Draw Something – Illustrate Everything

Have you played this Pictionary-like, turn-based, quasi-illustration game yet? If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, I guess the answer is “probably.” I actually just found out about it recently, but according to the developers it’s “***The #1 Free App, #1 Paid App and #1 Word Game in over 80 countries!***”
I don’t know that I’d classify it as a word game at all — though you are indeed given a topic to illustrate and a forum in which to share it (which reminds me of something else, actually).

To me, it’s more of a drawing game… conceptual illustration, to be exact. It works like this: The turn starts when you’re given three choices of words to draw. You take your pick and make your pic — crafting the best sketch you can muster within the confines of your screen and digital-screen drawing ability. Then you hit “Send.” Presto: Your drawing is whooshed off to your friend, whose job it is now to try and guess what word you were drawing. The better they guess, the better your game. So it’s kind of a collaboration.

One fun thing is that your friend doesn’t just see the finished illustration, but rather gets to “watch” you draw it as each line and dot falls into place. This turns out to be a big help to both the illustrator and the guesser, in my experience — you can infer a lot from what your friend chose to depict first and last. It’s also fun that the words you draw are categorized by difficulty when you choose them, so a beginner can work on an artistic rendering of something simple like “Cat,” while more experienced Draw-Something-ers can opt to take on, say, “Socialism.” I think you get more coins, or something, for drawing the harder words, but so far I haven’t found much use for the coins.

The most fun thing though, to me at least, is getting to see your friends’ drawings. My friends — even the ones who aren’t artists — are *fantastic* artists if you ask me. Part of it is that a tiny glass screen is a great leveler of artistic skill, and while there are certainly folks who can do amazing things within the i-devices’ constraints, most of us just try to get by on our cleverness. Or that of our friends. But the fun also comes from seeing how your friends see things.

If you’re given, for example, “seasick,” do you draw a person with a green face and hope your friend will know it’s not a martian? Do you draw the sea, *then* some image of illness? Or will your friend get hung up and think you’re imagining some kind of underwater hospital? Also, they’ll be guessing your word based on not just the picture, but a jumble of letters that includes s-e-a-s-i-c-k. What if they get confused and think you meant to draw the suggestion that they “ask ice”? Unlikely, but still.

It’s really fun to factor in not just what something looks like, but how well you can draw it and how well your friend can guess it.
Once you’ve played a few rounds of Draw Something, you begin to conclude that it’s actually not a word game at all — in fact, using words in your drawings is kind of a last resort. (I’ve done it; I’ll admit, but I try not to.) Rather, it’s a fun distraction that makes a game out of illustration itself. Oh, and if you can think of a good way to draw the idea of “Frenemy,” please let me know. It’s my turn, and I hate keeping my friend waiting.
Here are some of my favorite illustrations from my games so far. I thought I did a particularly nice job on “Floss.”

I just wish I could get Penelope to play me.

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Posted by admin on 04/26/12 under everyday art
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