Ready, Set, Draw!

After discovering the “Mythical Createures” game at Amazon recently, I wondered if there were more “drawing activity” sets available, so off I went on a search.

I quickly found an art game called “Ready, Set, Draw!” It’s simple, and to me, simple means lots of fun. I’m hoping to have Madox and Carsen here soon for another “Art Day” in the studio so we can try out this new game.

Unlike Mythical Createures, which is suggested for ages 13 and up, the Ready, Set, Draw! game can be enjoyed by much younger children, even pre-schoolers.

The emphasis is on finding different ways to draw. It turns the activity of drawing from a “skill” into a simple means of having fun.

There are, you see, two small decks of cards. One contains various subjects — all quite easy.

Subjects include the sun, a flower, a tree, rain, horizontal lines, and one card tells you to draw whatever you want. But that’s only half of the game.

The second set of cards provides “how-to” instructions. You might be asked to do your drawing as fast as you can, to draw upside down, or even to draw with your eyes closed!

When I “play-tested” the game, my cards instructed me to draw the sun — as fast as I could. I grabbed my sketchbook, a yellow marker, and voila! Not much of a sun, but it was fun all the same. 

From here, however, the instructions are slightly less clear:

Turn over the top card from the striped WHAT deck and the spotted HOW deck. Each player will draw their interpretation of what the two cards instruct.

When all the players have finished drawing, flip the next card in each deck and repeat.

Okay, I get the idea, but do you start with a blank sheet each time? I’m a little confused on this point because the MATERIALS NEEDED list suggests “at least 6 sheets of paper for each player”, and the game rules go on to state that “the game is over when all players have completed ten rounds of drawing…”

It would be easy enough to combine several drawings on one sheet — drawing a house, as an example, then adding a tree, a flower, clouds or another object. Some of the WHAT cards don’t fit well here, though, such as drawing “waves” or… well, yes, it’s a tad bit confusing to me. Keep in mind, though, I’m old, and I confuse easily.

A variation is to use the “spinner” included. Again, I’m a little confused here. There is a spinner, yes, and there are also 2 “Spin for How Many” cards that can be included in the “HOW” deck.  Again, this comes directly from the game instructions:

WANT TO ADD AN EXTRA SPIN TO THE GAME?

Shuffle all the cards into one deck. Make sure to include the two “SPIN FOR HOW MANY” cards.

Each player will spin the spinner at the beginning of each round to determine how many cards to flip from the deck.

Each players will draw their interpretation of what ALL the cards say.

When all the players have finished drawing, spin the spinner again and repeat.

So, wait, just a minute. If we spin the spinner before each round, what’s the point of having SPIN FOR HOW MANY cards in the deck? What do we do if we draw a SPIN FOR HOW MANY card? Goodness! This is a game suitable for pre-schoolers, and this great-grandmother can’t even figure it out.

More than a “drawing” game, this is really a game about encouraging creativity, using the imagination, and adding narrative to art. It really doesn’t matter much if the directions are a bit unclear because the cards can be used in many different ways. There aren’t any winners or losers, and the point of it all is to have fun with art.

I wish games like this had been available when I was a child. Maybe I could have seen art — and specifically, drawing — in a more positive way. Maybe I could truly have had fun with it.

While I doubt that Madox and Carsen will have as much fun with this as they did with Mythical Createures, I think they’ll still enjoy the silliness of random prompts and different methods of drawing. Once they’ve given it a try, I’ll be sure to report back with another look at Ready, Set, Draw!

One other thing — I think these simple prompts could be excellent as part of art therapy. For me, anything that takes me back to childhood and allows me to create positive drawing experiences helps me overcome the frustrations of the past so that I can continue healing my inner art child. Even my quickly-drawn sun made me feel good about myself. See? I can do this!

Now, as I sit here looking at my sun, I’m smiling, thinking about variations I could make, seeing how much my sun resembles the bloom of a sunflower, and feeling that art is something I really do enjoy. If this little game can encourage these feelings in young artists, it’s definitely a winner with me.

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