Here are a few things I’ve learned as a stipple artist:
1. Before you even begin get into a Zen state of mind. This is not a craft for the speedy and the quick. You really do have to prepare your mind to slow down and be in it for the long haul. Think of it as meditation. If you have to start off with doing it for only 10-20 minutes at at time, that’s fine. Take breaks and then come back to it. Whatever you do don’t force it otherwise you’ll end up hating the drawing and spend the rest of your time just wishing you could hurry up and finish.
2. When you do your underlying linework don’t make the lines too dark. You want your lines to be light but visible otherwise they’ll be a pain to erase after you lay down your ink and you may inadvertently erase some of your ink, dulling your drawing.
3. Don’t tense up. Holding your pen tighter won’t help you get done any faster. You want a slightly loose grip with a moderate stippling pace so that your hand won’t tire quickly.
4. Whenever you’re not stippling put your cap back on your pen or put it away, even if you’re just reaching for a drink. I’ve had one too many mishaps from simply reaching for my phone or moving to pet my cat only to look back at my drawing and find unintended pen marks on it.
5. Work in small sections at a time. I’ve found that covering the portion of the drawing that I’m not working on with a piece of paper keeps me from feeling overwhelmed at how much I have to stipple and focused on the portion that I’m working on. Plus the paper keeps the oils from your hand from getting on the drawing.
6. If you get sleepy go to bed or take a nap. Don’t try to push through it. Trust me, stippling while sleepy is a sure way to end up with mistakes.
7. Most importantly….BREATHE…and always keep a charged up mp3 player or iPod loaded with some good music handy.