Are these the new adult colouring books?

dot to dots

Thomas Pavitte has cornered onto a new relaxation technique: dot-to-dot books!

We've all noticed the popularity of colouring books for adults over the past year. Whether it's simply being able to customise pretty patterns or a way to combat the anxiety of everyday life, colouring provides a solution for many.

The top 10 best colouring books for designers

So it was only a matter of time until another of our favourite childhood past time was reinvented for the adult gaze. The next stress-busting trend? Dot-to-dots – and they're far more intricate than those farm animal line drawings you matched up as a kid!

The main man behind the reinvention of the humble dot-to-dot colouring book is New Zealander, Thomas Pavitte. Beginning in 2010, the artist started experimenting with dot-to-dot illustrations alongside his day job as a graphic designer.

One man and his pencil

Fast forward five years and he has published four dot-to-dot books, translated into 13 different languages and sold 400,000 copies worldwide – that's quite a feat for one man and his pencil. We caught up with Thomas himself to chat about his 1000 Dot-To-Dot's book series.

01. What did you do before creating these dot-to-dot books?

dot to dot

The 1000 Dot-To-Dot book series' have featured iconic pop culture faces and artistic masterpieces

I had been working as a graphic designer for three years in New Zealand, where I am from, and decided to further my career by moving to Melbourne Australia to seek out new opportunities.

I found it harder than I anticipated to find work in Melbourne so as a break from constantly searching through job sites, I decided to put some time into a creative side project as a bit of a distraction.

02. What inspired you to start?

dot to dots joining

Thomas' dot-to-dot's are no easy feat to complete

I've always been a huge advocate of side projects. It's a great outlet to have complete creative freedom to work on what ever projects interest me.

I've always loved the idea of using primitive techniques to create complex art. Dot-to-dot drawings are about as primitive as you get. We all know them from our childhood to be basic, flat outlines of things. The challenge that I set myself was to see if I could reinvent the idea and create something that had more artistic integrity.

03. How do you approach creating a dot-to-dot drawing?


Watch Salvador Dali slowly come to life with your own hand (and help from a few hundred numbers provided by Thomas)

I work in reverse, so I draw the completed illustration first and then put all the dots on manually. It's taken me a while to develop the technique, but in a nutshell, the key is to build up areas of light and dark to create contrast.

It's also really important to get the iconic details as accurate as possible, such as the eyes in a portrait. I don't really put much thought into where I start with the line, in the end it doesn’t really matter. They often look like quite a mess at the start, but as the line builds up more and more, the image inevitably starts to appear.

elvis dots

Join up the dots in order to reveal the King of Rock 'n' Roll, you can always colour him in after!

04. How long does it take you to complete a drawing?

It usually takes me about 40 minutes to complete a drawing. Most people will be able to finish them in under an hour.

05. What have you got lined up next?

dot-to-dot interview

Thomas only takes about 40 minutes to complete a dot-to-dot drawing

I recently published two colouring-in books called Querkles. Colouring-in books seem to be very popular right now, so I've done a bit of a twist on the idea that I am really proud of.

In the next year I'll be working on more books in the 1000 Dot-To-Dot and Querkles series. But I also hope to have some time to explore more ideas and see if another side project can turn into something big as well.

Like this? Read these!

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Alice Pattillo

Alice Pattillo is a freelance journalist with a passion for heavy metal, horror, science fiction, fantasy and comics. She has over seven years experience in magazines, formerly working as a staff writer at Creative Bloq, Imagine FX, Computer Arts and 3D World, as production editor for Guitar World and Guitar Player and online editor of Metal Hammer.