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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher

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Guest Contributor: Genevieve Crabe on Stippling to Create Shading

Geneviève lives and teaches in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. She illustrates that by using the technique of stippling you can achieve shading with pen and ink as well as with a traditional pencil.

Genevieve Crabe

Geneviève Crabe – Artist, Writer, Teacher, and CZT

Stippling in Pen & Ink

Shading is an important part of Zentangle®. The purpose of shading is to give the illusion of depth and dimension.

In pen and ink art, there are a variety of methods for achieving this illusion, like parallel lines or cross-hatching. My favourite is stippling, where the shading values are achieved with small dots of ink by varying the density of the dots.

Here is an example showing how I can make a flat circle look like a round sphere:

Stippling a flat circle to make it appear to be a round sphere

Just like Zentangle® strokes, each dot must be deliberately placed so that the dots are as even as possible. The finer the pen you use, the smoother the shading will look.

You can see some examples of my pre-Zentangle pen & ink work on Flickr.

You can also use colour along with the stippling. In this example, I stippled the rose and then added a single colour using watercolour pencils:

Stippled Rose with Watercolor

Here is an example of a Zentangle® where I used stippling for shading instead of graphite:

Stippled Zentangle

If you want to learn more about stippling, check out my online class, Pen & Ink Rose.

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5 comments to Guest Contributor: Genevieve Crabe on Stippling to Create Shading

  • Rachel

    I just tried this technique for the first time last week! This was the first tangle I ever did that truly came out exactly the way I had envisioned it…the only one so far that I haven’t felt the need to tweak after I finished it.

    It’s a great technique, and I will certainly be using it again!

  • Wonderful! I love stippling, but I’m not nearly the master of it that you are!

  • I took Genevieve’s online Pen & Ink rose class and I have learned so much! Great class and stippling is really a neat art technique. I will be stippling more and can’t wait to try it with Zentangle! Thanks, Genevieve!

  • Sue Williams

    Thank you for your generosity in sharing your knowledge and creativity. Greetings from South Africa. Sue

  • Sharon Wrench

    I enjoyed working on my ‘first; stippling project. I found myself wanting to shade with a pencil, but decided to shade using stippling only. The results are very nice. Thank you for sharing.

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