Plotter Art


I've been working with an Axidraw V3/A3 pen plotter since 2022 and have been experimenting with different ways of bringing my digital drawings to a machine drawn output. 

My process is primarily centered around first making meticulously detailed digital drawings on my iPad using Procreate. These drawings tend to take anywhere from 5 to 80 hours to complete and may take months to fully realize. I do not have much formal training or (frankly) skill in illustration or other forms of representational drawing, but I do know how to draw thousands of circles and lines and turn them into large unweildy forms. 

Once a drawing is considered complete, I do some post processing on it and cut it into layers. I then move those layers into Inkscape to convert them to centerline traced vector information that can then be drawn by the pen plotter as different sections or colors. These plotted drawings may then take anywhere from 30minutes to 12 hours to plot for a single color layer. 

My main controls for outputs after that are choices like:

  • Paper size, color and type
    • White, Black, Cardstock, etc
    • I'm primarily working with 12x18" cardstock right now. The maximum size I can get with a single plot is 11x17 but I can physically move the paper to get larger plots.
  • Pen choice
    • These have a wide ranging impact. I'm currently using a wide blend of Sakura Micron 005 or 003 blacks and grays for most white drawings, occaisionally Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, and then for black drawings Sakura Gelly Roll 06, 08 and 10 (Standard, Moonlight and Glaze) pens for more colorful things.
    • These have a huge impact on the level of detail I can get at certain scales
  • Time -
    • I can let an entire drawing proceed unconstrained while I'm not even in the room, or I can stop the plot at any point and change a pen at a random point. This allows me almost infinite variability in the output and also limited control on being able to even get close to recreating the same piece twice. Due to the somewhat blackbox behavior of how the plotter re-draws my drawings each time and optimizes its paths, I often don't know exactly how and when it will be drawing certain parts of the images.

I really enjoy the very slow rendering process of one of these pieces. I've been working with real-time video and software since 2005, so the slow and steady process of watching a plotter re-interpret my original drawings is really engaging. It feels like a very slow pixel shader that I can reach my hand into and re-direct the path of the entire piece.

Future explorations will be working with etching into other materials, more ink and pen combinations and other things. Larger scale is an easy one I want to play more with if I can get large enough paper and a space where I can reliably move the plotter on top of the paper. I'd like to get up to 4x the current size eventually. I'm really fascinated with the detail scale that I can render at. I'd love to get things as small as possible so that I can capture as much detail as possible of my original drawings, but pens have a lower bound in terms of how fine tipped they can be and how resilient they are to machine drawing. I also plan on exploring drawing with a laser or fiber optics onto materials like cyanotype paper and photochromic ink. 

Example Work:


These plotter drawings are for sale but I do not have an official shop or fulfillment system set up at the moment, so you may need to reach out directly (see my email address at the bottom of the page to reach out directly)

Selected Works

Pen Plotter WorkPersonal Projects

Circle DrawingsPersonal Project

Polarizer ArtworkPhysical artwork with linear polarizers

TV TelescopeWatching TV from a mile away

Extruded ScreenFiber optic filament display

You're on TVLive TV face swap

i miss you, neighborConnecting local strangers and friends

Self Destructive BehaviorScreen that slowly breaks itself

Hold TimePersonal photo blitz

Movie Stickers100,000 stickers in a room

7up | Music Lifts You UpCommercial Work

Google | Project Re:BriefCommercial Work

Shen Wei Dance ArtsArts Collaboration

Lexus | Trace Your RoadCommercial Work

IBM | Outthink Hidden ARCommercial Work

Samsung | Liquid CanvasCommercial Work

Other Professional WorkVarious Projects

Color A SoundAnalog/digital Instrument

Fake LoveFormer Experience Design Company

Sonic SculpturesPersonal Projects

street_crtPersonal Projects

Music VideosCollaborative video art

Older WorkPersonal Projects

Older Live Visuals WorkAudiovisual explorations 2006-2016