A friend gave me this idea after relating a story of his childhood travels. In order to keep the kids in the backseat entertained, his mother would take pieces of paper and draw random lines and squiggles on them and then hand each child a sheet with the lines on it. She would have the kids use the existing lines to draw a picture from their imagination. Once a picture was handed back as “completed”, she would repeat the process all over again.

This exercise is much like “cloud watching.” I have conducted this exercise with designers, illustrators, writers, editors, musicians, programmers, administrative assistants, developers, instructional designers, project managers, and more in order to get the “creative juices” flowing and to encourage thinking outside-the-box.

Below are three separate squiggles for this exercise and a few samples from a completed one.

Squiggle 1 Squiggle 3 Squiggle 2

Below is a sample “squiggle” and how varied the approaches can be to a simple line.
Squiggle 3 Example

Squig Alien TV Squig Lyle Lovett Squish squish

This is a great way to stimulate your imagination and keep the creative juices flowing. If you find yourself in a slow paced environment and have time on your hands, grab a scrap of paper and have fun.

Another variation on this exercise is working on the same squiggle drawing with another person. Take turns adding to the image by handing it back and forth or looking over each other’s shoulder. This can become a fun collaborative exercise used in this fashion.

Now you try it. Enjoy!

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