tr.v. stip·pled, stip·pling, stip·ples 1. To draw, engrave, or paint in dots or short strokes. 2. To apply (paint, for example) in dots or short strokes. 3. To dot, fleck, or speckle: "They crossed a field stippled with purple weeds" (Flannery O'Connor). n. 1. A method of drawing, engraving, or painting using dots or short strokes. 2. The effect produced by stippling.
The act of stippling involves covering an area with dots. What comes right to mind is a wildly time-consuming technique, done with a technical pen and ink (usually black), in which an image is drawn dot...by dot...by dot. (One may also stipple glass, an engraving plate, a quilt or even an interior wall.)
The resulting image contains no lines. It is a collection of dots, strategically placed to suggest forms, shapes, contrast and depth. It is left to the viewer's eye to complete the picture, a proposition which seldom fails.
Stippling is also the manual forerunner of Benday dots and halftones. (For you young'uns out there, these were graphic image tools employed before the advent of the computer pixel.)
The technique became popular as a means of producing shaded line art illustrations for publication, because drawings created this way could be reproduced in simple black ink. The other common method is hatching, which uses lines instead of dots. Stippling has traditionally been favoured over hatching in biological and medical illustration, since it is less likely than hatching to interfere visually with the structures being illustrated (the lines used in hatching can be mistaken for actual contours), and also since it allows the artist to vary the density of shading more subtly to depict curved or irregular surfaces. The Wall Street Journal still features stippled and hatched portraits known as hedcuts in its pages, a holdover from its earlier avoidance of photographs.
An article at the WSJ explains a lot about the art and history of the stipple portrait.
Neil Gates Photography offers a more cost effective solution to the traditional hand painted stipple portrait. If you would like to have a portrait created, please contact us for more information. Prices are typically around $350, which includes the photography session. The stipple portrait that we offer is NOT a Photoshop filter, it is more complicated than that! Turnaround times are normally 5 business days.