By Justin Cheong.
In 2015, I was introduced to Squiggle Birds by Dave Gray. In its workshop form, it’s a 2–3 minute game where you draw some squiggles, exchange them with a partner, and then each turn those squiggles into birds using a differently coloured pen.
I’ve been starting my workshops with this exercise ever since. It’s wonderful for warm-up, and virtually everyone draws something creative and unique. It’s especially helpful in workshops when you need to prime participants for drawing, as it engages them in many ways:
Squiggle Birds scales really well with the size of a workshop. You can have as few as two people or as many as a hundred. To run this exercise, simply give the following instructions:
Observe the room to see how everyone is pacing, but the whole activity should take no more than a few minutes.
As Squiggle Birds has become more popular, sometimes attendees at my workshops have already drawn squiggle birds elsewhere or even run the activity themselves. To keep the exercise fresh, I ask participants who have previously played the game to try drawing other animals. Some fun ones have included:
Sketching exercises like Squiggle Birds can be timeless if they involve drawing from the abstract. Simply making it different – like varying the challenge or introducing a variable – will help the exercise continue to engage the creativity of even veteran artists.
Quietly since 2015, I’ve been collecting squiggle birds left behind by students in my workshops, and have aggregated them here in this gallery 🐦👇🏼 http://pinterest.com/visualacademy/squiggle-birds/
What do your squiggle birds look like? And which workshop warm-ups have worked consistently for you?
Check out the full gallery on the Pinterest board here.