Exquisite Corpse is a circle game also known as Picture Consequences, where a group of artistes draw a person or creature one portion at a time. It’s kind of like “Hang Man” because we draw only one section at a time, but it’s also a little like “Mad Libs, because we all contribute our own style and sense of humor to the drawing. But here’s the catch; after Player 1 draws the first part, he must cover what he drew before he hands it to the next player. Player 2 draws the second portion, and Player 3 draws the final portion- ALL WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO SEE WHAT WAS DRAWN FIRST. Player 1 might start drawing a robot, but Player 2 might be drawing a ninja, while Player 3 finishes up with a mermaid. As you can imagine, this collaboration makes for some larger-than-life characters!
Some children’s picture books like Ribbit!: Flip and See who Froggy Can Be and All Mixed Up: A Mixed Up Matching Book are created in this format, where the pages are cut into thirds. Readers have the ability to mix and match the character by turning the top, middle, or bottom parts of the page. Another variation is the text version of Exquisite Corpse, where the change happens in the story instead of in the pictures. Be sure to check out Fortunately for grades K-3, and The Exquisite Corpse Adventure for grades 3-5.
Our Exquisite Corpse program for third, fourth and fifth graders was a big hit. We warmed up with a silly game of Mad Libs to help us get inspired. Then we created our own tri-fold Exquisite Corpses. Check them out HERE.
Why not create your own? Here's how:
Step 1: Find two friends. You will need three people to play this game.
Step 2: Grab a sheet of paper and a pencil, colored pencils, or markers.
Step 3: Fold the paper into three sections
Step 4: Now let’s begin to draw! The first person starts with the top section. This will be the head of your exquisite corpse. Make sure no one sees what you are drawing. Once you’re done, fold your head section over so that no one can see it. Make sure to extend little marks onto the middle panel so that the next person will see where your neck ends. Then pass the paper with the head folded so no one can see it to your friend or family member.
Step 5: The second person draws on the middle section which will be the torso. Make sure to connect the torso to the neck lines that are visible from the head part of the drawing. Once they are finished drawing the torso, fold it over so that the third person will not see the head or torso panel. Make sure to extend little marks onto the third panel so that the next person will see where your torso ends.
Step 6: Person 3 will now draw the legs in the last section. Make sure they connect the legs to the little marks of the torso.
Step 7: And then… unfold and VOILA! You have made your own, unique exquisite corpse.
Note: Three heads are better than one! And the most important things to remember are that you can repeat this as many times as you want and to have as much fun as possible. ENJOY!