honoriartist (honoriartist) wrote,

Space Mermaid - Gesture Drawing Game

To develop physical identity with a pose by becoming the pose
To personalize the actions of a character by creating the actions for other students
To identify the dramatic story-telling elements of a pose by seeing interpretations in drawings of others

Drawing supplies
Props such as hats, toys, fabrics

Student homework was to draw a person much younger or much older than the student. One of my students drew her 6-year-old neice as homework.  The neice turned it into a game and demanded that my student guess what she was posing as.  My student guessed wrong and the neice announced that she was posing as a "space mermaid".  When my student told the story in class, it became obvious to our learning community to start playing space mermaid right away.  So when the model did not show up students took turns modeling as a character.  Artist students drew the modeling student, then had to guess what kind of character the model was enacting through their gesture pose.  The missed interpretations made it fun, while at the same time showing that gestures can be interpreted differently.

Last night our lesson was drawing crowds as a unit and the next lesson is on animals.  So the first hour of drawing 3 students took turns being a crowd creating a narrative for everyone to draw.

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The second hour of drawing we played space mermaid and student acted our animals.  The student drew the model in the form of a hybrid animal-human creature.


  1. One or more person poses as a character or animal.

  2. Everyone else draws interpreting the pose to capture BOTH the gesture and the character/animal quality

  3. Drawing students tell their interpretation and show drawing

  4. Model student tells what character/animal/story they were portraying.

We give students 7 minutes to develop a composition of their strongest gestures incorporating more than one drawing.  This time includes the ability to cut out and reconfigure elements on a separate paper.  Students drawing in digital programs do this automatically in class anyway.

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A focus of the class was to create narragive art by using multiple models as a stand-in for a crowd.  I really enjoyed playing "space mermaid" animal edition. I feel like you were able to put story in your drawing... I have a minute at the end to add detail and story.  I feel like this would have been a great class to take before storyboarding.  Aaron B.

I really enjoyed the space mermaid game with animals and crowds.  The animal part made my creative gears really turn.  The crowd part was a challenge for me.  Drawing 3 people in 3 minutes was a challenge.  I really want to work on line quality.  It I can fix it then I can start adding leading edges to my images.  Really thought about relationships more during this session.  You can see it with my Phoenix and Monkey.  Looks like the two know each other or are speaking. Kim B.

I was a lot mor comfortable & seemed to really understand the dimensions to create animals from imagination through the space mermaid technique.  Using complementary colors and light and dark contrast made it easy to distinguish different characters in the group staging drawings.  Doug G.

I really enjoyed making hybrid characters.  Looking at everyone's drawing it seems like no model days have a certain excitement to them, creating a game according to Carnen's story was very successful. Staging is starting to get easier for myself and others in the classroom.  Much improvement in everyone and I feel I have improved on many things using staging props and showing directional force.  Lerma

Wow!  Today was fun!  We all go to be hybrid characters!  Using my very own space mermaid technique we got to become our very own animals and strech our creativity to the limits of all kinds of force.  We also go to interact with drawing crowds whch was very new and exciting.  Carmen N.


One ideal in gesture drawing is spontaneity, however students often get bogged down in self criticism or trying to make their drawing realistic.  I use many tricks to bring action and energy to their drawings, however, nothing tops modeling spontaneity as a teaching tool.  So when a student brought up the story of space mermaid I jumped on it as a class spawned "technique" to incorporate into their practice of gesture drawing.  Turning gesture drawing into a full participatory game worked wonders to loosen up the students.  First they were creative as models, and they became more creative as artists.  The cycle was fun, engaging, and the lessons from the day were integrated into the drawings.

I recommend watching out for opportunity to turn student stories into games and challenging the to integrate their creativity as models as well as artists.  They will be the actors in their animations since the motions they give their characters will be part of their creative futures in media arts and animation and in game art.
Tags: gesture drawing, lesson plan, space mermaid, student comments, student work, teaching

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