PyCon UK 2019

A Tour of Matplotlib: From Bar Charts to XKCD-Style Plots
2019-09-15, 16:30–17:00, Ferrier Hall

This is a tour of Matplotlib that starts with a gentle introduction involving simple plots like bar charts, line graphs, etc. and ends with fun stuff like XKCD-style plots. During the talk, we will see the popular techniques to customize the plots with axes, grid, labels, legends, spines, etc.


While Matplotlib is pretty easy to get started with, it can gradually become a tedious task of hunting through extensive documentation to customize a plot to give it the perfect look and feel. This talk would walk the audience through some of the common patterns frequently used while customizing plots drawn with Matplotlib.

This talk would first offer a gentle introduction to plotting simple graphs and how to export the plots as high quality image files. The talk would then dive into customizing simple plots with colours, labels, legends, grids, major ticks, minor ticks, spines, etc. The talk would present a few example charts from scratch and then tweak various aspects of it to demonstrate various customizations.

The speaker would also share a few stories regarding how beautiful graph plots can make a difference in various contexts. For example, one story involves the speaker plotting a beautifully framed heart to impress his life partner. Another example involves plotting serious data in XKCD sketch-style to add a touch of humour with wiggly curves.


Is your proposal suitable for beginners? – yes

Susam Pal is a security software architect. He has 14 years of experience in information security with focus on developing PKI-based solutions, network security products, and cloud security services. He works at Walmart Labs, Bangalore, India. He has worked at RSA Security earlier. He has a keen interest in mathematics and open source software. He develops software in Python, Go, C, and C++. He has been a contributor to Apache Nutch, Open Sourced Vulnerability Database (OSVDB), the Web Application Security Consortium (WASC), Slimv, etc. He is also the author of a few open source projects like TeXMe, Uncap, MathB.in, etc. Currently, he is leading an open source cloud security monitoring project named Cloudmarker where one of his responsibilities is to develop and maintain a multiprocessing-based plugin framework.