Project : Generative Drawing


You will create generative visual art using three different digital tools:, EscherSketch, and Context Free Art.

Project due Monday, September 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm.


  • Explore the three digital tools. Have fun, play, don’t be afraid to try things or to make mistakes!

    • Dr. Yorgey will demonstrate in class.

    • Dr. Yorgey will also introduce Context Free Art in class.

      • You should save two files for each Context Free Art piece.

        • You can save the code (a .cfdg file) by going to the “File” menu and selecting “Save As…”.

        • You can save an image by clicking the button labelled “Save Output” (Mac) or clicking on the little downward-pointing triangle next to the “Render” button and choosing “Save Output” (Windows).

    • For EscherSketch, you are on your own, and this is intentional! You will probably be confused and overwhelmed by the interface, and you probably won’t figure out what all the options do. That’s OK! Take a deep breath, play, experiment, and be prepared for some surprising results.

      • Note that to save images from EscherSketch, use the controls in the very bottom left corner, which look like this:

        Click the “Picture” button to save the current image as a .png file.

  • You should create at least three different images using each tool, for a total of nine images. (You can submit more than nine images if you wish.)

  • The images should be substantially different, that is, you should not submit images which are just slight variations of each other.

  • Your images must exhibit some complexity and/or generativity. A good rule of thumb is that your images should be such that they would be very difficult or tedious to produce by hand. For example, you should not use to make an image consisting of just a square next to a circle, because you could easily have drawn that by hand.

  • Note, however, that your images do not necessarily have to be complicated; simple images can still be generative. As one example, an image consisting of 300 parallel horizontal lines is very simple, but would be tedious to draw by hand.


After creating your images, you should write 1-2 paragraphs reflecting on your process of creativity and discovery. For example, you might consider questions such as:

  • To what extent did you feel that you were in control of the process? Did it make you feel excited? Anxious? Curious? Contemplative? etc.?
  • Which part of the process surprised you? What went better than you expected, or worse than you expected?
  • Which image is your favorite, and why?

Your reflection does not need to answer all the above questions, and you could also answer other, related questions instead. These are just example prompts to get you thinking. You will not be graded on things like grammar, punctuation, etc. (although writing well is always a goal worth striving for); I simply want to see evidence of thoughtful reflection.


You should turn in:

  • Your images: .png or .jpg files (or something similar), at least three for each tool.
  • For the images generated using Context Free Art, you should also submit the Context Free Art programs (.cfdg files) you wrote to generate them.
  • Your reflection, as a PDF file.
    • Most text editors (Word, Pages, etc.) support an option to “Export to PDF”, usually in the File menu. If you need help with this step, just ask!

Note, that is a total of (at least) 13 files (9 images + 3 .cfdg files + 1 .pdf reflection). You can submit your project via this DropBox link.

Remember to take advantage of rolling submissions: turn in your project any time before the deadline to get feedback, revise, and resubmit!