Beyond the Exquisite Corpse

Dear Liza,

I wanted to tell you again about a game called “Exquisite Corpse”, which is not as gruesome as it sounds. Cousin Kestrel first showed it to me about three years ago.

It is a drawing game. You fold a piece of paper into three sections, one above the other. The first player draws the head of a creature, with the neck lines going just slightly below the fold. This gives the second player a place to start. Without looking at what the first player drew, the second adds to the creature. This continues with the third player, who adds the legs, or bottom part.

Auntie Bridgett, Cousin Kestrel and I played it last Friday when she was visiting.

This game is based on a word game invented in the early 1900s by Andre Breton, a surrealist artist in France. In the word game, you add to a story without knowing what it is about. Here, you do it with pictures.

As always, it was fun to draw and fun to see what we created together. I love this dancing-angel-god-thing.

Kes and I did a critter with just two parts, as well, and then there was this Soot Sprite (from “My Friend Totoro”) she drew. These critters were too adorable to throw away, so I made a piece of art with them.


I found a page in my art journal that was just sweeps of blue acrylic, trimmed the Exquisite Corpse drawings, and put them in a scene together.


Here is the story, as far as I have it : A tentacled merboy has discovered a lost baby bird at sea, and takes it to his friend, a confused Soot Sprite who lives on a teeny tiny island. The Soot Sprite isn’t sure what to do with it, but a ballerina-angel-sun god flies overhead and everything turns out okay.

I love that I took a picture game based on a story game, made pictures with it, and then made up a story about them. It’s like a spiral of word/art/word/art that just makes me happy!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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