A Tireless Hand

A Tireless Hand

I've been using a pen plotter to draw with lately. I like drawing but often feel like the thing I end up with is… right, now what? I wanted something I can reuse, redraw, change, but without the boring bit of redoing it. Hard work is all very well, but redoing and repeating things feels like drudgery. I am not into that.

Ivy, drips and a fallen cherry leaf drawn on A2 paper

I wanted to draw in a 'natural' way, but have a recording of me drawing it that the pen plotter can redo any time I want. I have an iPad Mini and Apple Pencil, and use Affinity Designer for lots of other stuff, it has a vector pencil tool and will just get out of the way and let me draw. So I tried that, and it's brilliant! The only set up I need to do is set the vector pencil stroke to be the same thickness as the pen I'm going to use in the plotter, that way I can get the 'feel' of the drawing as I do it. On the 'drips' drawing, the iPad was seriously struggling, so I had to draw parts of the image separately and combine them at the end.

The huge advantage here, other than reproducibility, is that it saves me from smudging the drawing with my big sweaty hands (charming image, right). It doesn't quite save me from hand cramps though (ouch) but I only need to suffer from those once per drawing. The machine can keep going tirelessly as long as the ink lasts.

One other advantage, I was using Rotring isograph pens (because they're refillable and last ages) but whenever I try using those by hand I can't keep them upright enough and scratch the paper too much. Not a nice feeling or aesthetic. There is a bit of scratchyness on some of the denser areas, but nothing too serious.

All in all, I'm pleased with it. I feel inspired to do more.