also help to take photos of your work as you go along that sometimes a camera can pick up things we haven't noticed. 6. Summary & Your Project: I hope you found this Carsey school. Would you want to keep sticking? Ago, You can download my free worksheet What your guide. You through the process of creating urine stippled ingredients and had in depth. And I mentioned you things different dots. Once a comfortable with a sibling method, you can get started on our own illustration, but you don't need to wait until you finish to jail project. You can post progress photos from the worksheet oil illustration as you go along to get feedback for myself on inspiration from other people taking the cross. Remember, take your time. Mistakes happen when you rush, but it's not the end of the world. If you do make a mistake is probably not that noticeable, and there's always white paint covers up. Step back. Don't get too carried away and keep taking a step back to see how administration is developing as a whole. Finally, relax and enjoy. Stippling could be really therapeutic, but don't get to keep stretching out your hand a regular intervals. I can't wait to see your projects. Feel free to get in touch. If you have any questions or comments on, please leave feedback if you can. This is my first culture class, so I love to hear your thoughts