I want to tell you about The Drawing Game, it’s for everyone but mostly for people who have crippling sketchbook fear. People who like to draw but as soon as there’s one ‘bad’ sketch in your notebook you cannot stand to see that notebook ever again. People who are so determined to create something ideal and perfect that they don’t even know where to begin. I was once one of these people too.
So! I developed The Drawing Game to overcome these ridiculous fears and actually sit down and draw things. It started out as just trying to overcome a stupid fear but it quickly became quite an addictive game. I will describe the game as I designed it but feel free to edit bits to better suit you.
What you will need to play:
- A dice
- A timer
- A sketchbook /notebook
- A source of images or objects (Google Images, a magazine, the contents of a desk drawer)
- A variety of mark making materials. (Pencils, charcoal, pastels, felt tips, crayons etc…)
In the game I designed there are 3 difficulty levels, easy, normal and hard. The difficulty is set by how many restrictions you set upon yourself. Sets of restrictions come in 6, and you use the dice to see which restriction you will end up with. Easy mode has only one restriction, normal mode has 2 and hard mode has 3. I usually play in normal mode, using a time restriction and one other restriction.
Dice Roll 1: (Time)
- 1: 1 minutes
- 2 – 3: 3 minutes
- 4 – 5: 5 minutes
- 6: 8 minutes.
Dice Roll 2: (Mark making)
- 1: You are not allowed to use lines (only the flat side of a pencil)
- 2: Any pencil you want.
- 3: Only charcoal/chalk/pastel/crayon.
- 4: You can only use lines (Pencil, Biro or any pen)
- 5: Close eyes, pick 2 coloured pencils. You can only use these.
- 6: Draw with your other hand.
Dice Roll 3: (Perspective)
- 1: You cannot look at the page while you draw.
- 2: Turn the image upside down and draw from it like this.
- 3: Turn the image side-ways and draw from it like this.
- 4: Pick the most detailed area and magnify it. (Try to fill the page so the image spills off the sides)
- 5: Draw the subject extremely small.
- 6: You can only shade in spaces around the object.
For example you might end up with something nice like 8 minutes to draw with any pencil you want. Or you might end up with something nasty like 1 minute to draw with your other hand. Having tried and testing this game many times however, I find it’s actually the ‘nasty’ ones that produce the best results, while the ‘nice’ ones are more terrifying because you feel “It has to be good.”
Most of the fun comes from the initial starting point of not knowing what I will be faced with. I try to start the timer as soon as I know what I’m doing without leaving myself time to plan or think and I have to say I think this is ideal because it does not allow you time to panic or worry about your sketching fate.
The aim of this game is to destroy the overly critical voice in your head and to practice drawing different things in different ways. I often find I am surprised with what comes out of my hand in this game, it is usually better than I anticipate it will be and when it’s really really not I have the fallback of: “Yer but I only had 3 minutes to draw this so it’s not a big deal.”
Here are some of my drawings from playing this game:
No lines eagle
Grey and pink colouring pencils raven.
No lines bat.
I got the 2 colouring pencil limit twice in a row so I drew one ontop of another to save paper, but it actually looks more awesome.
Tried drawing and I just coulf not get the shape of the face so I played this round twice to see if my second attempt would be better….. and it totally was! :D
Magnified lips in pencil and 2 colouring pencils.
Was not allowed to look at the page while I drew this one. I actually really like it and it’s one of my favourites.
As you can see some bits are awful while other bits are pretty good. I found that playing this game with myself changed my feelings about drawing from “Oh god it will go horribly wrong! D:” to “I’m really not as bad as I thought I was, even the mistakes are cool in some way :D”
Another important reason this game works is because believe it or not, but restrictions or limits actually increase creativity and lateral thinking. When you are faced with a problem and you can tackle it however you want it becomes so scary and daunting. Like when you are faced with a blank canvas, blank page or an empty Microsoft Word page and you need to start working your mind is suddenly filled with ‘blankness’. How do I start? Where do I start? How do I end up with the thing I want to end up with? Are all big scary daunting questions. Limits combat this because they change “Where do I start?” into “How am I going to do this?” It’s a subtle difference, but the restrictions act like a framework for the rest of your thoughts, like a set of obstacles to overcome rather than a MASSIVE blankness.
So if you want to overcome Crippling Sketchbook Fear, you just want an excuse to play a fun game, or you want to improve your drawing skills, this is the game for you. Also if you know someone who has Crippling Sketchbook Fear or Terrible-sketch-phobia, forward them the instructions for how to play. Let’s get everyone to draw more and enjoy drawing more! It would also be extremely cool to see other peoples restriction drawings so image respond if you can :D
- I plan to develop a digital drawing game version.
- Plan to develop a Writing game version (for writing and poetry.)