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. 🙂
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. 🙂
So I’m now feeling back to 100% and got something new on my drawing board. I haven’t done any frogs in a while so I’m all in for the adorableness of this tree frog. It’s the eyes, they always get to me. 🙂
I’m finally finished with this piece. It’s taken a minute due to dealing with some health issues but I’m feeling much better now. I have to say this drawing was initially an experiment for me. What interested me in doing this was a curiosity sparked by looking at images of the egret’s white form against the background of a blue sky. I became curious to know if I could make a drawing much in the same way as an silhouette illustration but instead of doing the subject matter in all black like a silhouette, I wondered if I could do the background in all black and leave the subject white. I guess that would be a reverse silhouette, if there’s such a thing. And for the most part that is what I ended up creating. I’m pleased with the end result. There’s some shading to the beak, legs and eye area of the egret along with the tops of the cattails but everything else is just white. I really like the simplicity of this drawing and how I did try to add much detail to it. A former art instructor once told me that I have a habit of trying to add in too many details and that it’s okay to leave things out. It’s like how when you first get into drawing and you try to draw every strand of hair on a person’s head. It’s exhausting and unnecessary. Doing this piece took me back to my early art instruction and reminded me that a drawing doesn’t need to be overly complex in order to be appealing and interesting. You just have to figure out what to leave in and what the drawing can do without. 🙂
I see it’s been almost three weeks since my last post. Sorry to have been away for so long but I’m still battling through some health issues, particularly digestive issues, that has garnered more of my attention and energy over the last couple of weeks. So I took some time off from drawing, again. Unfortunately this is appears to be an ongoing battle that’s not going away anytime soon so I’m learning how to manage. I gotten back to inking my egret and cattails ACEO which you can see above. This is a fairly straight forward drawing with most of all the inking going into the background. The egret itself is white, so there won’t be much detail to add there. My main concern will be how to define the bits of grass around its feet in a way that it doesn’t get lost in the background. I’ll just have to take a wait and approach as I go along. But for now I’ll just focus on getting the background done. 🙂