Friday, September 16, 2005

The Doodle Association Game

The Doodle Association Game

Words take a backseat

Last week, in an effort to kill some time, Kim and I invented a little game. Basically, it's just Word Association with doodles instead of boring ol' words. We didn't really make up any rules before we started — they just kind of formed as we played. But I'll do my best here to explain things to you.

Person A draws something. Anything. A shape, a bridge, an amorphous blob; whatever strikes A's fancy. Person B then draws something of their own, influenced by the previous drawing. Sometimes it may be the shape; sometimes it might be the subject matter. Sometimes it might just be one little piece that looks like it could be a piece from something else. Then... it's Person A's turn again.

Pretty simple, right? It's fun to do with multiple people, but there's no reason you couldn't play all by your lonesome self. Don't fret about rules, or about creating a masterpiece; the point of the game is really just to kill time. And to tell you the truth, the simpler your drawing, the easier and more imaginative the game is.

Wait! Don't start Yet!

Direction of Doodling

One suggestion I'd like to make before you begin is to draw each doodle sequentially (as opposed to just dropping them haphazardly on the page); and as you get to the end of each line, start the next doodle directly under the last, moving in the opposite direction.

So that's it. Give it a try if you'd like. Feel free to leave a comment posting a link to your results — I love following the visual trail of how one drawing influenced the next. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get ready for my big Hollywood Super-Star meeting with Milton-Bradley and Parker Brothers...

Comments on this Article

There are currently 68 comments.

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Brilliant. I'd love to know just what's going on in the middle of line four there though. Whats after the testube, and what the hell is after that?


Well... I think the test tube led to an erupting volcano, which lead to a creepy hand...


...which lead to a creepy hand... face thing.


I think my favorite transition is "baby" to "carrot". And I'm quite proud of my "hand and dumbell". Anytime I attempt to draw anything cartoon-like it ends up looking much, much worse.


Haha! You'll have to consult Kim on that one, Pierce — that thing is her's... :)


It's an armless creature. I figured it hand enough protrusions on the rest of its body.


"hand enough protrusions." good one.

I like how when you start looking at it half way down, it's almost impossible to see which direction it is going in.

Jason Santa Maria

This is very cool visual thinking exercise!


If this was a game that you could actually get points from.....then I would give 5 points to whoever made the transition from smelly cheese to smelly socks. Awesome.


Milton Bradley, here you come!


Raindrops keep falling on the hive.

Joshua Lane

@ Jason - We should do this in the office! Maybe even put something on the wall or in the conference room.


How do you win?
A game needs a winner!


This really would be a great game for Milton-Bradley. Personally, I would also like to see Scrabbleship become a reality.


I guess the winner could be the one that stumps the other player. We'd never have a winner!

Charles G

Has anyone noticed that graphic with the red arrow guiding you through how to read the images? It's got a dropshadow on it! I could just reach into the monitor and touch it!

Details people, details.

Thats why the bearskinrug stays in my favorites folder. Well, besides all the sockmonkey content... monkeys! hehe.

Jeff Louella

This would make a cool app. Kinda like the "Draw a Pig" thingy.


This is an awesome game idea! If only we could mix this with Haiku Who somehow. I love the little diving man.


...and it ends with...ravioli?

Mmmm, ravioli.


No...It doesn't have to end -- you can keep drawing. Ok, who's next? After the ravioli, I'd draw a flying saucer. Shwoo-woosh


And after the flying saucer, I'd draw a flying saucer...of ravioli. For it is sacrilege to pass over the ravioli so quickly. Mmm...ravioli.


Did you resized it, Kev?


No - those are pretty much about the size... you could really do them any size you want, though.


if you're going to market this, you need a better name. something proactive. something that works in a whole new paradigm. like "ka-doodle!" or "crazy chain" or "doodlink" or "lines of thought" or "doodly appendages." your next steps are to pick one of these names and then write me a check.

Charles G

I was touched by his doodly appendage.


Best. Game. Ever.


Very creative and sounds like fun. I will try with a couple of friends when we're bored eating :)

Dustin Askins

My wife and I tried it out...

Doodle Assocation

Thanks for the idea!


very clever but i love it since i draw and doodle alot!!! thnx for the idea


How to get those ideas? Oh boy, I need to get creative some time.


New game: See how many of your appendages you can doodle with.


Hmmm - I like that! I'd have definite trouble with my feet, I can tell you that...


Umm. Are you kidding me. Where thge fuck do you get a volcano? It goes to a hershie's kiss and then into a fortune cookie.


Wrong direction Marley, it's the fourth line, so it's going from right to left.

Great game - time waster - brainstorming tool! I've really enjoyed it.

Glen C.

