This quick and fun drawing game was inspired by Mark Stafford, and I only tried it very recently with kids and it was a great success. I've number this session 2.5 as I'm slipping it into my regular teaching sequence between 2- Draw Yourself and 3- 2 Card Characters. It's a great one for loosening up or just filling 5 minutes, but also makes an important point.
It's very simple - everyone has 10 seconds to draw a pig with their eyes closed. No peeking. The whole pig, not just the face. Use the thick black felt tips rather than pencils, as we are being bold with this. Amazingly -
-everyone's comes out looking like a pig, (even if they've all not used the requested tool). A lot of kids wouldn't have even made a mark on their paper if asked to do it looking, as they'd be hesitating, unsure or reluctant to commit to the first lines.
On the other side of the sheet, we repeat the exercise, but this time chose your own animal for everyone on your table to guess -
Remarkably everyone's drawings are identifiable again! I think the penguin artist might've peeked though.
I ask them how come everyone can draw quickly, confidently and competently - with their eyes closed? We realise that something has happened (between the brain and the hand?) that makes us simplify our animal down to it's essential distinguishing features and profile - it's essence of pigness or lionicity. We somehow draw upon every cartoony pig drawing we've ever seen - an archetypal or stereotyped pig (do animals have stereotypes? Is it unfair?). A lot of cartoon is dependant on reducing things down to an easily recognised version of something or someone - even though mice don't have ears like Mickey, teachers and chefs don't really wear those hats, and traindrivers tend not to wear neckerchiefs.
I make sure to reassure the group that I'm not asking them to draw comics blind from now on, and move smoothly onto 3- 2 Card Characters.