This is a fun party game that can be done with any size group. It’s a great way to break the ice with a new group of friends, or keep the kids entertained on a rainy day. Even people who don’t think they can make art get really into this game.
I recommend about 4-6 people in each group; if you have more people than that, just make two or more smaller groups.
You don’t need an actual photocopier to do this game, but if you have easy access to one, GO FOR IT!
- A timer (clock app on a phone works fine)
- One piece of paper (blank piece of paper, scrapbook paper, junk paper from leftover crafting, etc.) per person– this is the “base”
- Sharpies (or other markers), pens, colored pencils
- Gluesticks or tape
- Old magazines or other paper to cut images out of
- Optional: paint, washi tape, hole punches, ribbon, stickers, other things to decorate with
The goal for this game is to let go and MAKE ART. Don’t overthink each round. Don’t worry about making ugly art. Whatever happens, happens– and that’s what’s so cool about this! It’s a collaborative art creation, and you CAN’T control what the final product will look like…so just don’t worry about it!
The main set-up of the game is 5 minutes per round. Use the timer to keep track. After each round, pass your artwork to the person on your left.
Round 1: Write
Write with a marker, a pen, a Sharpie, a White-Out bottle. Write whatever you want. Maybe it’s a poem you’ve memorized, or today’s diary entry, or random words that float into your head.
Think of this stage as just getting shapes onto paper. It doesn’t matter what you write– the final product will be a collage of layered textures and graphics, so don’t worry too much about writing the “perfect” thing.
Round 2: Draw
Doodle shapes, lines, dots. Do a portrait of the person sitting next to you. What’s your dog look like, or your house?
I am not a good draw-er, but I can do shapes, lines, dots, and simple flowers! I bet you can, too.
Round 3: Cut & Paste
Cut out images and text from the magazines, and glue them down to the base paper.
This can be broken up into two rounds if needed, one to find images to cut out and one to glue them down. It depends on what you want for the final look: more time to cut out images means more cut + paste-heavy art pieces at the end. I tend to prefer a more doodle-y, drawn sort of look, but other people like it to look more like a collage. It’s up to you!
Like the other rounds, this can be whatever you wish. Cut out images, or words, or random shapes. You might want to cut out themed images, like all animals, or just do all words. Whatever you like!
Round 3.5: Photocopy
One person from each group (or the event organizer) takes the artwork and makes photocopies. Admittedly this works best if you have access to a copier right away (like at work or school), but you can also just scan the artwork into a computer and print out copies as grayscale.
>> Don’t have a scanner? Use a scanner app like Genius Scan!
So the goal with this Photocopy step is to mesh everything together. What was a giant mess of colors, styles, and art suddenly become more cohesive because it’s all in grayscale.
I recently did a round of Photocopy art with some teens; they were VERY interested in how the bright magazine colors turned into grayscale after I photocopied them. It also made them want to add color back on, kind of like they’d made a coloring book and were ready to add to it.
That said…you may not WANT it to look cohesive! Maybe you dig the messy, chaotic vibe and just want to keep going with that. That’s totally cool, too. Adapt these instructions to your own tastes– and let me know how it turns out!
I recommend that everyone starts working on another base during this photocopy break. Then, you can photocopy that 2nd artwork while this 1st one is being colored.
(What to do with the un-scanned artwork after the game? Use them in junk journals!)
Round 4: Color
Once you have a new grayscale base, you can go ahead and add color! Use paint, markers, colored pencils, Sharpies, whatever you want to give it color. Paint whole swatches of color, or do little tiny dots with gel pens.
Have everyone sign their names on the backs of the artwork they worked on. Finally: display your artwork somewhere, like a peg line.
Let me know if you try this at home! I’d love to see what you come up with.