It's funny, I've been doing this for a long time when bored in class. The only difference is that I draw a shape or something with my eyes closed and see what comes of it... and I suck at drawing really bad.

Andy Havens

Neat game. Reminds me of "My Team, Your Team," a game I play with my 6.5 year old son. Described here.


Super. Have you seen "Connections" program on Discovery Channel. It used to evolve such a story starting with one thread and spanning whole world.

I wish had some drawing skills. :( ... Anyways, one thing comes to my mind is use this technique for evolving User Interface storyboards.


Glen C. - That's a pretty fun game too. Drawing with your eyes closed is very similar to drawing blind contours...

Andy - Hah, hah! That's sounds reeallllly fun - I may have to post that link! :)

Suchit - That sounds interesting! I'd love to see how something like that comes together...


i dnt get it !!!!!!!


i think it goes from the test tube - to a hershey's kiss, to a fortune cookie to a COUNT DRACULA


Kinda! You're reading that line backwards :D

But yeah... I'm not sure how Dracula and the cookie are related. Maybe because cookies drink blood.

Felipe SM

I loved this idea!!!
Really really cool!
It will be very good to use in some class... hahahah!


...but i dont get how the ball point pen turns or goes into a lobster?!!! boy, thats a thinker. I hate it...I LOVE IT.



fantastic! like a long-lost brother to "destructo" (where the next person has to draw something that either destroys, cancels, or disables whatever the previous person drew--the more elaborate the stories, the better).


Sweet! Love this kind of small games. Will try it soon.


Alice - That sounds fun! I've never heard of that... I'll have to try THAT out... :D

Pedro Markun


Somehow it brings Hesse's Das Glasperlenspiel to my mind =)

Ned Batchelder

This is a cool game. I play something similar with my kids: Doodle-O, wherein a drawing is started abstractly by one player, and must be finished concretely by another.

Tim Heaney

There's a cool word for doing things like that little red arrow is indicating: boustrophedon.


Oh my - that is an excellent word! And it's handy to know, as well — thanks Tim!

Here's the official definition...


Love it.

Just love it.


Cute game. Perhaps it should have a rule to win too.


have been , have gone, goodbye, so long.

Onno Knuvers

Now what would be cool is if we setup this up as a online commuinty thing. So one person does a doodle and then the next person does a doodle and so on and so on.

Also you can have a group situation like 6 people or so, and then you get the image back they will be heaps of changes and cool images.


Masayume - Agreed - "First person to pass out from exhaustion loses".

Onno - Yeah - that would be pretty cool! :D


wow, i do something like this all the time, except mine aren't so organized. usually someone draws a blob, and then the other person either adds to that blob or does another take on it. sometimes the blob is penguin or squid shaped.... it usually turns into a crazy landscape of jokes and fanciful drawings :D

your lines are so nice and clean though, and i find that even the slightest difference in techniques (between mine or yours) are interesting and well, i guess i'm just trying to say- thanks for the inspiration. i'm always looking out for it!


Very cool game. Reminds me of when I was a child, my dad would make a single, small mark or scribble (not as elaborate as Doodle-O mentioned above) on a piece of paper, and pass it to me. I would then have to turn it into a drawing of something. After completing it, I would make a mark of my own and pass it back to him for his turn. It was always great fun sitting in church! :) And now, 30+ yrs later, I have taught my son and daughter the same game.


That sounds like a pretty fun game as well. And I definitely wish I could do something like that during church!




Well, I can see how it wouldn't be as fun for some people. Thanks, Kooooolieo!


u people r cool:}


Your link here reminded me... I wanted to say thanks for this game. My 10-year-old loves it. When the whole family goes out to eat (extended family included), my son will flip over his paper placemat, beg a pen off someone and get started. Then we pass the placemat around. We've had as many as 6 people participating while we wait for our food! Thank you!


Hahaha - awesome! Any chance for me to see the results?


Ooo... I need to try this next time I'm out with the girlfriend. I've always settled for plain 'ol hangman or tic-tac-toe. This is much cooler, despite what that wet blanket KOOOOOLIEO says.


I'll have to remember to keep it next time we're all out. We usually leave the art at the restaurant when we go. I'm sure the restaurants have all kept them and framed them in the employee break rooms. It's really fun when there's no pen so we use the restaurant supplied crayons.


I want to say I love how how you did line 5 I think it is exerlent I just want to thank you for spendin time to do this and putting it on the internet for every one to see so thanks.


Me and my friends play a similar game howvever it is a little diffrent. Everyone playing choses a diffrent color pen or colored pencil and peroson 1 draws a doodle or sqwiggle and then person two completes it by making it whatever they want. Person 2 then draws a doodle for 3 and so on. It is a great game to kill time and laugh a lot.


I like how you form and form the different shapes!!! 8-)
*thumbs up*

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