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See What Aunt Gertrude Drew?!

Art games for your holiday gatherings



My artist friends and I often hear from our patrons and admirers things like, "Oh, I'm not creative at all," or "I wish I was artistic." The truth is, as artists we spend years developing our crafts and skills. These are hard-earned qualities, ones to which we devote a lot of time in order to grow.

Still, that doesn't mean you can't have fun with art. Here are some fun games you can play with your family and friends that will help you tap into that creative potential.

Exquisite Corpse

This is one of the most famous art games out there and one you probably played when you were young. You can do this by drawing or writing. If you're drawing, fold a piece of vertical paper into three sections. The first person draws the top part of the section—usually the head and face—and then folds it to hide what they've drawn, passing it to the next person, who draws the middle or belly and arms (and then hides what they draw) before passing it to the last person who draws the bottom section or the feet.

Get multiple papers going so everybody is drawing at once, and so that you end up with multiple pieces of art. If you try this with poetry, have someone write the first line and pass it to the next person. The next person writes their line of poetry and folds the paper over to cover the first line. Each time you pass the paper, a new line is added and the paper folded only revealing the last line written. This can be hilarious when you see where people go with it.


This fun game combines drawing and writing. It works best if you have small pieces of paper you then compile at the end. The first person draws an image. The image can be of anything, but if you find it hard to think of something, try giving a theme, such as "Christmas," "Summer Vacations" or "Animals Eating." Pass your drawing to the next person, who writes a sentence to describe the image on a separate piece of paper. Then place the paper with the words over the drawing and pass it to the next person, who draws what the sentence describes. Keep doing this until you have about four or five various drawings. You then take them apart and see where you started! It's like telephone, but with drawing. Get it? Tele-strations!

Master Collaborators

This one is fun to do while you listen to music. Each person has their own piece of paper and, if possible, a different colored marker or pen. Set a timer for two minutes and have everyone draw for the whole two minutes.

  • Teafly Peterson

If you're lost on what to start drawing, give the crew a theme or set up a small still life for people to look at. When the two minutes are up, pass your paper to the person to your left, set the timer and draw for two more minutes. This time you'll be drawing on someone else's image to see where it can go. It's always fun to make a monster that's eating the rabbit your little cousin drew. She might not find it hilarious, but you'll feel better! The game ends when your paper makes it back to you. It's fun to see how others added or diverged from your original image. And if you're using different-colored pens or markers or pencils, it is easier to tell who did what!

With all of these games, don't worry if the results aren't perfect. Often when artists play these games the doodles and lines of poetry can be hilarious and silly. That's one of the points of the games. Think Pictionary without the board and giant easel to draw on. For sure, your Aunt Gertrude will draw the Leaning Tower of Pisa that she insists isn't a dirty picture! And maybe it really isn't supposed to be risqué—but in any case you'll be busting a gut.

This holiday season, have some fun making art. You can always Tivo the big game.

About The Author

Teafly Peterson

For the last 20 years, I have been working as an artist and an educator. Some days I am better at one than the other. The good days are when I am excellent at both simultaneously. I love those days. I teach a variety of mediums– painting, drawing, photography, writing, film making. Mostly what I teach is how to...

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