It Began With Engraving

“Cats” by Giulio Campagnola

I stumbled across a surprising tidbit today while gathering information on famous pen and ink artists. The wonderful thing about this information is that it puts to rest something I’ve been wondering about for years; where did the pen and ink technique of stippling begin? From what I have been able to gather from teachers and personal research over the years is that the term came from photography as a way of explaining how small dots could be put together to form an image. Well, actually that’s just how my high school art instructor explained it. While in college I further learned that Georges Seurat along with Paul Signac, developed what has come to be known as “pointillism”; a painting technique using dots of paint to form images on canvas. So it was from these two sources that I assumed the drawing technique of stippling emerged but my wondering never really felt resolved. The issue became something that got filed away in the back of my mind behind random, odd things like what if the earth is just a part of a cell that’s inside a huge organism.


Then today, while I was looking up pen and ink artists for a dose of inspiration, I came across Giulio Campagnola. Campagnola was an Italian painter and engraver who it turns out, developed this technique of creating smooth graduations of tone and nuances by using a delicate touch of tiny dots and dashes with his engraving tool to create engraved images. This became known as stippling. And voila! That question that got filed away was finally answered. Of all things, I wouldn’t have thought that stippling came from engraving, especially all the way back in the early1500s. Engravings typically employ lines of hatching and cross hatching to form images but Campagnola devised a way of using dots to create variations of tone and hence stippling was born. It wasn’t until the 18th century before stippling developed into a distinct technique but by then other artists had tried their hand at the technique which lent to its growing use.
Campagnola left behind few examples of his work, some of which I’ve posted here. If you look closely you’ll see that sometimes he used only stippling and at other times he used a mix of hatching and stippling.


After learning this I can now also put to rest another question that I have been wondering about for years; should I be referring to my work as stippling or pointillism? Over the years I’ve used them interchangeably but then when you get into the nuts and bolts of it, my work is more in the stipple camp rather than pointillism. If I was creating my artwork using dots of paint, then it would be more accurate to call it pointillism. But then there is that gray area; what if I use colored ink? Oh the complexity. Either way I now have a better understanding of my craft. πŸ™‚

“Venus” by Giulio Campagnola
“Shepard” by Giulio Campagnola

Tree Frog Blank Pocket Journal Set

New to my growing line of stationery are my handmade Tree Frog Blank Pocket Journal Set. I sliced, folded and threaded these up over the weekend and they’re now available for your quick notes, doodles and rambling thoughts. I just adore tree frogs so these journals so far are my favorite, I even made a set for myself. So be sure to check them out at my online store and get yourself a set or two. πŸ™‚

Strike A Pose

Strike A Pose” by Q. Rumbley

Well I now have this little cutie all finished and ready for a new home. It was fun working on this but I think, for now, I’ve had my fill of tree frogs. Still got my Tree Frog journal sets to complete but after that I’ll be looking for a new subject to tackle. Feel free to drop some suggestions for new creatures to ink in the comments section. πŸ™‚

Close up of “Strike A Pose”.

New Journal Set

Tree Frog Pocket Journal

Got to making the first journal for my upcoming new set of Tree Frog blank pocket journals. This is the first set where I’m using the threaded saddle stitching on and I really like the look. The thread gives the journals a more handmade feel to them that is much more appealing to me. The cover illustration is a reproduction of my ACEO drawing “This Little Fella”. I plan on making the cover illustration for the second pocket journal from my ACEO drawing, “Strike A Pose”, which I’m currently working on. I’m excited about this new set of journals so be sure to stay tuned to see the end results. πŸ™‚

Close up of threaded saddle stitch.
Inside view of threaded saddle stitch journal.
“Strike A Pose” (wip)

Tree Frogs and Thread Binding

This cute thing will definitely make a perfect match for a pair to my previous tree frog drawing, “This Little Fella“. I love the eyes and how it looks like it’s crawling out of the darkness and over a leaf. I kinda want to leave it just as it is with that half drawn look that I like so much but I will ink on… πŸ™‚

On another note, I’m still learning more about book binding. Lately I’ve been doing saddle stitch binding with thread and although it takes a little more time compared to using staples, I’ve learned that thread is better for longevity and that I’m not as limited as far as page count goes if I use thread instead of staples. When using staples I can only have up to 32 pages in my pocket journals beyond that the staples won’t close. When using thread I can have up to 48 before the journal starts to feel a bit too bulky. The work flow for using thread is taking a bit getting used to but I’m enjoying the process and have decided that may future pocket journals will be stitched with thread and contain at least 40 pages (that’s 80 if you count front and back). Be on the look out for new thread saddle stitched illustrated pocket journals in the near future. πŸ™‚