Instructional Drawings

A little analog exercise:

  • Divide students into pairs. Call one person of each pair X, the other Y.
  • X students get drawing 1.
  • Y students get drawing 2.
  • Distribute blank paper and pens if necessary.
  • Pairs sit back to back without looking at the other’s drawing
  • X student describes his drawing to Y; Y tries to draw it from his instructions.
  • Switch at a reasonable time.
  • Y student describes her drawing to X; X tries to draw it from her instructions.
  • Pin up the drawings at the end, so people can see. Group by X/Y.


This image is procedurally generated (Click to zoom):

1) Analyze it and try to “reverse engineer” the algorithm that produces similar images (only the lines, colors are not important). Describe the process using the minimum amount of clear, non ambiguous instructions.

2) Give the instructions to a person who has not seen the image and ask him/her to “execute” the process using a pen or pencil and a ruler, without giving him/her additional feedback – like in the exercise we did in class.

3) Post your instructions on the blog, along with a picture/scan of the results.

Warning: I don’t want exactly the same image line by line, but a universal set of instructions that can produce infinite variations of the pattern.
Here’s another image produced by the same algorithm:

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