Tag Archives: drawing machines

The New ‘NeoLucida XL’ Camera Lucida Makes it Easier to Trace What You See 

Artist and SAIC professor Pablo Garcia (previously) has added an update to his previous take on the two century old Camera Lucida, an optical device that allows you to trace images and scenes directly from life. The new version, NeoLucida XL, is similar to its predecessor, however with a much larger viewfinder. The prism inside the updated analog device remains the same size, while the larger mirror and glass make it much easier to draw the projected “ghost image.” You can read more about the device on its Kickstarter page.

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A Life-Size Graphite Skeleton that Vibrates to Draw Itself into Nothingness 

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All images by Luke Abiol

Unlike the human body which is composed of only 18% carbon, Agelio Batle‘s latest project is produced from 100% of the semimetal material. The work, titled Ash Dancer, is a life-size skeleton that acts like a very large pencil. When placed on a custom made high-frequency vibrating table, the bones of the skeleton rub marks onto the surface, slowly creating an outline of its own form. The more the work rubs against the table, the more of itself is left behind, slowly transforming the graphite from sculpture to abstract drawings which Batle refers to as Ash Dances.

The piece is a part the exhibition “murmer | tremble” at Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco which opens November 5 and runs through December 29, 2016. You can see more work from Studio Batle on his website, and a number of his graphite objects are available in the Colossal Shop. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

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Draw Infinite Geometric Designs With the DuoGraph, a Compact New Drawing Machine by Joe Freedman 

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The DuoGraph is the latest drawing machine from inventor and designer Joe Freedman whose Cycloid Drawing Machine took the internet by storm a few months ago. His elaborate devices are capable of producing amazing geometric patterns akin to a Spirograph on steroids. This new creation is quite a bit simpler to setup and use, relying on 7 gears and a number of parameters that can be changed quickly to produce infinite designs. While the DuoGraph is a bit more limited in its level of customization, it’s capable of producing elaborate Lissajous patterns which the larger device cannot. Learn more about it on Kickstarter.

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Crank Out Infinite Geometric Designs With The Wooden Cycloid Drawing Machine 

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Cycloid Drawing Machine, all images provided by LEAFpdx

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Looking more like a vintage turn table than drawing device, the Cycloid Drawing Machine is inspired by drawing machines from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, long before the invention of the Spirograph. Although these early toys like the harmonograph also produced complex designs, they were limited in scope. The Cycloid Drawing adjusts this previous oversight by utilizing a moving fulcrum and providing several interchangeable gears to make the machine infinitely adjustable.

Like its ancestors, this drawing machine by LEAFpdx requires no electricity and has no motors. To start one of its complex drawings all you must do is crank it by hand. The set comes with the base, three geared turntables, 18 gears, colored pens and test paper to allow for a customized device. To watch the machine’s set-up and see it in action, watch the video posted below. (via My Modern Met)

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The NeoLucida is the First Portable Camera Lucida to be Manufactured in Nearly a Century 

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Years before the first photographic print and two centuries before Google Glass, was the Camera Lucida, a clever optical device designed by Sir William Hyde Wollaston that utilized a prism to project an image onto a piece of paper so you can trace it, a method that would transform life-drawing for nearly a century. Have you ever used one or seen for sale? Likely not. Your best chance would be scouring Ebay where antique Camera Lucidas sell for upwards of $300. Enter university professors Pablo Garcia (previously) from the Art Institute of Chicago and Golan Levin from Carnegie Mellon who have teamed up to design the NeoLucida, the first portable camera lucida in nearly a century.

So what’s the point? In the age of Google Glass, Oculus Rift, and Instagram who needs to sit down and draw what’s in front of them? The duo explains via Kickstarter:

We both have a lot of students who’ve come to believe that being able to draw photo-realistically is the most important thing. We both love realistic drawing, but not necessarily the way it’s usually taught—which often ignores the tightly-intertwined relationship between drawing and imaging technologies. In particular, art students are encouraged to draw photo-realistically, in the manner of the Old Masters, but without the proper tools for doing so. So we’re producing the NeoLucida as a provocation, not as a business, to help get this discussion started. We hope the NeoLucida will prompt new questions about the relationship of art and technology—and potentially even disrupt business-as-usual in the classroom. Most importantly, we genuinely believe that using a camera lucida will profoundly change how people see, how they draw, and how they think about art.

Lastly, is there really a demand for a simple $30 drawing device based on a little prism? The Kickstarter received pledges for almost 100 of them while I wrote this post. So there’s that.

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A Drawing Machine that Records the Chaos of Pinball 

From the pendulum-based drawing machine by Eske Rex to the art of Tim Knowles who attaches writing implements to trees, I love when the seemingly random lines of chaos (or maybe just physics) are rendered visible using ink or pencil. This latest project titled STYN by Netherlands-based graduate student Sam van Doorn is no exception. Using modified parts from an old pinball machine van Doorn created a one-of-a-kind drawing device that utilizes standard flippers to control a ink-covered sphere that moves across a temporary poster placed on the game surface. He suggets that skill then becomes a factor, as the better you are at pinball the more complex the drawing becomes. See much more on his website, here. My drawing would have a single line that goes between the flippers and then have TILT written all over it. (via lustik)

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