Art and science seem like two completely different worlds but sometimes they merge, swirl and produce something remarkable. Early after the development of the modern computers artist such as Georg Nees and Frieder Nake used computers and plotters to draw complex and fascinating figures.


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Now scientists develop machines that can paint with real paint and brushes.

I am one of the people trying to live in both worlds. I am a scientist but I also have a small artist in my heart. I wanted to go back to the roots of the first drawing machines and so I started to develop algorithms for simple plotters. Plotters that can only draw with a simple pen. That means I have only one color and I can not change the line width. Not too much to work with… But after a while I came to love the simplicity and elegance of a simple line, this is why I call my project LinesLab.

Here are some tiny portraits made by my plotter bot Karel. I wanted to explore the boundaries of my algorithms and test how small the drawings can be. Each portrait is only 4×4 cm big and they are drawn with a similar pen as shown in the photo. The drawings consist of thousands and thousands of small lines. Even though the portraits are so small, Karel still needs 1 hour to finish each, and he is drawing two lines per second.

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All tiny portraits together

A tiny portrait of Ernest Hemingway

On a close up one can see the texture made by the pen

Hitchcock

Look at the texture generated in the dark areas

Tiny portrait of Kaya Scodelario

Another close up

A screaming girl

A historic photo of an old man

Comparison of the input image, a drawing simulation and the real drawing

Comparison for Hitchcock

Comparison for Kaya Scodelari

Comparison for the screaming girl

Comparison for the old man

All tiny portraits together