Botsy BeDrawn is a machine designed to take a digital image of any type (art work, company logo, technical drawings, sports team’s name, etc) and transfer the image onto a wall. Botsy can use any drawing device from pencil to marker to chalk to pen. The main function of Botsy is to give people the tools to create and realize their mind’s creations!
Botsy BeDrawn was created by a UF graduate Liza Kholodkova with a mission of combining art and engineering in hopes of bringing the two fields into one world. Iryna Kanishcheva asked Liza several questions about this invention.
How did the idea originate for your company?
My company’s goal is to see more custom hand painted murals in the world, while connecting artists and people. I have been painting all my life and gravitated towards the size and permanence of murals as I got older. I learned first hand how time consuming it was to outline a mural. In June 2015, I started a company with Botsy as the first product to help myself and other artists avoid this problem. My passion for engineering and art helped me create Botsy, a mural drawing tool in the form of a robot. I look around at all these blank walls and wish they were covered in custom artwork. I think murals can tell a story of the place and people. I want to help others tell their own stories, covering all the blank walls with art.
What were the challenges in creating Botsy?
When I came up with the idea, I was told by some people that it would be too expensive to create, it wouldn’t work or that there wasn’t money in art. They didn’t understand why I would spend my time and money trying to make the robot. Nevertheless, I continued to believe in and pursue my idea. The first prototype was very slow, really loud, and made poorly drawn squares. However, in the first three months of research and development, I had created a prototype that I could legitimately say represented the idea I had dreamed creating. There are still many more challenges to overcome and improvements to be made, but I look forward to facing them.
How does Botsy work?
Botsy runs on a track that attaches to the walls without causing damage. You can fit these tracks together with no size limit horizontally. At the moment, the vertical drawing area is limited to 6 feet, but it can be extended using the right materials in the future. Botsy can use any standard size drawing utensils from pencils, pens, chalk, or markers. I am currently engineering additional capabilities such as etching or cutting.
Botsy can draw any vector image or black and white sketch. As a result, Botsy can scale images accurately with intricate detail. This makes complex patterns and repeating elements easy to make. Botsy can also draw precise representations of detailed images; for example, a schematic of an engine or a series of star constellations. The robot can quickly draw rough outlines or basic grids to scale as well. Once you start it, you don’t have to be there while Botsy draws, freeing up time.
The surface quality is currently the limiting factor. Botsy works best on a smooth and somewhat flat surface. If a wall has holes, these would have to be accounted for digitally or covered by tape before starting. Surfaces like brick are not an option right now.
Who can use Botsy and why would they want to use it?
I want to put Botsy in the hands of creative people. I am hoping artists can utilize Botsy as a tool in their creative process. By speeding up tedious tasks and freeing up time, Botsy can help artists reach a bigger audience. Much in the same way a sculptor can use a 3D printer or CNC machine, I want to give mural artists the benefits of new technology. I imagine a future where an artist could send a sketch of a mural and arrive on site to find that sketch outlined on the wall ready to be painted. A feature I would like to add to Botsy is the ability for an artist to draw in an iPad or a tablet and have Botsy or multiple Botsys draw the sketch live on a big building or multiple people homes at the same time.
Some people feel like all murals should be done by hand. However, the world is getting increasingly competitive and fast paced. As a mural artist myself, I wanted to find ways to avoid wasting my time on tedious tasks that slow down my creative process and artistic vision. With people and the world becoming more connected, artists can reach a wider audience without sacrificing time or quality by using Botsy.
How do you imagine the future if machines like Botsy become normal? Will murals and mural artists not be needed any more?
Botsy is not a replacement for an artist, it is a tool. My goal is not to create a future with less vibrancy and quality. Instead, I want to work with artists and build a future where artists can focus on their artistic vision and still reach more people, without sacrificing quality, money, or time.
How do I get a Botsy?
The Botsy team is looking to collaborate with artists. If you want to work with Botsy, try one out or have any ideas, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, please visit Botsy on social media to see what Botsy has done so far: