Friday, April 1, 2016

Miximals with Ben Clanton

In the last post I did for the whatsit blog (back in November!) I talked about different ways of keeping final art loose and free. My eighth tip for loosening up was about warm-ups. Today I thought I'd share one of my favorite warm-up games. It isn't all that complex, but it tends to be a favorite among illustrators for good reason. I've heard this game called many things, but the one I like best is 'miximals.'


When I play this game at school presentations and book readings I ask the audience for three different animal names. If you do play this game with kids it can be fun to pretend to mishear the suggestion or misremember it. For example, if a kid suggests a 'dog' then I might say 'Emu?! Great idea!' . . . the kids love to shout back what the actual suggestion was. BUT seeing as I do not have an audience in my studio tonight I decided to simply search online for a 'random animal generator' which turned out great. An alternative is to rip up a bunch of paper scraps and write creature names on the different scraps, put them in a bucket, and draw out a few from the bucket. Once you have three animal names or two or ten then the next step is to simply draw a picture of all those creatures mashed together. I find this never fails to get my creative juices flowing. It is both fun and challenging. You can also take it a step further and determine the name for the creature by mixing the names of the creatures.


There is a writing game I enjoy playing sometimes that is similar to maiximals in which I write a bunch of random words down, select a few, and then have to use all those words in either a sentence or a short story. The more words the bigger the challenge and the more interesting the result!

I'd love to see what sort of miximals you come up with!
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