Drawing Machines: A Simple Machine

My first mechanism.

Throughout the semester we have been testing multiple mechanisms for drawing machines. We have talked about linkages and what they do. I personally have really been enjoying working with drawing machines and coming up with different mechanisms and then being able to test them out. Going into this, I was worried that I would know what to create and how to make. But throughout I have learned that there is no “right way” to design a drawing machine, you just create it off the top of your head and the machine will do what it wants. I have also enjoyed creating machines and then being able to come up with ideas for the next one. Being able to fix mistakes or give the machine more control which is something that I struggled with a bit. Allowing the machine to take control and draw what it wants was my goal after creating my first drawing machine, where I thought I had too much control.


We have had readings on drawing machines and one of people we have been focusing on is Andreas Broekman. Broekman talks about how the artist is able to work with “such raw and heavy-duty stuff, the wonderment of the visitors bring the granulated machine landscape to life” (Broekman, pg. 5-6). He also talks about how the contemporary understanding of what a machine is, is very diverse which I found to be true. I think and I believe Broekman would back this up, is that there are endless ways to construct a drawing machine. We also been studying linkages and what they do. Linkages have a up/down and forward/back movement to them. In our reading on linkages, it describes them as “a connection that transfers motion from one mechanical component to another.” Not only linkages, but we have also been working with fixed points and drivers and how to construct those onto a drawing machine.

I think that drawing machines are an expressive medium because they can do whatever you want them to do and have freedom to do whatever. You can decide what parts you want to include in your drawing machine in order to make it an expressive medium. I think that drawing machines are expressive because they can convey feelings or thoughts that the artist might have, and want to portray to the viewer. I had a lot of fun testing different mechanism out and reading about the different parts and what their function is. Overall I enjoyed using drawing machines as a medium because it forced me to go outside my box and try new forms of art I had never tried before. 

I am excited to start our next project and come up with an idea and just test it out. And that’s what I love about drawing machines, there is no right or wrong way of constructing them.