Dot painting is a form of Aboriginal art that uses dots of color to create pictures. This type of dot painting is also commonly referred to as dot weaving, dot stitching, and pattern work. While dot painting is used in a variety of art forms, it is most commonly seen in fabric and clothing items such as vests and dresses. Traditionally used with fabric, dot painting can also be created on paper, wood, and other flat surfaces using paint or ink pens. Many different dot painting techniques are used today.
Method 1: Traditional Ground Base Method:
This method is the traditional form of dot painting where it is a ground-based method, which means the base color on your canvas or piece of paper will be the color of the ground or canvas. This dot painting method is used by Aboriginal artists in different parts of Australia, however, it is no longer an actively practiced art form by many Aboriginal groups. The traditional dot painting background was made using ochre, which are iron oxides that are natural to Australia. One dot painting method using ochre is called “bulla bulla”. This dot painting process involves taking a handful of dotting mixture and squeezing it over a traditional painting tool called a “bulla bugha”.
Method 2: Freehand Method
This dot painting method is used by many Aboriginal people in Australia today, although it’s not exclusive to them – dot painting can be done using any tool, stick, or finger. The dotting pattern is painted onto the canvas with a freehand dotting method, which means you dot whatever pattern or shape that is needed. No patterns or designs are laid out beforehand. The dot painting is then filled in or following the dot patterns freehand. The Aboriginals use different-sized dotting sticks depending on the desired size of the dots needed. There are larger and smaller dotting tools, which are used by dotting the canvas in different ways.
Method 3: Stencil Method
The stencil dot painting method requires a paper or cloth stencil that has an opening cut out of it. For example, if dot painting on fabric, this opening could be any shape like flowers, circles, squares – anything you desire. The dotting mixture is then put into a container, which this stencil dot painting method uses more often than the traditional dotting tool. The artist dips three fingers inside the container and applies dots of color to your fabric/canvas using your hand as an applicator.
Method 3: Pattern Transfer Method
The dot painting pattern transfer method involves the dotting tool and a grid made out of dot paper (you can make your dot paper at home – tutorial coming soon). By using the different sized dot patterns on dot paper, you can create your dot painting by transferring it onto your canvas or piece of paper. The dot paper is laid out in a pattern that you like, then you use the dotting tool to dot on top of each dot or dot group. You will see that when you are done with this method, it creates a dot painting.