What is Collaborative Drawing?
Collaborative Drawing is a fun and engaging icebreaker game that encourages creativity and teamwork among players. The purpose of this activity is to create a unique drawing by combining the efforts of multiple people, without any one person seeing what others have added before them. This game is suitable for ages 10 and over and can be played with a group of four or more people. To play Collaborative Drawing, each participant is given a piece of paper folded into four sections and asked to draw a head in the top section without showing their work to others. The papers are then passed to the left, and each player adds their own drawing to the next section, connecting it to the previous one. This process continues until all sections are filled, resulting in a surprise collaboration once the papers are unfolded. Since the goal is to promote interaction and creativity, there is no way to win or lose this game; its purpose is simply for people to have fun and enjoy the unexpected results of their collective artwork.
Rules for Collaborative Drawing
- Distribute paper and writing utensils to all players, who should be sitting in an orderly fashion.
- Instruct each person to fold their paper into four equal sections, then unfold it so it is flat again.
- Players draw a head for their drawing in the uppermost section, ensuring the neck connects to the top of the second section.
- Players fold their paper over to hide the head, leaving only the very bottom of the neck showing.
- All players pass their folded papers to their left and accept a new paper from their right side.
- Each player draws the missing section on the new paper, connecting it to the previous section without looking at it.
- Repeat step 5 for all remaining sections: torso, legs, and feet. Make sure to time each section to avoid spending too much time on the game.
- Once all drawings are completed, open up the papers and view the crazy creatures or people featured in them.
Note: This game is meant as a fun icebreaker activity with no way to win or lose. The purpose is for people to get together and have a good time drawing.
Materials needed for Collaborative Drawing
- Paper: Distribute paper to all players for them to draw on.
- Writing utensils: Provide writing utensils for each player to use for drawing.
- Timer or stopwatch: Use a timer or stopwatch to time each section of the drawing to avoid spending too much time on the game.
Setting up for Collaborative Drawing
To set up for the Collaborative Drawing icebreaker activity, there are no preliminary steps required. The game begins by distributing paper and writing utensils to all participants. Players are then instructed to fold their paper into four equal sections and draw a head in the uppermost section. After drawing the head, players fold over their paper to conceal it and pass it to the player on their left. The game continues with each participant adding to the previous person’s drawing without seeing what has been drawn before. The activity encourages collaboration and creativity while serving as a fun icebreaker for groups of four or more people.
How to play Collaborative Drawing
- Distribute art supplies: I provide paper and writing utensils to all participants, ensuring they are arranged in an orderly manner, such as a circle or straight lines.
- Fold the paper: I ask each person to fold their paper into four equal sections like a letter, then unfold it so it lies flat.
- Draw a head: I instruct participants to draw a head for their drawing in the top section, emphasizing that the neck should connect to the second section’s top.
- Fold and pass the paper: I tell players to fold their papers over to conceal the head, leaving only the bottom of the neck visible. They then pass their folded papers to the left and receive a paper from their right. Each time they receive a new paper, they draw the next missing section while connecting it to the previous section without looking. This process is repeated for all three remaining sections: torso, legs, and feet. I remind players to leave a small portion of their drawing visible for the next person.
- Set time limits: I time each drawing session to maintain a reasonable pace and prevent excessive delays in gameplay.
- Reveal and share drawings: Once all drawings are complete, I invite participants to unfold their papers and explore the imaginative creatures or people they’ve created together. This icebreaker is meant for fun and bonding, so there’s no winner or loser; it’s just an opportunity to enjoy some laughs and creativity with others.
Benefits of Collaborative Drawing
- Encourages Creativity: Collaborative Drawing allows players to think outside the box and create unique drawings without worrying about the outcome. This game can help individuals discover new artistic styles and explore their creativity.
- Promotes Teamwork: By requiring players to work together to complete a drawing, this icebreaker fosters teamwork and collaboration. Players must trust each other’s decisions and build upon one another’s ideas to create a cohesive drawing.
- Enhances Communication Skills: Collaborative Drawing encourages non-verbal communication as players interpret and respond to the previous person’s drawing without directly discussing it. This can help improve individuals’ ability to convey their thoughts and ideas through art.
- Reduces Stress: Engaging in a creative activity like Collaborative Drawing can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Focusing on creating a drawing with others allows players to momentarily forget about their daily worries and enjoy the present moment.
- Boosts Confidence: Completing a collaborative project, such as Collaborative Drawing, can increase an individual’s confidence in their artistic abilities and teamwork skills. Seeing the final product of their collective efforts can also bring a sense of accomplishment to players.
- Encourages Active Participation: As there is no way to “win” or “lose” Collaborative Drawing, all players are encouraged to actively participate and contribute to the game. This can help create a positive and inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and involved.
- Enhances Problem-Solving Skills: Collaborative Drawing challenges players to solve problems by connecting different sections of a drawing without seeing what others have added before them. This helps individuals develop their problem-solving skills and think critically about how to build upon the previous person’s work.
