Today I learned how to create xkcd-style plots in Python with matplotlib.

A friend of mine showed me how to create xkcd-style plots in Python with matplotlib, and they look great:

You can set the style of a plot to follow the xkcd style by using `matplotlib.pyplot.xkcd`

.
You can use it as a context manager to set the style of a specific plot, as the example below shows.

```
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
from numpy import sin, linspace
with plt.xkcd():
plt.plot(sin(linspace(0, 10)))
plt.title("A nice wave!")
plt.show()
```

This piece of code creates the simple wave plot you see above.

You can also call `plt.xkcd()`

to set the style of all the plots that will be created next.

I tried adding the xkcd style to a series of different plots I got directly from the matplotlib library and it seems like the style works for pretty much everything. If you find something for which the style does not work, add a comment below so I can update this article.

Here you can find some more plots in the style of xkcd, followed by the accompanying code that was taken almost verbatim from the references.

```
# Two waves in the style of xkcd.
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
from numpy import cos, linspace, sin
x = linspace(0, 10)
y1 = x * sin(x)
y2 = x * cos(x)
with plt.xkcd():
plt.fill(x, y1, 'red', alpha=0.4)
plt.fill(x, y2, 'blue', alpha=0.4)
plt.xlabel('x axis yo!')
plt.ylabel("I don't even know")
plt.show()
```

```
# Superposition of multiple waves in the style of xkcd.
from matplotlib.collections import PolyCollection
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np
plt.xkcd()
fig = plt.figure()
ax = fig.add_subplot(projection='3d')
x = np.linspace(0, 10, 30)
colors = ['r', 'g', 'b', 'y']
y = np.random.random((len(colors), len(x)))
y[:, 0] = y[:, -1] = 0
edges = [list(zip(x, yi)) for yi in y]
poly = PolyCollection(edges, facecolors=colors, alpha=0.6)
ax.add_collection3d(poly, zs=range(4), zdir='y')
ax.set_xlabel('X')
ax.set_xlim3d(0, 10)
ax.set_ylabel('Y')
ax.set_ylim3d(-1, 4)
ax.set_zlabel('Z')
ax.set_zlim3d(0, 1)
plt.show()
```

```
# Surface plot in the style of xkcd.
from matplotlib import cbook
from matplotlib import cm
from matplotlib.colors import LightSource
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np
# Load and format data
dem = cbook.get_sample_data('jacksboro_fault_dem.npz', np_load=True)
z = dem['elevation']
nrows, ncols = z.shape
x = np.linspace(dem['xmin'], dem['xmax'], ncols)
y = np.linspace(dem['ymin'], dem['ymax'], nrows)
x, y = np.meshgrid(x, y)
region = np.s_[5:50, 5:50]
x, y, z = x[region], y[region], z[region]
# Set up plot
plt.xkcd()
fig, ax = plt.subplots(subplot_kw=dict(projection='3d'))
ls = LightSource(270, 45)
# To use a custom hillshading mode, override the built-in shading and pass
# in the rgb colors of the shaded surface calculated from "shade".
rgb = ls.shade(z, cmap=cm.gist_earth, vert_exag=0.1, blend_mode='soft')
surf = ax.plot_surface(x, y, z, rstride=1, cstride=1, facecolors=rgb,
linewidth=0, antialiased=False, shade=False)
ax.text(-84.4, 36.7, 700, "Looking good!", (1, 2, 0))
plt.show()
```

If you call `plt.xkcd()`

as a regular function, all plots that follow will use the xkcd style.
If you want to disable that style for other plots, just call `matplotlib.pyplot.rcdefaults`

before constructing the next plot.
Alternatively, use the context manager `with plt.xkcd():`

to style plots explicitly.

That's it for now! Stay tuned and I'll see you around!

I hope you learned something new! If you did, consider following the footsteps of the readers who bought me a slice of pizza π. Your contribution boosts my confidence and helps me produce this content for you.

- Pythonic Perambulations, http://jakevdp.github.io/blog/2013/07/10/XKCD-plots-in-matplotlib/ [last accessed 03-03-2023];
- Matplotlib docs,
`matplotlib.pyplot.xkcd`

, https://matplotlib.org/stable/api/_as_gen/matplotlib.pyplot.xkcd.html [last accessed 03-03-2023]; - Matplotlib 3D plotting gallery, https://matplotlib.org/stable/gallery/mplot3d/index.html [last accessed 03-03-2023];