Prompts for Sketch 1

The task for your first sketch is to engage with one of the pictures or pages of any of the following three inspirational masterworks of Bauhaus line-drawing pedagogy: Pedagogical Sketchbook, Paul Klee, The Thinking Eye / The Paul Klee Notebooks Vol 1, Paul Klee or Point and Line to Plane, Wassily Kandinsky. A great many of these pages (especially in the Klee) could serve as a call to action. Your sketch should be executed in code. The goal of this exercise is to have you experience crossing the threshold of the unexpected while building computation.

This will likely proceed as follows:

  1. having a idea (based on a page),
  2. figuring out how you might tell the computer what that idea is,
  3. incrementally expressing that idea and refining it,
  4. getting lost,
  5. finding the moment when something unexpected, unforeseen and perhaps unforeseeable occurs.

At this point, you can play freely with your system’s parameters, and sketch the potential of the system that you have built.

There is some flexibility as to how you evidence this passage: I recommend screenshots, notes and, ultimately, handing some code in for us to look at together in class. This is an experimental class about experimental art — there are marks for effort, reflection, growth and being the first to report problems.

This sketch is due Sunday (Jan 21) evening, although I recommend getting over any boring technical problems well in advance of that.

The examples below (which can be downloaded into Field from its current welcome screen) should be useful both to get you started and to serve as a kind of documentation of sorts for Field’s 2d drawing system. Logan 003 will be ours on Friday mornings, there are office hours on Wednesday mornings, and, finally, there’s always my email address:

“An active line on a walk…”

Pedagogical Sketchbook, Paul Klee, pg. 16

Link for Field, Browser

// clear everything this box has drawn

// set the background color to something more useful
_.window.background = vec(0.5, 0.5, 0.5)

// build an input shape
var inputShape = new FLine()
	.polarCubicTo(1,100, 2,36.12, 100,100)
	.polarCubicTo(3,53.17,1, 60, 300,200)

// let's give it some thickness
inputShape.nodes[0].tL=1.0 // start thin
inputShape.nodes[1].tL=10.0 // thicker in the middle
inputShape.nodes[2].tL=1.0 // then thin at the end again

// make it editable by the mouse
inputShape.tweaky = true

// draw it
_.lines.inputShape = inputShape

// apply any edits

// inputShape is now the potentially edited version

// thicken it to draw it
thickened = inputShape.byThickening(1)

// translucent fill
_.lines.thickened = thickened

// we are going to traverse this shape (a circle) repeatedly
// while traversing 'inputShape'
var modulationShape = new FLine().circle(0,0,30)

// two lines come out of this
var wiggled = new FLine()

// hair is for decoration
var hair = new FLine()

// 'a' will go from 0 to 1 in 50 steps
for(var a of Anim.lineRange(0,1,54))
	// the inputShape gives the position
	var position = inputShape.sampleAt(a)
	// and the modulation shape the offset
	// %1 means to 'wrap around' at 1
	// we'll go around the circle 20 times
	var direction = modulationShape.sampleAt((a*20)%1)

	// draw the new position
	// with varying thickness
	// and also decorate this

// do the thickening
var w = wiggled.byThickening(5)

_.lines.wiggled = w = hair

Some points of departure

  1. Other modulation shapes
  2. Other ways of thickening
  3. Other versions of ‘hair’
  4. Scale ‘direction’ by something gestural
  5. Turn this into an animation with _.wait() and _.redraw()
  6. See if you can build pg. 18, figure 6 with a similar approach

“exotropic treatment”

The Thinking Eye, Paul Klee, pg. 52

Link for Field, Browser


// first we need a shape that we are going to draw around
// we'll start with a square
var controlShape = new FLine().rect(50,50,500,500)

// but we want this square to be editable with the mouse
controlShape.tweaky = true
controlShape.color = [1,1,1,0.1]
controlShape.filled = true

// we'll add it to the screen
_.lines.controlShape = controlShape

// and give field an opportunity to edit it

// now we want to inspect some aspects of this line. For this
// we use a 'cursor'.
var cursor = controlShape.cursor()

// this is the line that we'll add our hatching instructions to
var hatch = new FLine()

// draw them translucent black
hatch.color = vec(0,0,0,0.2)

// draw 'hatch' as well
_.lines.hatch = hatch

for(var i=0;i<10000;i++)
	// move the cursor to a random spot along the line
	// find the 'normal' to the line (a line that points away from it)
	var normal = cursor.normal2()
	// apply noise to the normal	

	// draw a line the starts on controlShape and moves away from it

Some points of departure

  1. Endotropic – turn this code into something that points inwards rather than outwards.
  2. Shape – try a different control shape.
  3. Process – edit this code so that it draws the process as it unfolds (use _.wait() and _.redraw()).
  4. Noise – modify the distribution of noise along the line.

