Aboriginal Dot Art Paintings & Captivating Pointillism Art Level: 3-5


Aboriginal Dot Art Paintings and Pointillism

Art Lesson Plan by Display My Art



Australian Aboriginal dot art is one of the oldest continuing art traditions in the world. Aborigines used dot painting as a way of telling a story and recording ritual practices, passing on the stories verbally as well as through music and art. They would use the pictures as guides as they told their stories.

Often times the Aboriginal Art depicted were secret, and only certain members of the tribe were allowed to know the details (these are usually ones that depicted ritual practices). So, they would paint dots all over the picture as a form of camouflage. Only those “in the know” were able to decipher the hidden pictures within. Aborigines didn’t have paints, as we know them. They made their paints using the items in their environment-ochre, dirt, crushed seeds, etc.



Anchor Standard #3
-Refine and complete artistic work.

Anchor Standard #5
-Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

Anchor Standard #11
-Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.




Step 1:
In a brown or other earthy color, paint a light wash of craft paint over entire background (colors shouldn’t be too dark so the Aboriginal art will be seen). Allow to dry completely.


Step 2:
LIGHTLY in pencil, have child draw a simplistic design. The design should be of organic things (Good ideas are simple animal forms, leaves, stick figures, etc.)


Step 3:
Pour small amounts of earth toned craft paint onto a tray(ex, yellows, browns, oranges, greens and reds). Then dip a pencil-top eraser, cotton swab or pinky fingertip into the paint color of choice. Make dots of paint by pushing straight down with the pencil eraser, swab or fingertip. They may mix colors to create the earth tones that the Aborigines would have used.


Step 4:
After the students have dotted in their main design, they should begin camouflaging the picture with dots of other color and patterns. Swirling and waving lines of color are common.

Aboriginal dot art lesson planAboriginal dot art lesson plan

*Don’t forget to put student name and year on the drawing, at least one inch away from the outside border.*

To use this lesson as an art fundraiser, go to http://displaymyart.com/fundraising-info/

Required Materials

  • 01Display My Art drawing paper.
  • 02Craft/acrylic paint
  • 03Paint brush
  • 04Pencil
  • 05Q tips
  • 06Sample pictures of traditional Aboriginal artwork.
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