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Experimenting With Dot Painting

Hand drawn Aboriginal abstract depicting


  • Type Aboriginal Artworks into Google Images

  • Look at Australian aboriginal art and discuss the use of repetitive dots and patterns to inspire dot painting

  • Discuss the concept of earth colours: Named because paints were made from the earth

  • Note the use of specific symbols (often repeated in artworks) to depict meaning. e.g. river, meeting place, person, etc

Simple ideas:

  • use various sized paper, cardboard shapes (like a shield for example) or a long cylinder (to make a didgeridoo,) rocks, fabric, boxes

  • use different types of paint: water or acrylic

  • use different brushes, sticks, printing media

You may like to paint the background first so the dots stand out in contrast.


And experiment first to find the best technique to create uniform circles (dots.) I have found the best result is achieved by loading just the very tip of the brush.


  • Type Mandala into Google Images

  • Look at and discuss the extensive use of repetitive dots to create and supplement line usage patterns

  • Substitute paint for black textas and plain white paper

  • Extend using a variety of different colours

The girl draws a mandala.jpg

​As a starting point for young children you can supply food colouring as water paint for as little as $3.60 in small bottles that your children can dot paint with, without creating any mess at all. Or cheap paint sets can be bought for around $10 and the quality of the paint is reasonable.


It's important though to supply some reasonable quality paintbrushes ranging in size from fine to thick as this allows them to create quality work.

But I believe the best results for dot painting will be achieved using acrylics

Aborigines Dot Painting Art as a new Hob

Some of the skills they will likely develop are:

  • increased hand eye coordination

  • increased hand strength and technique

  • mathematical language linked to colour mixing and shades: lighter and darker

  • increased knowledge of colour blending (making earth colours)

  • creativity and the joy associated with creativity

  • perseverance

  • refining & trial and error processes

  • the ability to plan then create or not plan and create

  • self-esteem & confidence building

Some Mathematical Language:

  • blend

  • light

  • lighter

  • lightest

  • dark

  • darker

  • darkest

  • red, crimson,

  • orange, salmon, apricot

  • yellow, ochre, lemon

  • white

  • black

  • grey

  • brown, tan, muddy

  • primary colour

  • secondary colour

Some Language Linked to Materials and Technique

  • paint: line, solid, swish, press, hold, acrylic, oil, water

  • paper: water colour (absorbent) craft (divide, fold) tissue, tracing, newsprint, cartridge, waxed, textured, cardboard,

  • repeating pattern

  • circle, dot, cylinder

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