-Comics, as a storytelling medium, have a tremendous attraction to artists because they allow for unlimited expression of individual vision. But, as with all enduring art forms, they’re also a medium filled with an endless well of innovation. This comic-making experiment is intended to give cartoonists a fresh way to draw from that well.

The image on the left here is an “Exquisite Corpse” cartoon. Made popular by the Surrealists, this method presents a great narrative challenge for cartoonists and also gives them an opportunity to respond to, and directly interact with, one another’s unique storytelling and drawing styles. It’s a great way to build your flexibility, appreciation, and creative freedom. Here’s what we’re going to do;

The challenge is open to a six-person team of cartoonists. Each member of the team will draw on one half of a comic page and then those pages will be randomly given to a new artist for completion. At no point will the second artist know what the first one drew. Once the first two rounds of drawings are complete, and we have three full pages of comics, the group will assemble them into a loose kind of narrative structure and the next set of pages will pick up from there. No over-arching narrative or genre is proscribed when we begin but, by the end of the experiment, we’ll see a connection between the styles begin to emerge.

This experiment works best using a limited amount of drawing time, usually no more than an hour or two for each round. We’ll be running the whole sequence several times throughout the workshop with an understanding that participants may not be able to be on-hand for the full 24hours. Cartoonists wishing to register for this experiment should indicate their preferred availability over the weekend so others can give it a try. But you must around to draw at least two rounds (i.e. one full page).

* One thing to mention here that’s a bit different than some of our other comic-making challenges is the idea of ownership. It’s quite a lot of fun to have these comic pages around after they’re complete, but each page are original drawings made by two different people. We will have a method on hand for allowing artists to do their work on each page independently from one another so there’s no question of who winds up with the original but, frankly, its really cool to have a page that you and someone else drew together. We will also have the opportunity to scan these pages in order to give everyone a digital copy.


-beginner and above. This is a creativity exercise useful to writers and artists of all levels so, please, don’t feel hampered by lack of experience. Even though you may be collaborating with more experienced cartoonists, please feel free to use your own approach without hesitation, shame, or self-consciousness. We’re all exquisite corpses around here.


-this experiment will be run in two hour intervals over the 24hr period, so cartoonists can sign up to do as many of them as they wish. It’s also an excellent choice for people who are planning to participate in the workshop off-site via an online connection. If you’re interested in running an off-site version of this experiment that we can connect to online and support, please contact us HERE. (please note: unfortunately, off-site work will NOT be part of the comic produced at the workshop.)


-access to a laptop and large format (11X17in) scanner that utilizes Comiclife and photoshop (some hands-on assistance provided in using each of these programs)

-Layout bond paper for generating thumbnails

-a large format printer


-11X17in bristol board for finished artwork

-inking materials that are comfortable to the cartoonist. All work for this experiment will be in black & white

-bringing your own sketchbook is particularly useful for this experiment, and I suggest it, but layout bond paper will be provided for those who need it

-a more detailed list of suggested materials, and how to keep it cheap, can be found here


though I can’t find the names for all the artist on this illustration it, and others like it can be found at; http://animalsleepstories.blogspot.com/2012/07/exquisite-corpse-drawings.html