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Stippling in art may refer to two things. It may indicate that an image was created by very many small, monochromatic dots spaced appropriately to generate the illusion of space, depth and shadow. It is also a technique used to create a sandy, grainy like appearance on the background of images as well as on walls and other surfaces.
Most often, stippling in art refers to a type of illustration created by a series of small dots. These dots are strategically placed either close together or farther apart to portray different levels of shading. Dots that are placed very close together depict a heavily shadowed or dark area, while dots that are farther apart create the appearance of a lighter area.
A fine pen is typically used to create stippling in art. Usually the ink is black and is used to decorate a white background, but any color of ink or background may be used. As long as color is not used to depict the image, the technique is still stippling.
In order to create stippling in art, any fine tipped pen and blank sheet of paper can be used, but in order to generate the best results, special supplies should be acquired. Pens should be extremely fine tipped and should easily generate a clean and clear dot — felt tipped pens are generally recommended. Pens should also be waterproof to prevent the design from smudging or smearing during creation. In order for the artwork to survive many years, the design should be generated on high quality, heavyweight, acid free paper. Textured rather than smooth paper is recommended for stippling, as it is more difficult to create clear dots on textured paper.
The artistic technique of pointillism is often confused with stippling. While stippling is the creation of monochromatic dots to portray an image, pointillism uses multicolored dots to generate the illusion of mixed colors. Unlike stippling, pointillism does not utilize the technique of creating dots in differing proximities to depict space and shadow but uses dots of different colors that are uniformly distributed to create the same effect.
It is not uncommon for stippling in art to also refer to a certain type of texturized painting. Stippling creates the appearance of many small dots close together, resembling a sandy area. It is generated with a stippling brush, which has many stiff bristles that are very close together. This texturized appearance is often used in the background of images, yet this type of painting can also be used to paint walls and furniture and is also referred to as pouncing.