I use this improvisational co-drawing exercise a LOT for a wide set of uses. It can “break the ice” with new groups, it can surface lessons about perception, collaboration, assumptions, teamwork and a host of other things.

I learned it from Johnnie Moore who learned it from  Alain Rostain. It is very simple. I’ve mostly used it face to face, but I’ve also done it online when there is a shared electronic whiteboard available.

Here is a quote from Johnnie’s blog where I first learned this!

The exercise is simple: you’re going to draw a face, together. It won’t be a familiar face (probably) but one you’re making up between you.

You need a pen and paper (we made do with a paper napkin from the cafe we were in).

Once you’re ready, you work silently. Resist the urge to discuss the picture as it develops and don’t comment on each other’s ideas. You probably won’t be able to suppress laughter though.

The first person draws just one feature of a face. It’s up to you what it is: it could be an ear, an eye, a nose, a tattoo, an eyebrow… whatver. Rule of thumb: when you lift the pen off the paper, you’ve finished your turn. And remember, as you’re working silently, don’t explain what you’ve drawn.

Then your partner takes the pen and they draw a feature. It may be another ear/eye whatever, or it could be something else. Whatever it is, you then get the pen and carry on. Even if you’re not sure what it is they’ve drawn.

If you don’t know what on earth your partner has drawn, don’t ask! Just carry on adding features as best you can.

Keep going like this for a few turns, each adding a single feature with each turn.

When someone gets the pen and hesitates about what to do, this means the face is finished. So that person now puts down the first letter of the name of this character. Keep adding letters until someone hesitates – when that happens, you’ve finished. And again, don’t comment on what your partner writes, whatever you may think!

The challenge:

  1. Do the exercise as noted above, either online or face to face.
  2. Debrief the exercise with your partner and take a picture or screen shot of your shared image.
  3. Share the image you co-created, along with any reflections on the process. How did it feel? What surprised you? Frustrated you? Share it here on the challenge page, or someplace online and tweet the url with the hashtags #UdGAgora and #paireddrawing.

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2 Responses Completed for this Challenge

  • dibujo (Rosalina Macias Serna, @ing_Rosalina)


  • Briatuhm: our draw (Javier Zepeda, @javierzepeda)

    Esta actividad es de las más sencillas que se pueden implementar en el aula. Incluso puede ser hecha con lápiz y papel o con apps para dibujo. fue de mis favoritas!

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