Admittedly, collaboration is perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when using a drawing machine. The second prompt for the November 2023 Plot Party tackles using a drawing machine collaboratively. How have plotter artists collaborated when making pen plot art?
If you are thinking of picking up an AxiDraw pen plotter, you can 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!
Collaborating with Fellow Artists
Joel Cammarata and Adrian Hanft
Joel Cammarata appreciates being open when collaborating with a fellow artist and recommends not starting with any preconceived plan. Joel collaborated with Adrian Hanft to create these striking pieces plotted on thermal paper provided by Adrian. Joel was initially worried about the ink adhering to the sticker surface!
The best is when you’re surprised by the results and it opens a whole new avenue you never would have thought of.Joel Cammarata
Joel also doesn’t shy away from creating pen plots on experimental papers such as this pen plot on ledger paper, another collaboration of sorts.
For the next Plot Party, Joel will be trading source files with another plotter artist!
Liz Melchor and Daniela Kroehnert
Daniela creates striking stippled butterfly pen plots and sent this stippled butterfly to Liz Melchor in response to the “symmetry” prompt for Plot Party.
Liz then painted on half of the butterfly with the drawing machine but finished the painting by hand.
Liz states while the collaboration process was perhaps disorganized, it was relaxed, fun and recommends to “bring your own vibe.”
Diana and Ludo Pain
While Diana hasn’t done many collaborations yet, Diana found the process fun especially since Ludo is a “creative jack-of-all-trades.”
Michelle Chandra and John Proudlock
Michelle sent a photo to John who generated a line drawing from the photo using a custom generative program. Michelle then asked for a “glitchy” version of the portrait to create a colorful interpretation of the original generative art with the pen plotter.
Collaborating with the Drawing Machine
Jens Clarholm has an entirely different take on collaboration – instead directly collaborating with the drawing machine by adding ink and experimenting with different tools during the process to change the direction of the final piece.
Jens recommends reserving judgement during this process and seeing it through in its entirety.
Never give up, always finish every piece. The paper is used anyway the second the ink touches it so you might as well make the best of it. Some of the pieces I like the most now were pieces like that. Where the vision I had for the piece was one thing but what I ended up with was something completely different but better.Jens Clarholm
To create gradients, Jens starts with light colors before moving to darker shades. As the process can use a lot of ink, Jens recommends 300g watercolor paper and experimenting with different tools (including more conventional tools like pipettes and less conventional such as marbles!) and even goes as far as to create custom ink dispensers with a 3D printer.
Lastly, Jens reuses failed plots as greeting card and thank you cards!
Images in this post were used with permission byJoel Cammarata (IG: @j.cammarata.art), Liz Melchor (IG: @i.draw.monkeys), Daniela Kröhnert (IG: @daniela_kroehnert) , Diana (@di_diff_world), Michelle Chandra (IG: @dirtalleydesign), and Jens Clarholm (IG: @jenslabsbuilds).
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 Instagram @dirtalleydesign. Michelle organizes Plot Party, a pen plotting prompt challenge hosted via Instagram @penplotart that takes place 2-3 times a year.