pointillism example


Pointillism in Photoshop

    ●   You will only use 2 Tools in this Tutorial:

          Paintbrush Tool           Eyedropper Tool

Learn About:

PointillismKeyboard Shortcuts

  •   This tutorial is part of the Shadow Life Project.

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.

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Step #1: Open a Picture of your Face in PhotoShop ~

Get a photo of your face and open it in Photoshop.


Step #2: New Layer ~

Create a New Layer on top of your image by clicking the layer icon or hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+Shift+N



… or hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+Shift(⇧)+N

cmd key + shift key + n key


… and Lock lock the background layer.

lock background layer

Step #3: You Will Only Need 2 Tools ~

You only need 2 tools for this tutorial:

●   Eyedropper Tool      ●   Brush Tool  


Step #4: Eyedropper Tool ~

Get the Eyedropper Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (i) …

eyedropper tool



  •   Keyboard shortcuts are a must in this tutorial!

… and grab a color from the background.

Step #5: The Brush Tool ~

Next, click the Brush Tool or hit the keybord shortcut letter (B) …

Brush Tool icon


  •   Again, Remember the Keyboard Shortcuts!

… click to open the Brush Preset picker …

… and select a soft round brush - any size for now.




Adjust the size of the brush using the Bracket Keys:



left bracket<== Smaller | Bigger ==> right bracket


Step #6: Begin Painting ~

Then paint a dot on the new blank layer.

Step #7: Alt Key ~

Hit Alt (⌥) to quickly switch to the Eyedropper Tool …

That's Right! Alt (⌥) temporarily activates the Eyedropper - Makes it much faster!

Keep Going! All across grabbing colors and making many dots of various sizes.

Grab a new color every time you make a new dot in order to give your composition a wide range of color.

Step #8: Background ~

Once you are happy with your composition, turn off the visibility of the original image to reveal the work you have done. 

indicates layer visibliity

There may be gaps between many of the dots you have created.

cheeta with holes

Add one last layer behind your painting by Cmd(⌘)+Clicking on the "Create a new layer" icon create a new layer

Fill the layer with the Paint Bucket with a soft complementary color that works with your overall composition.  You may want to experiment with a few different colors to see what color complements your painting best.  For example, if your painting is dominated by a soft blue sky, a soft orange might be a good choice to complement the dominant blues in your overall composition. 

Last Step: Save & Attach ~

Go to: File > Save as … and save your work as - FIRST_NAME_LAST_NAME_PROJECT_NAME.psd

save as .psd

Attach it!

  •   ALWAYS save your projects like this:


  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.


  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.