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Pet Portrait Art - Experimenting with the SquiggleCam App

Posted by Michelle Chandra on

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Take 10% off an AxiDraw pen plotter and accessories with discount code DIRTALLEY10 when you buy from Evil Mad Scientist, the makers of the AxiDraw!

Not surprisingly, once shelter in place began here in California, my creative drive suffered a bit. To get back into making generative art, I decided to make pet portraits with my AxiDraw pen plotter  of my new kitty, adopted in late January (fortuitous timing!) Here is Paneer at just 6 months old.

I started with a close up photo of Paneer, and converted it to line artwork using Maks Surguy's SquiggleCam app.

pet portrait drawn with axidraw squiggle art created using squiggle app

This portrait was drawn by my AxiDraw pen plotter using a black Copic drawing pen, which is a disposable fountain pen. Very nifty for getting line thickness variation, without having to deal with swapping out ink cartridges and ink nibs of a traditional fountain pen. Although, if you would rather just use a fountain pen, I highly recommend Lamy Safari Fountain pens (the Extra Fine Nib or Fine Nib play nice with the Axidraw pen plotter!)

How Did I Create this Line Drawing?

To create this line drawing, I used Maks Surguy's SquiggleCam app, which converts any photo to squiggle line art. Here are the settings I used to generate the above portrait.

squiggle app by maks surguy

I highly recommend playing with both the image brightness and contrast settings, in tandem with the squiggle line settings. 

Here is another version of the pet portrait! This time drawn with a LePen Marvy Uchida Fine Line Marker in oriental blue!

pet portrait drawn with axidraw pen plotter, squiggle art from photo

I had so much fun making these pet portraits, I ended up offering to make pet portrait postcards for any of my Instagram followers who felt like receiving some snail mail while sheltering in place.

pet portrait postcards drawn with an axidraw pen plotter squiggle art

Needless to say, looking at photos of adorb pups and kitties was a much needed serotonin boost! The teal portraits were drawn using a Sakura Micron PN pen in Blue/Black.
 pet portrait art made with axidraw pen plotter and squiggle app, line art generated from photo

The above portrait of my older lady cat, Tigerlily, was drawn with a Sakura Micron PN Pen in Burgundy! I also couldn't resist a little portrait of my partner and I drawn using a Staedtler pigment liner.

portrait art drawn using axidraw pen plotter vector line art generated from photo

And one more, for good measure!

portrait line art drawn with axidraw pen plotter, line art from photo using squigglecam app

If you end up using the app, let me know but also let Maks know! You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @dirtalleydesign.

New to plotting?! Need a pen plotter!? Take 10% off an AxiDraw pen plotter and accessories with discount code DIRTALLEY10 when you buy directly from Evil Mad Scientist, the makers of the AxiDraw!

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But what if you want to learn more?! Check out these additional blog posts:

michelle chandra dirt alley design


Dirt Alley Design was founded just off a dirt alley in San Francisco in December of 2016 by artist Michelle Chandra. Inspired by the beauty of street grids, Michelle invented maze maps in which she transforms street grids into mazes. In 2019, she began a new project - generative prints created with code and drawn with a pen plotter. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @dirtalleydesign where she posts new spirograph designs daily.


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