1. Create an automatic process that creates gestural abstractions using contour drawing techniques.
  2. Create a drawing collaborator that can improvise with a visual artist in real-time.


  1. Study how abstract drawings are made by artists. Research what has been written to describe how these types of drawings are created, observed and appreciated. Consider mark-making constraints. Devise a system that can autonomously quantify some of these observations to create an image.
  2. Watch how a drawing is being created by an artist and respond or react based on: location of drawing, type and character of lines used, overall composition (balance, attraction/ repulsion), etc.

By observing draftsmen at work, Tentacle has attempted to combine certain rule based habits (such as medium, line quality, material and dimensional constraints, to name a few) with compositional tendencies demonstrated by artists at work, to create a hybrid approach to algorithmic drawing.

Tentacle creates editions based on a set of controls (random/fixed/user defined) that affect variables in the code to produce unique outputs.  Each edition is composed of a series of aesthetically unique gestural abstractions that belong to the same set of instructions.

In the live drawing mode, these controls can be automatically adjusted based on the drawing produced by the collaborating artist. This allows for compositional improvisation between artist and machine, a unique and novel approach that has some conceptual links to musical improvisation.

Feature variations correspond to levers such as:

  • Line character/quality: linear or curved (and curve character: path type, spread, regularity, number of control points), length, color, thickness, etc.
  • Line quantity and connectivity (when to pick up the “pen”).
  • Attraction/repulsion regions (based on density, defined areas, and guided randomness).
  • Compositional balance (formal unity and harmony).
  • Improvisation with artist collaborator (live draw mode).