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How to Host a Virtual Art Party

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If you’ve missed making art together, or if you’re looking to spice up your zoom calls with some creativity, this is for you. You can use these games for laughs, to fill out your sketchbook, or even to make fun one-of-a-kind holiday cards.

You’ll need

Basic Formula

Prompts

Prompts can help us draw when we don’t know where to start. The following prompts can be used with a timer for any of the exercises:

Tips

Activities

Draw from a livestream

Livestreams take you places you can’t go on foot - especially during the pandemic. Finding the right stream can give you a delightful session of drawing from life and movement.

Instructions:

  1. Choose a livestream
  2. The host sets a timer for 2, 5, 10, or 15 minutes
  3. Everybody draws the scene, in whole or in part
  4. Show, tell, and admire!

Here are some fun livestreams to start you off:

Animal livestreams

People livestreams

Draw from a virtual museum tour

Explore and draw history and art together. It’s a bit like an urban sketching meetup from the comfort of your home!

Instructions:

  1. Choose a museum from https://artsandculture.google.com/search/partner
  2. Choose a collection and an item, together or independently
  3. The host sets a timer for 2, 5, 10, or 15 minutes
  4. Everybody draws
  5. Show, tell, and admire.

Draw a landscape

Mapcrunch has some lovely landscapes from Google Street view. See where the Random button takes you!

Instructions:

  1. Go to https://www.mapcrunch.com
  2. Choose a scene from the homepage or the gallery
  3. The host sets a timer for 2, 5, 10, or 15 minutes
  4. Everybody draws.
  5. Show, tell, and admire.

Window drawing


_This is a lovely way to share a slice of your life and be transported to another window somewhere in the world.
_
Instructions:

  1. Either everyone draws looking out their own window, or find a window here: https://window-swap.com/
  2. The host sets a timer for 2, 5, 10, or 15 minutes
  3. Everybody draws.
  4. Show, tell, and admire.

Draw from a favourite book

Whether you’re drawing from photos or illustrations, you’re practicing and expanding your drawing vocabulary – practice which comes in handy when you need to draw from your imagination later.

Instructions:

  1. Someone chooses a book with photos in it, and scans or takes photos of interesting pages.
  2. This person shares their screen in the video chat so everyone can see the photo
  3. The host sets a timer for 2, 5, 10, or 15 minutes
  4. Everybody draws.
  5. Show, tell, and admire.

Portrait Party

This exercise is inspired by Julia Kay’s worldwide Portrait Party on Flickr. Quick note: if you hate to see yourself older, grumpier, more colourful, fatter, thinner, or otherwise different than you actually are, this might not be the game for you. If you don’t mind seeing strange versions of yourself, read on!

Instructions:

  1. The host sets and announces the timer (2, 5, 10, or 15 minutes).
  2. Everyone draws somebody in the call using one of the variations below.
  3. Show, tell, and admire.

Variations:

Notes: Using prompts can take the edge off this one – see above.

Still Life/Treasure Hunt

Drawing ordinary things with a timer can have unexpectedly pleasing results.

Instructions:

  1. Everyone sets up a still life in front of them. This can be done in advance, or the host can call out types of items. For example:
    • Find something you use every day.
    • Find something red
    • Find something shiny
    • Find something soft (eg. a scarf, a mitten, a loofa)
    • Find something human-made (eg. a figurine, a mug)
    • Find something natural (eg. a plant, a banana, a taxidermied owl)
  2. The host sets and announces the timer (2, 5, 10, 15 minutes).
  3. Either:
    • Everyone draws their own, or
    • Someone points the camera at their still life and everyone draws the same one.
  4. Show, tell, and admire.

Sister Images

This exercise involves drawing and writing, and can be a lovely window into the daily life of your friends. It comes to us from Lynda Barry and Ebony Flowers _.

Instructions **:_**

  1. Fold a piece of printer-sized paper into four equal squares. Draw over the folds to make four boxes (alternatively, use four index cards).
  2. 4 minute timer : in the top left square, draw something you did yesterday. Draw your full body, no stick figures - if you’re stuck, draw yourself in the style of Ivan Brunetti (circle head, simple body, noodle arms and legs, simple hands).
  3. 4 minute timer : in the bottom left square, write about the scene you just drew in first person, starting with “I AM”. Include your age, the date, and where you are.
  4. 4 minute timer : in the top right square, draw the first memory that comes to mind from the scene you’ve just drawn.
  5. 4 minute timer : in the bottom right square, write about this scene in first person, starting with “I AM”, including your approximate age and the approximate date, and where you are.
  6. Show, tell, and admire.

The Dating Game

_Create an imaginary dating profile from a photo of a random stranger. Drawing optional: this is a creative writing exercise, fun to read aloud when you’re finished!

_Instructions:

  1. Choose a portrait photo from https://www.instagram.com/owasowfoundphotos/
  2. 2 minute timer: write the About Me section of an imaginary dating profile.
  3. 2 minute timer: write the What I’m Looking For section.
  4. 2 minute timer: write the Perfect Date section.
  5. Read aloud!

Wrap up

I hope you find some of these exercises interesting and you get lots of laughs out of them. If you try any of them and you’d like to share, please send us pictures to [email protected]!

Best,
Jess