Cobbled Paths

  • Date 8 June 2024 09:00 - 18:00
  • Place Meyboom, 34 Pachecolaan, Bruxelles
  • Price free
  • Places 8 to 16
  • Reservation
  • Deadline 30th of May
  • OSP Doriane, Ludi

For this first Plotter Station workshop, OSP invites you on a griddy and tortuous adventure of making collective pen-plotted poster using their DIY tool named Cobbled Paths.

Cobbled Paths is a web interface that brings multiple tools together to allow experimental and direct collaboration on pen-plotted drawings through the making of Ascii art on etherpads.

The first step is in Ascii art fashion, to draw shapes and lines using Ascii characters such as ( ) / \ | ' - . _ = + on etherpads. An SVG vector interpretation of the shapes and lines is rendered in a side view, that can later be translated to HPGL to draw them with a pen plotter using normal pens.

It makes a way from the blocky discontinuity of Ascii drawings, to the smoothness of bezier curves, to an anologic pen-plotter interpretation.

Like cobbled paths, none of these technologies are new, and we've been walking on them for years. Like cobbled paths, it is a reminder of the permeability between the discrete and the continuous; how regular stones can form tortuous paths.


The workshop is hosted at Meyboom, 34 Pachecolaan in OSP's studio.

It is divided in two parts

In the morning we will introduce our Ascii 2 Vector 2 Plotter pipeline. By making a first collaborative poster we'll explore the materiality of Ascii art, its grid and translation to SVG. This is a playground: copy and paste found Ascii art, start drawing letters, explore patterns and diagrams and remix each others drawings.

In the afternoon we will split into smaller groups, depending the shared interest of the participants, we'll pick a theme for all posters. Each group will work on their own poster, this time participants will be invited to:

  • use FIGlet fonts to collaboratively compose a typographic poster on a two dimensional grid
  • switch pens colors or pen brushes by dividing the poster in different layers
  • experiment with smaller and bigger shapes as a way to control the relative thickness of the pen


We look for a diversity of practice, background, level of amateurism, gender and age. No knowledge (other than a desire to draw with Ascii characters) is required to participate. As one of the ideas behind the plotter-station is to make available our machines and create knowledge sharing opportunities everybody is more than welcome.

In order to participate please send us an email with a short sentence for each of the following:

  • a bit on yourself (if you are students or not, where are you coming from, ...)
  • your intersest in this workshop
  • how it could relate to your (other) practices (doesn't have to be graphic design!)

Deadline is the 30th of May. The selection will be published on the 31st.

Note that the selection process is there to ensure equal opportunity in the case the workshop is overbooked.

Plotter Party

  • Date 4 May 2024 15:00 - 19:00
  • Place Meyboom, 34 Pachecolaan, Bruxelles
  • Price free
  • OSP Gijs
  • Guests Victor, Thijs, ???

On May 4th OSP and XPUB host a pen plotter party celebrating the launch of the plotter station at OSP's studio in the Meyboom Artist run Spaces. The party is a moment of exchange engaging plotter enthusiasts and anyone curious to explore plotting cultures.

During the party we'll make an interactive tour of pen-plotter experiments, tools and zines: exploring the performative and attitudes of the plotters, vector graphics, illustrations, typography and layout, we'll speak HPGL and share practices working intimately with tools, while using free and open source software.

We warmly invite you, to join us in the tour, or to show your own experiments!

Pen plotters are mechanical drawing machines using 'normal' pens, they were originally developed in the 70's and 80's to make (large format) prints. These plotters are controlled through HPGL, a seductively simple language prescribing the movement of the pens. Compared to modern (large format inkjet) printers, pen plotters are expensive to operate and slow. But it is exactly the slowness, and performative movement that makes them empathic, the simplicity which allows for easy appropriation and their lack of optimization which offers precise control.

With the plotter party, OSP launches their plotting station as a next step in ten years of pen plotter activities, curiosity and enthusiasm. The plotter station gives access to OSP's collection of pen plotters and other printing machines. The plotter station organizes workshops, develops research and can be booked to use the printers.

XPUB is the Experimental Publishing Master course in Fine Art and Design at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. XPUB focuses on the acts of making things public in the age of post-digital networks. They have taken a recent interest in pen plotters as a dynamic of (non)obsolete technologies, an attitude of performance and a method of collaboration, and will bring recent explorations and experiments.

  • 15:00: Turning the pen-plotters on
  • 16:00-18:00: Interactive tour
  • 19:00: turning the pen-plotters off