Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Robotic etching: The creation of digital etching using robotics

Lewis, Verity; Parraman, Carinna; O'Dowd, Paul; Chamberlain, Ian

Robotic etching: The creation of digital etching using robotics Thumbnail


Carinna Parraman

Paul O'Dowd


1. Introduction
This paper describes an investigation of a robot used within the traditional etching printmaking process. The use of a robot has been studied in two ways. First, for the novel affordances an autonomous robot provides within printmaking, and secondly, as a study of how robotic technologies can be integrated within a traditional process. In this second aspect, the first author has worked as mediator, facilitator and researcher between the robot as tool and with Ian Chamberlain as artist. This paper therefore reflects on both the accessibility and utility of robotics within art as a new tool, and upon the potential expressive capabilities of a robot within the etching printmaking field.

Technological advances, particularly within the fields of AI and robotics in recent years, has led to new possibilities when it comes to producing artwork. New robotic machines capable of both creating and physically rendering artefacts have opened new areas of investigation around machine creativity and human/robotic collaboration.

This paper looks at the potentials afforded by robots when applied to traditional printing techniques such as etching. Through experiments using an adapted 3D printing robot, this study explores the possibilities of creating works where a traditional etching needle is used by a robot.

The traditional etching medium has a reliance on physical mark making, which is captured on the print plate. Therefore, purely digital approaches, i.e, predominantly screen based digital media, do not sufficiently emulate the nuances of tactile interaction. However, a robot provides a unique opportunity to transform purely digital information through the physical mechanisms of a robot. Therefore, a robot potentially has some capability for nuanced mark making. However, it is not clear how accessible this is, how well it can be used, how valuable it is or how effective it is in complement to human expression.


Lewis, V., Parraman, C., O'Dowd, P., & Chamberlain, I. (2019, July). Robotic etching: The creation of digital etching using robotics. Paper presented at EVA London 2019, BCS London office, London, England

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name EVA London 2019
Conference Location BCS London office, London, England
Start Date Jul 8, 2019
End Date Jul 11, 2019
Acceptance Date Jul 8, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 28, 2019
Publicly Available Date Mar 29, 2019
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords drawing, etching, robots, robotic, printmaking
Public URL
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : EVA


You might also like

Downloadable Citations