top of page

Exquisite Corpse

Created for Saturday Art with University of Cincinnati (Ages 9-10)

Lesson Summary:
In this project students will be working together to create collaborative exquisite corpses. Each student will create a fantastical creature and cut it into 3 parts, head, body, and legs and trade with the other students to create an entirely new creature even stranger than the one they originally drew.

Specific Objectives:
Students will:

  • Draw a creature on their original paper and transform it into an exquisite corpse.

  • Use teamwork and communication to make sure every classmate can swap their parts and create a unique creature.

  • Reflect on how trading with their classmates has changed their creature.

Materials List: White paper 12’’x15’’, Pencils, Markers, Crayons, Colored Pencils, Tape

Instructional Aides:

  • Examples of exquisite corpses

  • What is an exquisite corpse?

  • Exquisite Corpse is a vintage drawing game that was played by surrealists such as Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray in the 1920s. Based on an old parlor game called Consequences that broke a story down into a set structure, Exquisite Corpse breaks down a drawing of a body into three sections: a head, torso, and legs. By keeping each section a surprise from the next person, the combinations become spontaneous and outrageous.

Vocabulary: Trade, Exquisite Corpse


Pre-class Preparation:

  • Each paper should have marks at 5’’ from the top and bottom along the long side

  • At the same measurement mark where the neck with and the hip width will be so student can match up their body parts later.

  • Have drawing materials listed laid out and sorted by type in enough bins for each group to have one container of each drawing material.


  • Have students come in and sit on ground as a group.

  • Explain what an exquisite corpse is and a brief history about them as provided above.

Art Activity:

  • Have student go to their seats

  • One student should pass out only the prepared papers.

  • Explain what the marks on the page represent.

  • Have each student spend 10-12 minutes drawing each body part: head, torso, legs.

  • Once all students have drawn their creatures, show them how to cut along the lines drawn at the 5’’ marks to cut the head, torso, and legs apart.

  • Pick one student from each table to collect the drawing materials for their group and bring them back to the table.

  • Have students get up and begin trading their parts. Make sure to explain rules first.

  • Rules for trading:

  • They must keep one and only one part from their original drawing, it doesn’t matter which.

  • The other two body parts of their exquisite corpse must come from two different students, totaling drawings from three different students to compose their final exquisite corpse.

  • If someone can not complete their exquisite corpse with parts from three different artists, the students must continue to trade until this is possible.

  • Once all students have the parts of their exquisite corpses show them how to attach them together to form a final piece by taping along the cut sides.

  • Once their exquisite corpses are assembled, the students must each give their exquisite corpses a name.


Clean up:

  • For the last 5 minutes

  • Students should return all drawing materials to the bins as they found them.

  • They must then return the bins to where they were at the beginning of class.

  • Search for any paper scraps or pieces of tape on the ground and throw them away.

  • Reflection/Critique/Assessment:

  • While assembling their exquisite corpses they should discuss what the name of their creature is and why they chose that name.

  • Students should also find the other students that have the parts they drew and find out what creatures the rest of their drawing turned into.


De Bethune, Agnes. (02/06/2023). Exquisite Corpse.

AIGA Tampa Bay. (02/06/2023). DIY: How to Exquisite Corpse. Cage Brewing.

bottom of page