Meanwhile in the Art Classroom: Exquisite Corpse Books
What is an exquisite corpse? An exquisite corpse is a surrealist type of artwork where each artist has a roll in creating a collective image. In groups of three, each player will draw a third of a drawing that is composed of a head, torso, and legs/feet. The surreal aspect is created when the piece is unfolded and opened to see what crazy creation was designed without knowing!
Click here for more instructions on how to play the exquisite corpse drawing game. Students are also to follow a sentence structuring template to write an exquisite poem to go with their piece of the corpse.
Students learned the printmaking process, etching, using plexiglass to etch into the plate in order to make multiples of their exquisite corpses.
This photo shows an example of the plate and two prints
(plate is on left, with original drawing on bottom to trace.) Students made three total prints, to practice making a series of prints.
I ran every students' prints through the copy machine and shrunk them down to half the original size in an effort to save a few trees. The students got their prints back and colored them in using colored pencil. Once every student completed the coloring I ran them through the copier for a second time. This time, making enough copies of each print for every student in the class.
Now, every student exchanged prints. These prints are going to be our book pages! The students folded each print in half, so that the poem was on one side and the print was on the other. Once all pages were folded, students used red Rosen paper and the texture rubbing technique to design a book cover!
Texture rubbings are a super easy way to create fun, unique, and layer-able art. It is a simple process, too. Lay the paper on top of any texture! IE: A wall, a tree, brick, any object that FEELS like something. Now, take a crayon. Lay the crayon sideways. "Rub" or color with the crayon gently on the paper and watch as the texture below it appears on your paper! Shout out to my co-art teacher for this awesome book cover example!
The students used glue and cardboard strips to bind their books together. The following photos show how to bind the book pages together.
Finally, Students took their texture rubbing book cover and glued it around the black binding paper (which is just black construction paper) to complete their book. Students gave their book a title and listed the author (themselves.)
This project is adaptable to any grade level! Pages could be left blank to use as sketchbooks, or could do a simpler form of printing to create the prints/pages. The cross curricular connection that students got with the writing aspect not only made for a more interesting book, but also gave their drawings more purpose to have a fun poem to go with it that tells its story!
Students were given a packet at the beginning of the project to help guide them through the process. It included examples of an exquisite corpse book, examples of various exquisite corpse drawings for inspiration, the history of the exquisite corpse art making, and a template and examples of the sentence structuring for the poem. In the back of the packet, I included the rubric which I based the grading of their prints from. The book covers and then book itself got separate grades. I wanted to to give them an entire grade based on the understanding and success of texture rubbings. Their whole finished book was graded based on craftsmanship; how well was the book bound? Were the pages falling out? Were the pages evenly placed? Does the book cover fully cover the pages? Is there a visible title, author, textures?
Click here for a an printable PDF of the rubric and handout.
art teacher Spo