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About the Shape Game

About the Shape Game

'The rules of the Shape Game are very simple: the first player quickly draws any abstract shape at random, the second looks at it and then transforms it into something recognisable. It could be anything – a face, a dinosaur or a fried egg. It could be a doodle or a work of art.

'When we were children, my brother Michael and I thought this game was our invention, but having spoken to children all over the world, I have since discovered that children everywhere know it and play their own versions. The wonderful thing about the Shape Game is that anyone with a little bit of imagination can join in.

'As Children’s Laureate, I want to help and connect with children everywhere, and encourage them to use their imaginations and be creative. Although it’s just a simple game, I believe the Shape Game is the perfect way to do this. It encapsulates the act of creativity – inspiration is everywhere. I have played the Shape Game in every single book I have made, and now you have the chance to join in and play it, too!'


Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne played the Shape Game throughout his time as Children's Laureate, but also brought together 45 writers, artists, illustrators and celebrities to play the game, transforming a shape he has drawn for a special charity project to raise money for children's charity Rainbow Trust.


The artworks produced in this project were published by Walker Books in Play the Shape Game, a book aiming to encourage all children to join in with the Shape Game - and to be creative and use their imaginations.


Profits from the book and an online auction of the artworks were donated to Rainbow Trust, a children’s charity which provides vital emotional and practical support to families who have a child with a life-threatening or terminal illness. The auction alone raised over £11,500 for the charity.

Quentin Blake, the first Children’s Laureate and the first contributor to sign up to the project said: 'I jumped at the chance to get involved; not only was it huge fun thinking about how I’d like to customise Anthony’s shape, but encouraging creativity is something I feel very strongly about. I hope the auction and book go on to raise lots of money for Rainbow Trust, which does such important work to support families at a time of great need.'

Resources for teachers

The Shape Game and other imaginative drawing games make great tools for the classroom at both primary and secondary level, helping pupils to experiment and play, express their ideas visually and develop creative thinking skills.

Shape Game Gallery

View Shape Game artworks created by artists, illustrators, writers and celebrities who transformed an original shape by Anthony Browne.