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The second ever Plot Party is around the corner (Nov 8-12), and the first prompt for the five day pen plot art challenge is “weather!” Question is, what kind of pen plots can you make that might relate to the theme of weather?

plot party by michelle chandra

Local Weather as Art

If you are in need of local inspiration, you can use the actual literal weather, for starters! Daniela Krohnert did just that at the first ever Plot Party (held last July) by leaving out a sheet of paper for a few minutes during a Viennese summer rainstorm.

Work by Daniela Krohnert (also @daniela_kroehnert on IG!)

The paper dried curled, and created an uneven texture when plotting 42 straight lines with a Faber Castell Artist Pitt Pen with a soft brush tip.

Work by Daniela Krohnert (also @daniela_kroehnert on IG!)

This direction could also work for the multiple line widths prompt for Day 2 of Plot Party!

Work by Daniela Krohnert (also @daniela_kroehnert on IG!)

Weather Motifs – Clouds, Winds, Waves

Besides using your local weather, there are many classic graphic design visuals that come to mind with weather, from clouds to waves to wind. Clouds are definitely a pen plotting favorite, such as this mega pen plot by Jimmy Kirkus-Lamont.

Cloud pen plot by Jimmy Kirkus-Lamont (also on Instagram @jimmykl)

This pen plot was also created during the last Plot Party, and involved carefully moving and registering of the design so as to create a bigger pen plot than the AxiDraw pen plotting space normally allows for!

Cloud pen plot by Jimmy Kirkus-Lamont (also on Instagram @jimmykl)

Jimmy created this work by processing a landscape photo using vpype (Python!) and the flow-imager technique which will produce vector lines for pen plot artwork.

This pen plot is available for sale online along with more info on how it was created. Plotted with a white Uni-ball Signo pen (1mm).

Cloud pen plot by Jimmy Kirkus-Lamont (also on Instagram @jimmykl)

Waves is another weather related motif that could definitely work, such as this work by Marinus de Beer.

Work by Marinus de Beer (also on Instagram @themarinus)

Marinus processed this popular wave artwork by Debussy (‘La mer’) with a custom hatching algorithm to turn the image into vector art.

Work by Marinus de Beer (also on Instagram @themarinus)

Plotted with a bright cyan ink and a Rotring Rapidograph technical pen (0.25mm!)

Mixed Media Work: Photos and Pen Plotting

Don’t have a design that says weather in mind?!

Work by Howard Gould (on Instagram @howardgould)

You can also invoke the atmosphere by plotting on a sky heavy landscape photograph like the mixed media work of Howard Gould.

Work by Howard Gould (on Instagram @howardgould)

Keep in mind that you may need to test plotting on different photo papers and different pens to make sure your pen plot will dry properly!

Work by Howard Gould (on Instagram @howardgould)

Abstract Weather Art

You can also more abstractly reference a feeling of wind similar to the colorful flowing work by Jeff and Evan also known as 90 Percent Art.

Work by 90 Percent Art (also on Instagram @90percentart)

Plotted using cyan, magenta and yellow Stabilo Point 88 fineliners (where these inks overlaps results in additional colors!), made with P5.js.

Work by 90 Percent Art (also on Instagram @90percentart)

Math as Weather Art

Nothing says weather more than designs that invoke the processes of wind that shape natural landscapes (or water!) especially waveforms. Such as this sine wave plot by Vernon Miller that maps lines to a sine wave whose amplitude, frequency, and phase fall to zero as the lines progress upwards.

Example artwork by Vernon Miller (@aldernero on Instagram)

The final design definitely gives a feeling of receding waves!

Plot Party: Weather Prompt Ideas Recap

  • Use your local weather: sunlight (think cyanotype prints), rain (a la Danieal Kroehnert), snow, etc.
  • Reference classic graphic design visuals that we associate with weather such as clouds, wind or waves
  • Create a line drawing from an atmospheric photo or incorporate photographic work into your pen plot art
  • Explore natural processes related to wind such as flow fields, or waveform art
  • Incorporate weather related data in generating a design (i.e. data art!)

Images in this post were used with permission by Daniela Krohnert (@daniela_kroehnert), Jimmy Kirkus-Lamont (@jimmykl), Marinus de Beer (@themarinus), Howard Gould (@howardgould), 90 Percent Art (@90percentart), and Vernon Miller (@aldernero).

New to pen plotting?! Interested in making your own pen plot art?! Take 10% off an AxiDraw pen plotter and accessories with discount code DIRTALLEY10 when you buy directly from Evil Mad Scientist, the makers of the AxiDraw!

About the Author

Michelle Chandra studied art, design and code at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. Her work has been featured in many publications including Gizmodo, the Washington Post and Engadget. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @dirtalleydesign.