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Capodimonte porcelain jar painted in the stipple style of Giovanni Caselli with three figures of Pulcinella from the commedia dell'arte, 1745-50

Stippling is the creation of a pattern simulating varying degrees of solidity or shading by using small dots. Such a pattern may occur in nature and these effects are frequently emulated by artists.


The Young Shepherd, engraving using stipple technique by Giulio Campagnola, around 1510

In a drawing or painting, the dots are made of pigment of a single colour, applied with a pen or brush; the denser the dots, the darker the apparent shade--or lighter, if the pigment is lighter than the surface. This is similar to--but distinct from--pointillism, which uses dots of different colours to simulate blended colours.[1]


Artistic composition of musical elements using stippling technique

In description of flora species, a stippling is a kind of pattern, especially in the case of flowering plants, produced in nature that occur on flower petals and sepals. These are similar to the dot patterns in artworks that produce an often intricate pattern. An example can be seen on the base of the petal insides of Calochortus luteus, a lily endemic to California.[2]

Other uses

In forensic science, stippling refers to a pattern of gunshot residue burned into the skin that results from close proximity to a discharged firearm. [3]


  1. ^ Ian Simpson (1987). The Encyclopedia of Drawing Techniques. London: Headline. pp. 62-64. ISBN 978-0-7472-0051-2.
  2. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2009. Gold Nuggets: Calochortus luteus,, ed. N. Stromberg Archived 2011-10-04 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Glossary of Forensic Terms". Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. U.S. state government. Retrieved 2018.

External links

  • Media related to Stippling at Wikimedia Commons

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