SchoolArts Room

A Studio Lesson Based on Exquisite Corpse

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Jan 2, 2017

Picture consequences is a circle game in which a group of people cooperatively draw a person or creature. It was played by the Surrealists, where it was known as exquisite corpse, although that name also described a process of writing instead of drawing. The person is drawn in portions, with the paper folded after each portion so that later participants cannot see earlier portions. At the end, the paper is unfolded and the completed figure is revealed.

exquisite corpse drawing, student artwork
exquisite corpse drawing, student artwork

Picture Consequences or Exquisite Corpse


Students will:

  • recognize the work of Surrealist artists.
  • collaborate on a detailed exquisite corpse drawing.

Warm Up
Discuss Surrealism, picture consequences, and exquisite corpse. Demonstrate procedures for exquisite corpse drawing.


  • 6" x 18" white drawing paper
  • pencils
  • fineline black markers
  • colored pencils
  • teacher-made PowerPoint on Surrealism

Have students fold the 6" x 18"white paper into four equal parts, leaving the paper folded. Ask them to draw a head of a person or animal in the first section so that the finished drawing would be vertically positioned, making the drawing fill that section. They should draw in pencil and then outline with black marker. Color can be added with color pencils or markers at this time or later when the main drawing is complete.

Next, have students refold the drawings so the the head is not visible (bend it back) and pass it to the next person to their left (they will take one from the person on their right).

In the second section, students draw a torso of a person or animal. Students continue in this method, drawing legs in the third section and feet in the last. When the final section is complete, students open the drawing to see the figure combined, the result of four different artists.


  • Surrealism
  • exquisite corpse/picture consequences

To what extent did students:

  • recognize the work of Surrealist artists?
  • collaborate on a detailed exquisite corpse drawing?