Spirographing. How That Spirograph is working Out

Colorful mint salmon and lemon spirograph.
I draw the spirograph patterns by pinning one wheel or shape to the board then spinning a circle gear with a pen.
I draw the spirograph patterns by pinning one wheel or shape to the board then spinning a circle gear with a pen.

I recently was gifted a spirograph, which I absolutely love. I like making the circles in each pattern, and watching the pattern appear. I have been using the circle wheels until my pen ran dry. I am going to experiment with pens. I want a nice dark line that applies smoothly and doesn’t puddle or spot (when the pen leaves white spots in its wake I have to fix it in Procreate). My pen did both but for what I had, its nib fit in the Spirograph discs so I used it anyways. Mine is vintage, and from the looks of the ugly bulky colored not clear plastic modern ones, I am very lucky to have it. I guess parents don’t want toys that come with dozens of tiny push pins. I don’t blame them; Jeremy has already punctured his thumb after picking up what he thought was a small green bead off the floor.

Here are the Rainbow spirograph shapes all together.
Here are the Rainbow spirograph shapes all together.

My Super Spirograph set comes with a little cardboard surface. I lay out my paper – I like more than one layer of paper so my pen doesn’t fall in a pin hole and puncture my paper. Then I pick the larger shape and pin it to the cardboard. This is the one the circle will spiral inside or around.

Now I can repeat these spirograph patterns i
Now I can repeat these spirograph patterns in any drawing I like.
Triangle Spirograph with an interesting darks on light transition. This is what happens if I don't clean up the contrast before making a brush.
Triangle Spirograph with an interesting darks on light transition. This is what happens if I don’t clean up the contrast before making a brush.

Then the circular wheel, with pen shaped holes spiraled around the disc. These are where the pen goes in and turn the gear. Its a little bit of a steampunk craft, with the little gears revolving around a shape and laying down a pattern.

The process reminds me of this drawing machine.

eske rex: drawing machine from designboom on Vimeo.

(edited to add: my friend Alan let me know my previous link was not working and adds, “Caveat: the device above is not recommended for small apartments or those with nervous cats…” Ha! 😀 )
Have you ever heard of the Spirograph nebula IC 418? It is so named because its patterns are complex and lovely, too.

The Spirograph nebula named after the toy phot from NASA.
The Spirograph nebula named after the toy phot from NASA.

Eske Rex: Drawing Machine from thisispaper on Vimeo.

Spirograph custom Procreate Brushes i created for my illustration work.
Spirograph custom Procreate Brushes i created for my illustration work.

I import the spirograph designs into my digital illustration app, ‘Procreate’ and edit away the texture of the paper. Then, I transform the drawing from pen and ink to black and white, suitable for creating custom brushes in Procreate.

Spirograph mandala creation.

Colorful mint salmon and lemon spirograph.
Colorful mint salmon and lemon spirograph design. Available on Light Love Art Etsy
Looped spirograph.
Looped spirograph design available on Light Love Art Etsy.

Author: Katana

Katana Leigh is a professional international artist with her paintings at home in Canada, the USA, Costa Rica, Australia, and more. Find her on Artist Katana Shop, Google! and Instagram

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