Stephen Bell | computer graphics at The Slade 1977-79


Making Shapes that were more appropriate to drawing

I felt that the shapes being drawn were inappropriate to the process. The drawings based on sculptures were drawings of something. I wanted them to be be pieces in themselves not of something else. I speculated that shapes derived from the kind of marks made when drawing would work better.

The first new 'shape' I came up with was based on cross-hatching. The 'hatch' shape consisted of seven parallel lines. Why seven lines ? I wanted there to be just too many lines to apprehend easily, but not so many that they could only be perceived as planes. The shapes were not chosen randomly, but their colour and orientation were.


I used the 'hatch' shape in several types of drawing. In one series I made the marks as small as would work with the mapping pens, layering one drawing over another. Using the cyan, magenta, and yellow pens a range of colours could be generated e.g. layering cyan and magenta led to blue. A drawing such as the one below would take about an hour for each colour. The coin in the image gives an idea of the scale.


One of the things I liked about these drawings was that they were drawn in perspective. No way would I have been able to make drawings like this by hand.

Part 4 | helices and brush pens

Part 2 | background | folding sculptures

Part 1 | introduction | the ranstak algorithm