Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

Algorithmically-generated CMYK line portraits

Watch more with these video collections:

An AxiDraw v3 holds a cyan color pen. As the machine draws a single, continuous line, an image is revealed. Magenta, yellow, and black pens are added one-by-one, each creating a layer of color. The completed pieces are CMYK portraits, algorithmically-generated with code by software engineer and visual & generative artist Samer Dabra of Spongenuity.com.

Dabra’s creative coding with the AxiDraw began with fluid random movement experiments, and evolved into abstracted line drawings within just a few months. He also tweaks the algorithm for each portrait, providing an ‘artist’s eye’ within the code.


Spongenuity portraits appeared on Instagram in August 2018. CMYK experiments followed in early September. In an email exchange, Dabra explains, “I like to move between different skin tones. I love seeing how the same 4 colours manage to create the diverging outcomes.”


Dabra has been creative coding for about two years. He notes, “I’m self taught and I’m learning as I go. If you’re interested in creative coding, there’s nothing stopping you from starting now.”

See more drawing machine videos on this site including Eske Rex, Eggstatic, PancakeBot, and this 18th-century automaton.

Plus: A time lapse of Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing 797, Ballet Rotoscope, and two professors sculpting each other in less than ten minutes.

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Unendurable line – Design Ah!

Rion Nakaya

The Red Thread (赤い糸): A single line tells a story

Rion Nakaya

Robert Howsare’s Drawing Apparatus

Rion Nakaya

JK Brickworks’ LEGO Drawing Machine

Rion Nakaya

Howard Lee’s hyperrealistic drawing illusions

Rion Nakaya

The Egg Wizard, a DIY LEGO and cardboard egg-decorating machine

Rion Nakaya

A time lapse of Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing 797

Rion Nakaya

The Writer, a drawing machine automaton by Pierre Jaquet-Droz

Rion Nakaya

Colossus – A time lapse ink drawing of New York City’s skyline

Rion Nakaya