Pointillism: 21 inspirational examples

Pointillism, also known as dot art, encompasses many types of art. Incredible examples are being produced by a variety of creatives, including artists, graphic designers, illustrators and even photographers. Whatever form it takes, it all has one element in common: the dot.

We've searched everywhere to find the most striking examples of pointillism-based artwork to inspire you to have a go yourself. Some examples are quite traditional, whereas others have used the technique as the basis to create something totally fresh.

For more unusual art inspiration from other top art rundowns, explore our pick of the best doodle art and paper art.

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01. Jimena Rodríguez Barceló

Pointillism: Jimena Rodríguez Barceló

Watch the time lapse video below to see how this was created (Image credit: Jimena Rodríguez Barceló)

This piece – Pointillism Portrait – took artist Jimena Rodríguez Barceló a total of 35 hours to complete. Using a photo as the basis, he used Micron pens to make tiny dots. See the time lapse video below for the whole process.

02. Matt Riste

Matt Riste delivers a masterclass in using pointillism to create some serious kapow [Image: Matt Riste]

Matt Riste is a UK based illustrator and artist who has a portfolio chock full of vibrant work. He has lent pointillist style to re imagined film posters, including Hitchcock's Psycho, and has recently designed t-shirts for WWE. 

This Batman poster's intricate dot work comes together to pack a punch full of colour, character and personality. 

03. Virgil Finlay

Virgil Finlay used lithographic pens so fine most artists can't use them [Image: societyillustrators.org]

Virgil Finlay was an illustrator who used scratchboarding to create dot art for pulp, fantasy and science fiction. Finlay used a 290 ultra-fine lithographic pen on clay-based scratchboard to create his dots. He would laboriously dip only the tip into India ink and allow only the ink, not the pen, to touch the surface. He would then wipe the ink from the pen and repeat the procedure for the next dot.

Although this process was labour-intensive, Finlay created over 2600 pieces over his 35-year career. He has been heralded as one of the foremost science fiction illustrators. The piece above is his portrait of H.P Lovecraft, a prolific writer of 'weird fiction' and the background is really special. 

04. Federico Pietrella

Pietrella uses date stamps to create his work [Image: Federico Pietrella]

Berlin-based Federico Pietrella's approach to pointillism doesn't involve pens or brushes; instead he works with old-fashioned date stamps and uses them to build up his brilliantly detailed artworks. The final touch? He always has the stamp set to the current date, so you can tell exactly when each work was created.

05. Angelo Franco

Franco's vivid colours give his paintings an impressionistic feel [Image: Angelo Franco]

Ecuadorean artist Angelo Franco has been painting for over 30 years. His work is notable for its bright, contrasting colours and pointillist, impressionistic style, which he uses to try to capture the essence of his subjects, whether they're landscapes or still life studies.

06. Ton Dubbledam

Ton Dubbledan often employs pointillist techniques in his artwork [Image: Ton Dubbledan]

Coming from a creative family and inspired by the Impressionist masters as a boy, Dutch artist Ton Dubbledam often works in a pointillist style that's notable for his use of repoussoir – putting the light in the background and using strong shadows to draw the eye to important details.

07. James Cochran

Cochran's art can be seen on walls around the globe [Image: James Cochran]

James Cochran – Jimmy C – was a huge part of the underground graffiti movement in Australia during the late 1980s. His interest in urban realist and figurative oil painting led to the development of his signature aerosol pointillist style; portraits or urban landscapes painted entirely from blobs of spray paint.

Although now living in London, Cochran's pieces of art can be seen on walls, buildings, and murals around the globe. His David Bowie mural in Brixton, London, has been adopted as a shrine to the musician.

08. Paul Signac

Place des Lices, Saint-Tropez (1893) [Image: Carnegie Museum of Art]

An artist, anarchist and keen sailor, much of whose work focused on the French coastline, Paul Signac was one of the two founders of Pointillism, along with Georges Seurat. Inspired by Surat's working methods and theory of colours, Signac abandoned impressionism and developed the process of painting scientifically juxtaposed dots of pure colour that would blend in the viewer's eye, rather than on the canvas.

09. Jerry O Wilkerson

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (1992) [Image: theartteacher.net]

St Louis-based artist Jerry O Wilkerson expertly blended pointillism with pop art in his work. Much of it was food-based, featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, lobsters and even a Campbell's soup tin, among other things, rendered in vivid pointillistic colours that owed as much to the half-tone looks of print processes as to the impressionistic style of the original pointillists.

10. Phan Thu Trang

Peaceful Village – Trang’s strongest point is to capture light and bring it to her stunning paintings [Image: Phan Thu Trang]

Born and based in Hanoi, Phan Thu Trang uses a limited palette and bold dabs of colour to bring the rural Vietnamese landscape to vivid life. Using oils and a palette knife to render the amazing impasto trees that dominate her work, she always tries to use colour and light to create a different sensation for each piece of her art.

