At first glance, Nikki Douthwaite’s portraits appear to be standard pointillist paintings, like those of Seurat or Signac, but upon closer inspection her portraits are actually comprised of thousands and thousands of tiny dots from household hole punchers.

Her images bear similarities to optical illusions, only taking shape when viewed from a distance. Not surprisingly, Douthwaite wrote about optical mixing for her university dissertation. "When your eyes see the pictures, your brain mixes the colors together instead of mixing paint in a pallet," she told The Huffington Post in an email. As part of her thesis she studied Seurat whose painting "A Sunday Afternoon On The Island of La Grande Jatte," sparked her first inclination towards hole punch art. After pasting approximately 587,000 dots in just 3 months, she was hooked.

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Douthwaite has an impressive body of work, focusing mostly on portraits of celebrities’ faces. “My choice of portraits comes from an interest in faces, in the biological form; bone and muscle construction, sociological, expression and individuality,” she writes on her website. Most of the famous faces are Formula One drivers, “for which I have a huge passion,” she notes.

Her hole punch portraits demand a tremendous amount of attention and focus, sometimes for up to ten to fourteen hours at a time. Each dot is painstakingly stuck onto a wooden canvas, one-by-one, using a pair of tweezers. Most of the dots come from the pages of magazines relevant to her subjects. In total, Douthwaite has glued over 3 million dots to 17 pictures in a span of just 4 years -- “no wonder my shoulder and thumb hurt!” she exclaimed during our email exchange... we can’t even begin to imagine.

Be sure to check out the slideshow below to see more images from her collection or and let us know your thoughts in the comments section!

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  • Simon Cowell

    Hole Punch Dots (Approx 189,000) on wood. Size - 190cm by 162cm.

  • Bob Marley

  • John Lennon

  • John Lennon

    Up close

  • John Lennon

    Hole Punch Dots on wood.

  • In Seine

    Hole Punch Dots (Approx 587,000) on canvas. Size - 307cm by 206 cm.

  • In Seine

  • In Seine

    Close up

  • Jimi Hendrix

    Hole Punch Dots (Approx 150,000) on wood. Size - 150cm by 200cm.

  • Jimi Hendrix

    Jimi Hendrix up close.

  • Muhammed Ali

    Hole Punch Dots (Approx 115,000) on wood. Size - 165cm by 150cm.

  • Marilyn Monroe

    Hole Puch Dots (Approx 99,000) on wood. Size - 158cm by 122cm.

  • Ayrton Senna

    Hole Punch Dots (Approx 100,000) on wood. Size - 160cm by 122cm.