Exercise: Instructional Drawings

Exercise 1: Blind Drawing

  • 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.
  • Discuss the results

Exercise 2: Drawing Algorithm

conditional drawings

1) Take a look at the videos and the materials on the conditional design website

2) Create a set of instructions able to generate an infinite set of different drawings.

3) Without showing the previous results ask three (or more) classmates to execute them. You are not allowed to communicate verbally during the execution.

4) Hang the drawings and discuss the results.


The surface has to be a standard letter sheet (8.5 by 11 inches). The tool should be a provided marker.

Your rules must contain an element of iteration. There should be “loops” in the execution that create repetition, seriality, fractal structures.

If there is repetition in the process you may have to devise an ending condition. You can verbally stop the execution, set up a timer, or prescribe a certain amount of iterations.

Your rules should be as specific as possible but also able to generate different results every time, so you should include at least one element of randomness or ambiguity.

Most importantly: the goal is to create a recipe for interesting drawings, not arbitrary doodles. Can you embed style and composition in a set of rules?

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