Project 3: Drawing ‘machines’

GPX tracksGPX tracksMy favourite drawing machine I came across in my research was ‘ADA’, by Karina Smigla-Bobinski (Smigla-Bobinski, n.d.). It is incredibly simple and I can imagine getting immersed in mark making with it. The random marks it makes look fascinating and I love the confined nature determined by the ball’s size and the walls.

Another one I came across made by a local sculptor was a handheld drawing machine which adds motors to vibrate and rotate a pen at the end of a rod (Bond, n.d.). This mixes randomness from the motor with the control of the user in positioning the pen and possibly predicting the motion of the motor.


Smigla-Bobinski, K. (n.d.). ADA. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 Oct. 2018].

Bond, J. (n.d.). Jim Bond. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 Oct. 2018].

Drawing Machine 1

I decided to produce a drawing machine that recorded movement in a car. It took me a little while to perfect this, but this is what I ended up with:

DM v1 setup1 DM v1 setup2 DM v1 setup3

Initially the movement was too unrestricted and the pens ended up off the paper after a short period of time.

DM v1 setup4

Restricting it to stay on the paper was more successful

DM v2 setup

This was left in the car for a number of weeks and eventually resulted in this drawing

DM v2 drawing2

All these marks were produced by the movement of the car, I didn’t add any of my own. I decided to complete this drawing with some simple charcoal shading. This worked quite well, but I think suffers from not being properly circular. This needn’t be an issue, but because it is almost a perfect circle, I think it stands out more by being slightly off. Adding a considered line to define the outside of the pens reach would have improved this and I don’t think would have detracted from the random effect in any way.

Final drawing:


Drawing Machine 2

In working on my parallel project, I have been surveying several grid squares for ash trees. Whilst doing this, I recorded the GPS tracks of my movement around those squares and the journey to and from them.

GPX tracks

My phone was the drawing machine in this case. I decided to create a rust print of image and play around with some of the ideas I have for my parallel project using these prints.

DM2 setup DM2 setup2

I printed two images on rough and smooth paper to then work on.

DM2 rust print1 DM2 rust print2


In my parallel project, I want to combine rust printing with burning and ink or watercolour, so I used these in this drawings also.

I started with the rough paper print:

RP1 Final

The burning worked fine when using a pyrography machine, but was too wide and didn’t go through the paper when a blow torch was used. The ink dots are too precise and stifled here.

On to the smooth paper print:

RP2 with ink

I stuck with the pyrography machine for the burning and this time wetted the paper first so the ink bloomed when dotted on the paper. This more random approach worked better.

I abandoned the rough paper print at this point and focussed on the smooth paper one. I was happy with what was there so far, but it had too big an area of white space and needed something more. I decided that a section of one of the surveyed maps would fit well in this space, so I drew this in with ink, charcoal and wash pencil.

RP2 Final

I was quite pleased with the final image and this is getting closer to what I want to investigate in combining random and precision drawing. It is also helping me to clarify the drawings I want to carry out for my parallel project. As a completed image I think it still lacks something to bring it all together, but until I work out what might do that, I will leave it there for now.

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