International Dot Day – Looking at dots in the world for Phoenix School and others

Links to school blog's I visited for the annual International Dot Day (September 15) promoting creativity. Each shared their wonderful dot creations...

Phoenix School on Facebook

A teacher and class in New Zealand

Mrs. Yollis and Class

Class One, Norbridge

Mrs. Ranney and Class

Hello Phoenix School,

"What other materials have I seen used to create dots?" Your question had me thinking where dots exist in nature and the things we do. I'll share a few things...

Firstly, I decided to create a dot design to join in the fun of International Dot Day even if I was a little late to take part on the day. Here is a video clip I made of what resulted.

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

How was this done?

Many of you have probably tried folding a piece of paper, cutting out little sections then opening it out to see the pattern. This is how the basic pattern was created. I then scanned the pattern and started working in Photoshop. I copied and pasted the pattern to create a 9 dot design, then 81 dot, next 729 and finally 6,561 dots. To make the video clip, I loaded the patterns in reverse order so the many dots slowly became one.

Have you heard of an art style called pointillism?

Pointillism is an art form where artists use small spots of distinct colours. International Dot Day made me think about this style. Here is a Wikipedia link with information on pointillism...


With pointillism in mind, I again turned to Photoshop. This time I used a photo I had taken of an animal in a local animal sanctuary named, Potoroo Palace. To view this video clip, it's best viewed in full screen. The video shows you where to click to go to full screen.

Can you guess the animal in the photo? At first the dots are large but they become smaller and the animal is easier to see...

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

How was this done?

As I mentioned, I started with a photo I had taken. It was loaded into Photoshop. One filter available in Filters under Pixillate is named Pointillise (I use the Australian English spelling in this text). With the photo loaded, I selected this filter then set the size of the dots. I created five dot forms in all. The first you see had 100 pixel size, then next 50 then 25 the 12 and finally 5 pixel size. The last image you see is the original photo.

Did you know the computer screen you are looking at uses small dots?

If you were to use a strong magnifying glass to look at the computer screen, you would see small dots. As in pointillism, small dots of different colours placed close together combine to make the colour look different, e.g red with blue makes purple. Mixing different colour dots in lighter and darker shades can make them appear as a huge number of different colours. This is also true of photos we take using a digital camera. Below is  video showing what happens when you zoom in on the first dot creation in your class slideshow, Anya's beautiful creation...

Artwork creator: Anya of Phoenix School

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

How was this done?

With a screen capture of Anya's artwork, I was able to load her creation into Photoshop. I adjusted the view zoom. With each step, I performed another screen capture of what resulted. As you can see, by the final zoom, only one pixel appears and it is only one colour.

Did you know our eyes, in a way, see only dots of light?

When light travels into our eyes, the lens in our eye focuses the light on the retina at the back of the eye. In our eye we have two types of light sensitive cells, the rods and cones. If stimulated by light, each cell sends a message the brain. The brain is able to piece together the information coming in so we believe we are seeing something. That's pretty amazing dot work. Here is link with some information on the eye...

How the Eye Works

Was there dot painting before pointillism?

I am sure dot painting has appeared in a number of cultures throughout history but its appearance in different Aboriginal cultures within Australia interests me. They used, and are using, traditional designs in their artwork. Here is a link to one collection...

Papunya Collection

The Aboriginal people used earth colours in their traditional art, although modern forms use modern paints with many more colours. This is a style of painting I have used with classes over the years. One of our best works was painted on a piece of board measuring about 3' x 2' (90cm x 60cm). I prepared the board by at first giving it a coat of dark red. Many of my class took turns helping me add 100s of small dots until the pattern was complete. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo or the final product. I left it with a school about 15 years ago.

To finish off this post, I have an unusual way of creating a dot pattern. Take a large number of people dressed in assorted colours. Show them where to stand and how to move. Film them from above and you have living dot art. Here is a link to a 1990 British Airways ad using this technique...

This video clip is not mine. It appears on You Tube only.

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