11. Yuriy Skorohod

Skorohod describes his work as being born out of nothing [Image: Yuriy Skorohod]

Hailing from Minsk in Belarus, Yuriy Skorohod describes himself as a dotwork artist. "The 'dot' is an abstract object in space having neither volume, area, length nor any other measurable characteristics," he says. "This way, out of nothing, my drawings are getting born."

12. William Wilkins

The Jubilee Plantation (1980) [Image: William Wilkins]

Having graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1960, William Wilkins started developing his own pointillist technique in the 1970s. 

His earlier work tends to be concerned with tone and colour and frequently employs many layers of paint, while his more recent work is more interested in luminosity and opacity, with seldom more than one layer of paint on the canvas. He lives and works in Wales, but also works in Venice.

13. Kevin Sprouls

Kevin's created the portrait style synonymous with The Wall Street Journal [Image: Kevin Sprouls]

Kevin Sprouls spearheaded the style of drawing now referred to as 'hedcut'. Using a stippling method of many small dots and a cross hatching method of many small lines, Sprouls created drawings that emulated the look and feel of old newspaper woodcuts and engraving.

In 1979, the illustrator approached The Wall Street Journal with his ink dot work and was subsequently employed by the publication until 1987, helping to create its signature look. There are now five hedcut artists at working at The Wallstreet Journal, continuing Sprouls' legacy.

14. Dr Woo

Dr Woo uses a single needle to tattoo his sought-after designs [Image: Dr Woo]

All tattoos are essentially pointillism. Typically using eight needles at once, tattoos are made when each needle penetrates the skin at high speed to create lines.

What is so unique about Dr Woo's work, however, is that he uses one needle, meaning his tattoos are created not from a machine, but by hand dot after excruciating dot.

While this style of tattooing isn't unique to Woo, his designs are incredibly intricate and beautiful and have inspired many. The LA-based artist has inked celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Brooklyn Beckham and Ellie Goulding.

15. Xavier Casalta

'Winter' took 400 hours to complete [Image: Xavier Casalta]

French artist Xavier Casalta is an expert when it comes to creating inspiring dot art. He builds up his images using a time-consuming stippling technique in black ink – the above artwork took 400 hours to complete, and includes around eight million dots. Casalta's intricate designs have attracted clients including Dior, the National Gallery of London and Nissan. 

16. Pablo Jurado Ruiz

Ruiz often creates beautiful pointillism art in both colour and monochrome [Image: Pablo Jurado Ruiz]

Pablo Jurado Ruiz is a Spanish artist who specialises in pointillist art, using black and white drawing to create beautifully realistic portraits of innocence. "I try to tell stories through a minimalist and subtle vision," he explains. "My current work focuses on simple but realistic drawings worked in an impressionist technique."

17. Georges Seurat

Painter Georges Seurat's piece is an early example of pointillism, created in the late 1880s [Image: georgesseurat.org]

French Post-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat spent over two years creating his beautiful, and probably best-known, painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. An early example of pointillism, Seurat finished the piece, which is estimated to consist of approximately 3,456,000 dots, in the late 1880s.

18. Miguel Endara

Hero is composed of approximately 3.2 million black ink dots [Image: Miguel Endara]

Crafted by illustrator and artist Miguel Endara, Hero (above) is composed of approximately 3.2 million black ink dots, using a single Sakura Pigma Micron pen (nib size 005, 0.2mm). It took nearly a whole year to complete. You can see how it was done in the video below.

19. Matt Booth

The skull on the print appears white, until the lights go out [Image: Matt Booth]

Most – but not all – of multidisciplinary designer Matt Booth's work uses pointillism as its influence. This skull glow poster uses an array of dots to make up the image. The skull on this dot art print appears completely white until the lights go out.

20. Yayoi Kusama

How could we write up a post on pointillism and dot art without including the Queen of the polka dot herself, Yayoi Kusama? Ever since the 1960s, this dot-loving lady has been renowned for her innovative and inspirational work.

This project entitled Obliteration Room was showcased in London's Tate Modern and in galleries all over the world. Over the course of a few weeks, a space was transformed from a blank canvas into an explosion of colour, with thousands of spots stuck over every available surface.

21. Philip Karlberg

Philip used around 1200 sticks to create celebrity portraits, such as this one of Johnny Depp [Image: Phillip Karlberg]

Photographer Philip Karlberg's assignments take him all over the world. Among his commercial clients are Swarovski, Marc O’Polo, Kasthall, and NK. In this project, Philip used around 1200 sticks over a six day period to create these striking celebrity portraits. The other subjects include Lady Gaga and Jackie O.

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Rosie Hilder

Rosie Hilder is Creative Bloq's Deputy Editor. After beginning her career in journalism in Argentina – where she worked as Deputy Editor of Time Out Buenos Aires – she moved back to the UK and joined Future Plc in 2016. Since then, she's worked as Operations Editor on magazines including Computer Arts, 3D World and Paint & Draw and Mac|Life. In 2018, she joined Creative Bloq, where she now assists with the daily management of the site, including growing the site's reach, getting involved in events, such as judging the Brand Impact Awards, and helping make sure our content serves the reader as best it can.