Ping Pong/Writing and Drawing Prompt

Ping Pong Writing and Drawing

These directions are presented as a lesson plan. You just need index cards, pencils., paper. More art supplies for Part 2 if you have time for that. For a workshop setting, you could ask students to return to the next class with a revision.

We used the book Grapefruit by Yoko Ono for the third drawing part.

For writers working alone, just use a timer, and go down the list.
In place of the part where you are writing while someone reads the Ono instructions, if you don’t have the book, why not find a suitable substitute (evocative sounds, music in language you don’t know—something to create a shift at that stage)?

PART ONE (20+ minutes)
Go back and forth (2-3 minutes time spent on each step)
Draw a self-portrait, perhaps yourself as an animal, or, yourself in a dream


Write about an incident involving an animal. Are your nurturing it? Hunting it? Is the animal part of you, like a sphinx or a centaur or some other creature?


Draw yourself or a person or thing from different directions; or, draw yourself experiencing a strong emotion.

Imagine what is going on outside the borders of your picture. Write about it.


Draw while listening to Yoko Ono promptsfrom Grapefruit: A Book
of Instruction and Drawings.


Switch one of your cards with someone else’s. Write in response to that picture.


Draw yourself inside some kind of structure. The structure could be a building, a natural structure of even the belly of a beast.


Write in response to that picture. If it helps, suggest questions like these:

  • If you turn your head to the left, what do you see? To the right? Above? Below?
  • What is the temperature like?


Use your drawings/writings as the basis for a poem that makes a strong visual impact.

Use your drawings/writings to make a collage or new drawing that incorporates letters and words.

Thanks to Kelly McQuain, Melanie Farley, and Jacklynn Niemiec for helping to devise this activity for a workshop given at Drexel University on May 12, 2016. Several participants read or talked about their new works, right after. One participant noted that while the parts seemed very different, and didn’t necessarily make sense, that she found a way to connect the parts, that her “brain” found a way to make sense of the parts.



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