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How to Play the Exquisite Corpse Game

by Catalina Gutierrez
July 10, 2022
exquisite corpse featured

Catalina of Red Violet Studio shares how to play the exquisite corpse game. Create portraits by trading drawings and adding new features. It’s sure to brings laughs and is a great way to explore creatively together.

Updated August 2022

One of the things we have come to really enjoy lately is our creative family sessions. Sitting down around a table, and just creating; sometimes with specific prompts, but mainly through fun games and open ended exploration of materials. Those who know me, know I love a good ol’ art family game, and we’ve done quite a few, but today I want to share one of our family favorites.

I first saw this over at Art for Kids Hub in a very similar manner and I was like, “we have to try this at home! We even hosted a LIVE session on Instagram with this family drawing activity and it was a big hit! Many people shared their creations with us and they were all so good and original. 

Here it goes, check it out!

exquisite corpse pin
Photo by Catalina Gutierrez

How to Play the Exquisite Corpse Game



  1. Prepare the supplies

    Have 3 or more family members (or friends) sit at a table. Place a piece of paper and a black Sharpie in front of each person.

  2. Draw a part of the head

    Ask everyone to choose a person from the table and challenge that person to draw a part of the head/face. It can be: nose, eyes, mouth, ears, head outline, etc. Any single part. 

    exquisite corpse drawing

  3. Pass the drawing

    As soon as everyone is done drawing the first feature, pass the paper to the person sitting to your right.  

  4. Begin drawing another feature

    Now another family member (or friend) will tell you what to draw next: maybe it’s the eyebrows this time, or teeth, or hair, a beard, or mustache. Anything goes, pretty much. Just keep in mind that we are focusing only on portraits, from the neck up.  

    exquisite corpse drawings

  5. Continue drawing and trading drawings

    And so, just like that, keep it going. Swap papers again so everyone gets at least one chance to draw on every paper, until the silly (oh, believe me they will end up being quite silly!) faces are finished. 

    kids drawing faces

  6. Don’t forget accessories!

    Some other fun things to add to the drawings are accessories such as: sunglasses, hats, earrings, piercings, etc. All of these will add character to your drawings.  You can keep going with this paper swapping for as long as you wish, or until you think the faces are pretty much done.

  7. Now add color!

    Next, bring in the fun supplies you have around to add some color to the faces. We used watercolors, but you can use markers, crayons, pastels, paints; anything you wish!

    adding color to drawn face

  8. Show off your finished drawing.

    Finally, show off your funky faces and maybe even give them names. And kids can also write a brief description of the characters to extend this fun activity even more!

    painting exquisite corpse faces

We really enjoyed this activity, it was a fun unwinding session where we got to laugh and create at the same time. I hope you give it a try, and if you do, please share your creations with me as I would love to see them!

painted faces
Photo by Catalina Gutierrez

More Drawing Games for Kids

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How to Play the Exquisite Corpse Game

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