- Provides Entertainment: Above all, Collaborative Drawing is a fun and engaging icebreaker that can help bring people together and create lasting memories. Players can enjoy the process of creating unique drawings with others and appreciate the humor and creativity involved in the game.
Skills built with Collaborative Drawing
- Collaboration: Playing Collaborative Drawing helps build collaboration skills as participants work together to create a cohesive drawing without seeing what others have added before them.
- Creativity: The game encourages creativity by challenging players to think outside the box and add their own unique touch to each section of the drawing.
- Patience and Focus: Players must be patient and focused as they wait for their turn to add to the drawing, and carefully connect their section to the previous one.
- Communication: Although players cannot see each other’s drawings, they must communicate effectively by following instructions and leaving visible clues for the next player.
- Self-expression: The game provides an opportunity for self-expression as players can choose what kind of head or body part to draw in their section.
- Building Trust: Players must trust that their neighbors will follow the rules and not ruin their drawings, which can help build trust among participants.
- Time Management: The game requires players to complete each section within a certain time frame, helping them practice managing their time effectively.
- Respecting Boundaries: By only adding to the designated section of the drawing without looking at the rest, players learn to respect boundaries and work within constraints.
- Problem-solving: The game challenges participants to solve the problem of how to connect their section to the previous one in a way that makes sense and flows with the overall drawing.
Why I like Collaborative Drawing
I enjoy the Collaborative Drawing icebreaker because it encourages creativity and teamwork in a fun and engaging way. By having each person contribute to different parts of the drawing without seeing what others have added, it fosters a sense of surprise and excitement as the final creation is revealed.
One aspect I particularly appreciate about this game is its accessibility. With minimal materials needed and simple instructions to follow, Collaborative Drawing can be easily set up and played by people of various ages and abilities. This makes it an excellent choice for a wide range of occasions, from youth group activities to corporate team-building events.
Moreover, I find that Collaborative Drawing helps break down barriers between participants, allowing them to interact and connect on a more personal level. As players pass their drawings around and add their own unique touches, they engage in conversation, share laughter, and build rapport. This sense of camaraderie can be especially valuable in settings where individuals may not know each other well or are looking for ways to strengthen relationships.
Finally, I appreciate that Collaborative Drawing does not have a defined winner or loser. Instead, the focus is on enjoying the process of creating something together and appreciating the humorous and unexpected results. This low-pressure environment encourages participation and reduces anxiety, making it an ideal icebreaker for groups where some members may be hesitant to engage in more competitive activities.
Tips for making Collaborative Drawing more inclusive
- Use Culturally Diverse Prompts Instead of only instructing players to draw heads, torsos, legs, and feet, provide more specific prompts that represent a variety of cultures. For example, you could prompt participants to draw a headwear from their culture or an animal that is significant in their culture.
- Provide Accessible Drawing Tools Ensure that the writing utensils provided are accessible for all players. Consider providing different types of pens, pencils, and erasers, as well as textured drawing tools like crayons or markers. This can make the game more inclusive for individuals with different abilities.
- Encourage Open-Ended Interpretation Encourage players to interpret the prompts in their own way, rather than trying to draw realistic representations. This can help reduce anxiety and encourage participation from individuals who may not feel confident in their artistic skills.
- Create a Safe and Supportive Environment Make sure that all players feel comfortable participating and sharing their creations. Encourage positive feedback and avoid making negative comments about any of the drawings. By creating a safe and supportive environment, you can help ensure that everyone feels included and valued.
- Consider Language Barriers If some participants speak different languages, consider providing written instructions in multiple languages or using visual aids to clarify the rules. This can help ensure that all players understand how to participate and feel included in the game.
Reflection questions for Collaborative Drawing
- What was your initial reaction when you saw the final result of your collaborative drawing? Understanding participants’ reactions can give insight into how they felt about the activity and its success in promoting creativity and teamwork.
- Which section of the drawing did you find most challenging or interesting to draw, and why? This question helps facilitators gauge the engagement level of participants and understand which parts of the activity were most enjoyable or difficult for them.
- How did it feel to not know what others had drawn before you added your own section? Exploring participants’ thoughts on working blindly can provide insight into their comfort with uncertainty and their ability to adapt in collaborative environments.
- Did this activity change the way you perceive the drawings or creative ideas of others? If so, how? This question encourages reflection on empathy and open-mindedness towards different perspectives, which are crucial skills for successful teamwork and collaboration.
- What did you learn about yourself or your artistic process while participating in this icebreaker? Encouraging participants to reflect on their own experiences can help them become more self-aware, leading to personal growth and better collaboration with others.
- If you were to facilitate this activity for another group, what would you do differently based on your experience today? Asking this question helps participants think critically about the activity’s design and their role as facilitators, fostering a deeper understanding of collaborative processes.
- How can we apply the lessons learned from this icebreaker to our teamwork or collaboration in other contexts? This question encourages participants to consider how they can translate their experiences from the game into real-world scenarios, promoting better collaboration and communication within the group.
About the author
Founder & Chief Icebreaker
I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.