It’s no secret that the best way to improve your drawing skills is with a lot of practice. The same goes for flexing your creative muscles. Drawing games offer a fun opportunity to enhance your talents while challenging your imagination. Nowadays, you can play a variety of them on paper, your computer, or on a smartphone.
Drawing games have a long place in art history. The most famous of them is known as the Exquisite Corpse, which was pioneered by the Surrealists in the early 20th century. It was inspired by an old parlor pastime called Consequences, a writing game where players take turns composing sentences on a piece of paper. They then conceal parts of it and pass it along. The term “exquisite corpse” originated from when the Surrealists first played Consequences. There was a phrase written in the game, “Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau” (“The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine”).
While the Exquisite Corpse remains popular, be sure to try out some hi-tech drawing games, too. Quick, Draw! is a one-player game that uses machine learning to guess what you’re doodling. The challenge of getting a computer to understand your sketches makes the game endless hours of fun.
See more of our picks for fun drawing games, below.
Drawing Games on Paper
The Exquisite Corpse game was started by the Surrealists in the 20th century, and there’s a reason why it’s lived on—it’s endless fun. With a group of friends, grab a sheet of paper (or another drawing surface) and have one person start drawing. (Don’t let anyone else see!) Afterward, fold the paper (or cover it up) so that the next drawer can only see a couple of guiding lines for what the previous person has done. Then, repeat this until everyone has drawn. Unfold to reveal the entire drawing.
Play this game through the Exquisite Corpse Book, which is specially tailored to the drawing activity.
This game involves drawing and writing. Start with a piece of paper and a pencil and write a sentence. Then, pass the paper to the next person. They draw what the sentence says. When they’re done, fold over the original sentence so it’s not visible anymore and just the drawing remains. Give the paper to someone else, who writes a sentence about the drawing. Repeat this sequence until the paper is full, and then unfold to see the results! (Alternatively, there’s an easy-to-use “board game” version called Telestrations that includes flippable drawing pads.)
A blind contour drawing is where you sketch while only looking at your subject (no peeking at your paper) and keeping your utensil on the paper. For this quick yet amusing game, pair with a partner and at the same time, draw one another using this technique. Compare artworks afterward!
Making Sense of Scribbles
What do you see in scribbles? To play this game, start with one person scribbling on a piece of paper with their eyes closed. The other person then must use their scribbles as the starting point for a drawing. This game works best with a partner, but more than two people are welcome to play.
Free Drawing Games Online
Quick, Draw! is a game that challenges a neural network to recognize doodling. Made with Google, you are given drawing prompts to sketch in less than 20 seconds, all while a computer tries to guess the subject. In doing this, you’re adding to the “world’s largest doodling dataset” and helping with machine learning research.
Similar to Quick, Draw!, Draw Something is a guessing game. But instead of playing with a computer, you’re playing against friends. Select a word, draw it, and watch as your friends try and guess the correct answer. The app is available on iOS and Android.
Draw a Stickman
The premise of Draw a Stickman starts out simply by having you digitally sketch a stick person. But upon playing, you’ll discover that this game involves much more than the initial prompt. Formatted like an action adventure game, you help to move the story by continuing to draw things for your stick character like a balloon and sword.