Creativity Exercise: The Scribble Grid

Courtesy of a very fun 8-year-old, this activity is great for filling a little time in a creative way. It could also be used as an icebreaker or as an ideation warm-up.

First, divide a drawing surface into a number of cells. If it's just you and one other person, a regular piece of paper works well. You could also do this on a whiteboard with as many (or as few) cells as you need for the number of participants and the time available.

Second, make a squiggle or simple shape in each cell. Vary the positioning within the cell. Make each different from the others. Leave generous white space.

Third, taking turns cell by cell, add to the cell and incorporate the squiggle into something more.

Here's an example:

a grid of eleven irregularly-shaped cells, each with a different shape of line drawn inside

And after a round of turn-taking: delightful!

the same eleven-cell grid, with each line built upon to make a drawing or scene

This composite view shows both the starting squiggles and the end.

the eleven-cell grid with the completed drawings, with each original line highlighted

From left to right on each row:

  • a star person ogling an ice cream cone
  • the rear of a pig
  • Venomous Pegasus
  • cake with fruit
  • a duck looking over its shoulder while taking a step back
  • the view from inside the shark
  • a quizzical figure in a helmeted suit
  • a moray appreciating the moon
  • one eye looking to the side
  • the other eye looking to the same side
  • a strange alien figure in profile