Documentation for Twitch-A-Sketch


Andrew Imecs, Dylan Didiano, Raymond Chen, Raphael Angoluan, Tyler Palef

Artist’s Statement

We are inspired by generative art, especially in the scope of a large computer network. The premise of the Twitch-A-Sketch is capturing the already difficult single player task of drawing on an Etch-A-Sketch and translating that experience to the online sphere using a streaming network. Through creating the online network we have successfully turned the single player experience into a multiplayer game, making the art process even more chaotic. Our piece is presented in an installation that models the Etch-A-Sketch toy, and the screen is projected to capture the stream in real-time to show the updates users make. To make the experience a social one, we set up laptops that are already connected to the stream in an effort to encourage participation. Finally, we hope to transform a real life object into an online-networked experience that generates art. The Twitch-A-Sketch is a generative art piece due to its three fundamental rules. The first rule is all the inputs are sent through the network, and the Twitch-A-Sketch will not draw without them. The second rule is enforced that a single person cannot input multiple commands before another player also gets to control the Twitch-A-Sketch. Lastly, our final rule is the board wipes every hour to be inclusive and encourage creativity! In conclusion, we hope the class and Twitch users can have a fun experience creating art.

Connected to Class

Lastly, we believe this installation work to be generative art. Philip Galanter’s article, What is Generative Art? Complexity Theory as a Context for Art Theory defined Generative art as, “any art practice where the artist uses a system, such as a set of natural language rules, a computer program, a machine, or other procedural invention, which is set into motion with some degree of autonomy contributing to or resulting in a completed work of art” (Galanter). Our work illustrates this definition as we have a set of rules in our piece. The first rule is, users must make a command for the Etch a Sketch to draw. The second rule is, the same user cannot make more than one command before another participant, we enforce this with the 30 second cool down between a single person giving commands. The third rule is the canvas is cleared every hour to ensure there is a chance for new drawings. Furthermore, the commands are all sent through an Internet network and translated in computer programs ensuring all the drawing is automated. A direct inspiration for this piece is Andres’ The Robot Quartet as it also used robots to create drawings with sharpies, and the outcome of the piece was unknown.

Furthermore, as previously stated, a direct inspiration for our work is Andres’ The Robot Quartet. Andres also focused on drawing machines, and the work was a test to see an outcome. We plan to explore a similar concept for our project. The Twitch-A-Sketch will be controlled through the audience and their commands. In conclusion, the goal for the audience should be to collaborate with each other, both those in the classroom and online and create an art piece that has meaning. Another influence for our project was Ping. Ping was an installation piece at the TIFF Lightbox, created by New Media students Julian Dubrawski, Finlay McEwan, and Christopher Young. The Ping project allowed the audience to be in complete control of the piece and made a fun, memorable and interactive experience for the users. Our goal is to capture the same atmosphere with our Twitch-A-Sketch project, through enabling visitors to participate in the creation of art pieces.

Technical Description:

Users are logged into to and watching the stream located at Users then type commands into the chat such as “up” or “right” and that sends signals to the HexChat software that is listening to our twitch chat using the Twitch Chat API. Each command is then logged and translated into a simulated keypress via OpenTwitchPlays and the keypress is implemented into the processing sketch, which controls the sketching on screen. Through this complex networking we are able to allow people to draw on screen by typing commands into a twitch chat.



This is a youtube video documenting the creation process.

And a couple images displaying our physical Etch-a-Sketch mockup and a drawing some of our users managed to create.

CAM00584 CAM00588

Works Cited


Galanter, Philip. “What Is Generative Art? Complexity Theory as a Context for Art

Theory,” Paper presented at GA2003 – 6th Generative Art Conference 2003, 2003.


Wanner, Andres. The Robot Quartet: A Drawing Installation (proceedings of XCoAx 2013) (n.d.): n. pag. Web.



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