How to play a fun and collaborative family drawing game. Create portraits by trading drawings and adding new features. Catalina of RedViolet Studio shares how to play the exquisite corpse game.
Updated August 2023
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.
This is sometimes called the exquisite corpse game, or the combination man game, but whatever you call it, it is a blast for kids and adults of all ages!
A Fun Family Drawing Game
- Black Sharpies
- Paper (we used 12×18 white cardstock)
- Watercolors (or you can use markers, tempera, crayons, pastels, or any medium of your preference)
- Brushes and cup with water (if using watercolors)
- 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.
- 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 or face. It can be the nose, eyes, mouth, ears, head outline, etc. Any single part.
- Pass the drawing
As soon as everyone is done drawing the first feature, pass the paper to the person sitting to your right.
- 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. Just keep in mind that we are focusing only on portraits, from the neck up.
- Continue drawing and trading drawings
Then 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.
- 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.
- 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 or anything you wish!
- 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!
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!
More Drawing Games for Kids
- 12 Kids Art Games for Fun and Creativity
- The Scribble Drawing Game
- Double Doodle Art for Kids
- The Combination Man Drawing Game
- How to Use Donuts to Teach Kids Observational Drawing
- Explore Identity with Amazing Frida Portraits for Kids
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