Leadership Inspirations Activities

Back To Back Drawing

An activity that requires a participant to draw what their partner describes to them


20-30 minutes

Team Stage

Storming, Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity


Clipboard With Blank Paper, Pencils, Drawing Template



This activity tests communication and listening skills by asking participants to take turn drawing what their partner describes to them and describing an image to their partner.



  • Before meeting with your group, create a drawing(s) to use during the activity (can be of anything: random shapes, a scene etc). Make enough photo copies for half of your group.
  • Divide your group into pairs (or groups of three with one person as an observer) and have them sit back to back.
  • Give one person a clipboard with a blank piece of paper and a pencil or pen, they are the ‘drawer’.
  • Give the other person the printed template of the picture to be drawn, they are the ‘direction giver’.


  • The ‘direction giver’ has to get the ‘drawer’ to draw an exact duplicate of the picture drawn on their sheet using only verbal directions.
  • After they are done, the partners should compare the template with what was drawn.


  • You can perform this activity by having partners sit back to back in a line with all of the ‘direction giver’ on one side and showing them a large poster or white board drawing.
  • Have the group perform the activity twice with three different templates. The first time through the exercise the ‘drawing’ person is not allowed to speak to the ‘direction giver’. The second time they are allowed to ask only yes/no questions. A third time, the ‘drawer’ can ask any question they like.
  • Another variation would be to allow the pairs to sit face-to-face, however, the ‘direction giver’ is not allowed to speak. They must get the person to draw the shape using only visual cues. Make sure that the ‘direction giver’ doesn’t just hand over the template.
  • In a large group setting, one person could be the ‘direction giver’ for the rest of the group. No one else is allowed to speak and everyone must try to draw the shape the ‘direction giver’ is describing. Afterwards, have everyone compare their drawings.
  • If you don’t want to print individual handouts, you can have partners sit back to back and you can put a large, clearly visible poster or projection on the wall of the picture that you would like for them to describe/draw.
  • Print out a “7 errors” game (this is a template that has 7 errors between two seemingly identical pictures). These picture games can be found online or created by you. The goal is for participants to spot the differences between two pictures that are very similar but are not exactly the same. Give one illustration to one player and the second to the other player. Have the pairs compare drawings and find the 7 errors while sitting back to back.
  • Online: To lead this activity online, send one participant a drawing to describe to the rest of the group. The person giving instructions may not show the drawing or use gestures or props. You may still lead several rounds where participants cannot talk, are allowed to ask yes or no questions, or can ask any questions they wish. You may also try this activity in pairs, trusting that group members will follow the rules on their own. 




  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?


  • Why is feedback important? What kind of feedback is important?
  • What does constructive/effective feedback look like?
  • How did positive/negative/or no feedback affect your success?

Group Dynamics

  • What are the traits that make someone successful on this team? What are the traits that make someone unsuccessful on this team?
  • What motivates our group?
  • How does our group dynamic affect the way we get work done?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?