Crows: Processing Code

Using Processing Code to Develop Types of Line

The nature of art has always been influenced by the tools we have available to make marks. While studying an online Creative Coding Course via Future Learn ( I was introduced to and P5.js.  This is a software sketchbook, a programming language interface designed for creative practitioners, who want their primary focus to be the visual product, whilst providing the opportunity to explore the code and it’s potential. The code I used for the crow drawings started with a small demonstration piece that was provided as part of the course.


Drawing done using the initial code provided on Future Learn course

I made a number of adjustments to the Code to manipulate the form and quality of the line. Using the Code to define the quality of the line, prior to using the line to represent the object gave the opportunity to investigate the potential of the line. I describe this as code mediated gestural line, but more of this later.

I then made modifications to the Code to enable it to run on an android tablet and allowing a more direct gestural production of the line using a stylus.


Experimental line drawing was done 1st December part of initial drawings


Crows are inquisitive, social, intelligent bird with a distinctive raucous cry, and are often associated with death because of their black feathers. The blackness of their feathers comes with an iridescent sense of blue with flashes of deep, blood red.  I looked for a line quality that contained all of these elements.  The spray effect of the line spoke to me of the quality of a crow’s feather and enhanced the representation of the motion and filaments of colour.  In effect, I manipulated the line quality until it provided an abstract concept of a crow.


Code Mediated Gestural Line Crow Form


The first quality you want of a mark is its ability to create a recognisable representation of a subject. While the abstract quality of the line may communicate a sense of crow it also detracts from the ease with which it can be used to produce a representation. These drawings describe not just the shape of a crow in flight, but the tension between the different functions of the line.

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