In Chinese brush painting, one of the techniques that I share with my students is called the art of the “magic dots.” These “magic dots” are random dots or marks that you can place in your paintings of nature to add more realism to your art. In nature, there is a certain randomness to the way living things appear. The dots can be rounded, pointed, vertical or horizontal while we observing from nature. A tree trunk and its branches doesn’t only consist of all smooth bark—it typically has a few random knots (or dots) in it.
Here is the example of “magic dots”. Take a look at these “before” and “after” paintings of a plum tree. In the first painting, the branches and blossoms are very smooth. The picture is pretty yet looks unfinished. In the second painting, the “magic dots” have been added. As you can see, the dots add much more realism to the painting – the nature randomness!
Before the “Magic Dots”
After we add the “Magic Dots”
I have written a haiku to help you remember the “magic dot” technique:
trunk, branches, blossoms
finished with magic dots
I encourage you to try it in your next art masterpiece!