“…the pull from outside in”

The Thinking Eye, Paul Klee, pg. 28 (but see also pg. 48)

Field, Browser

// clear everything that has been drawn so far

// lighten the background a bit so we can see things
_.window.background = vec(0.5, 0.5, 0.5)

// this declares a new function called 'drawCell' that takes
// two parameters 'x, y'
var drawCell = (x,y) => {

    // come up with a random direction
	var dir = vec(0,0).noise(1).normalize()
	if (dir.x<0) dir.x = dir.x*-1
	if (dir.y<0) dir.y = dir.y*-1

    // and the vector perpendicular to this direction
	var perp = vec(dir.y, -dir.x)

	var f = new FLine()

    // draw 100 lines in direction 'dir'
    // while moving in direction 'perp'
	var at = vec(0,0)
	for(var i=0;i<100;i++)

        // randomly head in direction 'perp'
		at = at + perp*i*0.2*Math.random()	

    // crop to a square in the right spot
	var crop = new FLine().rect(50,-50,50,50)
	crop.color = vec(0,0,0,0.3)
    // translate it to be at x,y
	_.lines.add((crop + vec(x,y) -vec(50,-50)) *scale(0.98, vec(x,y)))

    // you can only intersect things that have an area
    // let's make these really thin lines
	f = f.byThickening(0.1)

    // intersect crop with the line f
	f = f * crop
	f.color = vec(0,0,0,0.3)
	_.lines.add((f + vec(x,y) -vec(50,-50)) * scale(0.98, vec(x,y)))

// draw a 10 by 10 grid
for(var x=0;x<10;x++)
	for(var y=0;y<10;y++)

        // if we are close to the middle of the grid (5,5) draw many more
		while (Math.random()>(5+ (x-5)*(x-5) + (y-5)*(y-5) )/50)

Some points of departure

  1. Constrain — the angles differently, right now there are random?

  2. Distribute — modify the distribution of over-strokes.

  3. Animate — Build a drawing animation with _.redraw() and _.wait()

  4. Disorder — Do something other than a grid.

“…progressively spatial…”

The Thinking Eye, Paul Klee, pg. 31

Field, Browser

// clear all lines associated with this box

// a better background color
_.window.background = vec(0.5, 0.5, 0.5)

// again, the 'input' to this process is a shape
var controlShape = new FLine().rect(10,10,500,500)

// which we can edit with the mouse
controlShape.tweaky = true

// translucent white
controlShape.color = vec(1,1,1,0.25)
controlShape.thicken = 1
_.lines.controlShape = controlShape

// make it editable

// at this point controlShape might no longer be a rectangle, after some edits

// build a list of 'spans' (diagonals between control points)
var spans = []
for(var i=0;i<controlShape.nodes.size()-3;i++)
	var a = controlShape.nodes[i].to
	var b = controlShape.nodes[i+2].to
	var span = new FLine().moveTo(a).lineTo(b)
	span.color = vec(0,0,0,1)
	// draw the spans as well	

// defines a function that build's a tour of the spans
tour = (along) => {
	var f = new FLine()
	// we do the spans once
	for(var i=0;i<spans.length;i++) {
		var at = spans[i].sampleAt(along)		
		// we wobble where we are sampling the span a little
		along += (Math.random()-0.5)*0.05
	// and then do the 'other side'
	for(var i=0;i<spans.length;i++) {
		var at = spans[i].sampleAt(1-along)		

		// we wobble where we are sampling the span a little
		along += (Math.random()-0.5)*0.05
	// connect with the start of the line again
	f.color = vec(0,0,0,0.5)

	// and draw it

// draw 100 tours starting at 0 and ending at 0.5
for(var x of Anim.lineRange(0, 0.5, 100))

Some points of departure

  1. shape — try a different input shape
  2. randomize — every ‘Math.random()’ marks a random distribution that might be worth manipulating
  3. decorate — the tours further: build a reason to ‘curveTo’ rather than ‘lineTo’
  4. animate — turn this into an animation with _.wait() and _.redraw()

“…as determined by the tool used to make it…”

Point and Line to Plane, Kandinsky, pg. 50-1

Field, Browser

// clear all the lines in this box

// we are going to draw to 'FLine' -- one with lots of points
var points = new FLine()

// and some 'decorative' connective lines
var littleLines = new FLine()

points.color = vec(0,0,0,0.4)

_.lines.points = points
_.lines.little = littleLines

// we'll do 5000 clusters
for(var i=0;i<5000;i++)
	// pick a point that's in a square from -1 to 1
	var dir = vec(0,0).noise(1)
	// if it isn't inside a circle, reject it
	if (dir.length()>1) continue
	// choose this as our point (a circle radius 300, centered on 500,500)
	var point = vec(500,500) + dir*300
	// draw 10 points for each cluster
	for(var m=0;m<10;m++)
		// draw little clusters of 'radius' 4 around 'point'
		var dir2 = vec(0,0).noise(4)

Some points of departure

  1. Animate the process. With _.redraw() and _.wait()
  2. Modify the ‘decoration’ (littleLines)
  3. Splotch along a line (perhaps towards pg. 105)