Bold Machines

Intro to Pen Plotters


In this online workshop, you will learn how to program machines, called pen plotters, to draw. This process gives you a great foundation to learn how to turn images into machine commands.

You don't need access to a pen plotter to take this class. You will learn how to create digital artwork on your own computer and submit the SVG file to the instructors who will plot your work and mail it to you at the end of class.

Students will walk away with deeper knowledge about the history of pen plotter machines and their use by artists. You will also learn how these machines work and how to create your own files to be drawn by plotters. We designed this to be a foundational course to continue your work with plotters or expand to other machines. Many people get their start with robotics and machine operation by learning the basics presented in this class.

In this class, you will learn:
- How to convert images into SVGs optimized for a pen plotter
- About pen plotting machines including the HP 7550 and the AxiDraw
- History of the Plotter Artist and Pioneer Vera Molnár
- Tools for generating SVGs
- How to work with paths and fills inside a SVG
- Next steps, additional project ideas and techniques to explore to build upon your knowledge like CMYK color separation by paths, converting images into SVGs, and working with text.

This is a remote class. Instruction will happen using for video conferencing and the Skill School learning platform. This class has a combination of instructor led and self-guided lessons. There are five lessons total, with three classes held online as a cohort and the remaining lessons can be done at your own pace over the week. Each self-guided lesson is designed to take less than 20 minutes to complete. The teacher will be available throughout the course to answer any questions you may have.

------ Class Schedule ------

Mon, Aug. 9th - 6~8 PM EST
- 1st class (intro, overview & group exercise 'Plotting a Selfie')

Mon, Aug. 16th - 6~8 PM EST
- 2nd class (review assignments, group exercise 'Turn an image into CMYK separated paths')

Mon, Aug. 23th - 6~8 PM EST
- 3rd class (review assignments, )

Mon, Aug. 30th - 6 PM EST **OPTIONAL**
- optional Affirmative Club with plotter friends (share work, share encouragement)