Make of It What You Will

“Art Days” with grandsons Madox and Carsen are always fun times around our house. Our most recent Art Day involved making a few “mythical creatures”, using a set of prompt cards.

The cards are available at Amazon, and if you have young children or grandchildren, I highly recommend this set. It’s fun, it’s creative, it’s imaginative, and best of all, it allows you to make of it what you will. That is to say, there are no “strict rules” to follow, no “winners and losers”, no “right and wrong” about what you create or how you go about creating it.

In other words, it’s an ideal family activity that everyone can enjoy!

The manufacturer — Drawing Deck LLC — lists the set as suitable for ages 13 and up, but that’s only a suggestion. Madox and Carsen are younger (10 and 11 years old, respectively) and they fully enjoyed the game.

Mythical Createures began as a “crowd-funded” project. You can find a fun interview with the deck’s creator, P. E. Robinson, here.

While it might be called an “art game”, it’s more about imagination and creativity than drawing skill. Don’t expect to end up with “mythical creatures” that look like the cover illustration on the box, however. Expect to see something more along the lines of the “Grandpa Monster” — so named because Grandpa joined in the fun and drew this creature:

Or something like this “Bengal Raccoon Cat” in a Candy Factory, courtesy of yours truly:

Please do go right ahead and laugh at these silly sketches, and trust me, if you get this game and play it, you’re going to hear lots of laughter.

In the past, our “art days” have sometimes been a bit tricky. When we’re working on specific projects, it’s often difficult to find the balance between letting the boys show their creativity and teaching them the importance of following directions. With “Mythical Createures” there was none of that. It’s designed for improvisation and spontaneity as well as for absolute silliness. We played with the prompt cards in several different ways.

First, we tried a “Round Robin” drawing. I don’t know where that drawing ended up. Maybe one of the boys took it home. I don’t have a photo of it, but let me explain how the process works.

There are 150 prompt cards in the complete set. These are divided into 5 different categories:

  • Small animals
  • Medium animals
  • Large animals
  • Detail
  • Habitat

For the “Round Robin” we flipped one of each color and laid them out on the table. Our prompts were:

  • Bat
  • Wolf
  • Zebra
  • Zombie
  • Kitchen

There were only four of us and we weren’t sure how to use the “Zombie” detail, so we agreed to set that one aside. One by one, we took turns drawing and ultimately ended up with a wolf-like creature with a striped body and the wings of a bat. Placing this “Zebra-Striped Vampire Wolf” in a kitchen setting was hilarious! Just coming up with a suitable name for our creation was fun in itself.

We took a break then while a pizza was baking in the oven, but the boys didn’t want to stop playing. On their own they started creating more monsters, randomly drawing different prompts.

Here Madox started drawing the tail feathers of a peacock. I was quite impressed!

Carsen, meanwhile, had quite an elaborate monster happening on his paper. Note his different interpretation for peacock feathers.

Another “plus” for this project was the simplicity of our set-up. I put out a lot of drawing pencils, provided a stack of small watercolor sheets, made sure erasers were handy, and had both my Mermaid Markers and a small watercolor set nearby, along with a variety of watercolor brushes. No one used the watercolor, but we did make good use of the Mermaid Markers.

After pizza, we picked up where we left off, this time drawing 5 cards that we would each use for a drawing. Our prompts were:

  • Cat
  • Raccoon
  • Tiger
  • Robot
  • Candy Factory

Oh, that “robotic” detail brought shrieks of laughter and happiness. The boys are very much “into” robots, and you could almost see the wheels turning in their brains. Here’s Carsen, wholly immersed in adding colorful detail to his drawing:

All the while, there’s excited chatter going on. Carsen talked about his robot cat having licorice whiskers, and Madox starting talking about how his robot pressed the wrong button and the candy factory exploded. I loved hearing their stories!

Of the different ways we used the cards, this was the most fun, we all agreed. It was fascinating to see how each of us could start with the same ideas and come up with different drawings and different stories. We shared ideas, talking as we drew, and through it all there was so much laughter!

Our next version of “Mythical Createures” was for each of us to draw 5 cards and create our own individual monsters. We agreed that if anyone got a card that they absolutely did not want to use, they could exchange it for another or simply disregard it. Carsen made a special request. He wanted the “Robot” prompt again. We happily agreed.

By the end of our “Art Day”, we had quite a collection to show off, and lots of hilarious stories about these creatures and why they were on the beach, in a candy factory, or — heavens forbid — in my kitchen!

Grandpa looks a little ragged after a day of drawing, but he agreed to pose for the picture and show off his work.

We quickly cleaned up our drawing area and called the day a success. We’re looking forward to getting out these prompt cards again and making many more “mythical creatures”.

 

10 Comments

  1. Great to know. In the Australian high school art curriculum there used to be something similar. Know our kids loved doing those. We used to ask them to blend 2 or 3 creatures into 1and then talk about what it was called and its special features. Must see if this is available over my way. Thanks šŸ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds just like the idea behind “Mythical Createures”. Of all the “art projects” we’ve done with the grandkids, this one was definitely the best. Just listening to them talk about their creatures was so much fun. It really stimulated their imaginations — as well as their art!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was so much fun to do this “art game” with the boys. We all enjoyed it, and just listening to the stories they made up about their creatures was awesome! It really stimulated their imaginations.

      Liked by 1 person

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