Can You Draw the X House?
- Draw a square base with an ‘x’ inside and a triangle roof on top, using a single continuous line (no retracing existing lines).
- Do not lift pencil until finished.
- How many different ways can you draw the x house?
Now Do It Again. And Again!
I wish I could remember who taught me the X House. (Was it Grandpa, with all his novelties? Dad, with his paper-and-pencil puzzles? Whoever watched me in nursery that one time and taught me how to play a space version of Battleship on a blank sheet of paper?) It’s possible that I’ve passed this drawing game onto more people than any other drawing exercise or technique.
If you haven’t yet tried drawing the X House, please do so now. It takes less than 30 seconds. Go ahead—you can draw it on any old scrap of paper.
Did you do it? Yay!
OK, now do it again—but this time, start your drawing at a different point. (If you started on a side wall, maybe start with the bottom or the roof.) Try this 5 different times, even if you aren’t able to properly complete the house.
By now you likely either love the X House or you hate it. Either way, you’ve probably noticed that this “drawing” is more of a puzzle—a game. That’s what I love about the X House.
For me, this simple little game sums up so much of what I love about drawing:
- How one can create meaning (a house) using only a handful of lines.
- How creators often have their choice from dozens of approaches toward completing a drawing with the same end result, but that the creator’s choice of approach actually changes the creator’s experience with the drawing.
- How mindful, meditative, thoughtful, and relaxing drawing can be.
- How the low stakes of pencil on paper afford the creator opportunities to learn, grow, solve problems, complete a task, and look like a complete loon.
- The importance of means that harmonize with the end—finding or making a process that is just as satisfying as looking at the end result.
I guess what I love most about the X House is that it makes me think about drawing in a different way: a drawing doesn’t have to be a perfectly rendered portrait in order to “count”. A drawing can “work” in different ways or serve other purposes.
What are some other drawing games you’ve played? Have they helped your drawing or helped you think about drawing in new ways? Can ”non’artists” play drawing games?
If you’re interesting in learning how to write and draw your own comics, check out my book Let’s Make Comics! An Activity Book to Create, Write, and Draw Your Own Cartoons.
A light-hearted interactive guide to comics and cartoon-making that uses an activity book format and creatively stimulating prompts to teach the fundamentals of cartooning in a fun and easy-to-follow fashion.
From a working cartoonist and comic book making instructor, this all-ages activity book uses humorous and informative one-page comics and exercise prompts to guide young readers (and readers who are young at heart) through easy-to-master lessons on the skills needed to make comics. The activities cover a range of essential comics-making tasks from creating expressions for characters to filling in blank panels to creating original characters and placing them in adventures of their own. Each exercise can stand on its own or work together with others in the book to stimulate creativity via the comics medium. In the end, readers who complete the activities inside the book itself will have created several comics of their own, and will have generated many ideas for more sequential art creations.
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3 Comments Add yours
I order your book ” Let’s make comics” for my 10 yrs. son. He loves it. Living in Hawaii is wonderful. But the downside is not having alot of things that the mainland has. Your book has helped a 10 yrs. boy!!! Mahalo!
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No way! This makes me so happy to hear. Thank you for sharing.