Scribble Art and Character Building

By Norma Atwood-

Have you ever looked at the blank, white, piece of paper in front of you and wondered what to do with it? It’s really hard to visualize a picture or a story sitting on that piece of paper. So here is an idea I use with children to help them visualize something to draw.

1.        Take a blank piece of paper and a soft pencil.

2.       Without looking at the paper, scribble all over it in soft, flowing strokes. Don’t scribble too much, just lightly scribble all over it.

3.       Now comes the magic. Look deeply at the scribbles until you see something start to emerge. Turn the paper around, keep looking. Remember, you won’t find the Mona Lisa here. It    will be a cartoon, a funny face, an animal, or something that you can’t quite explain.

4.       Outline the object using your scribble lines to guide you.

5.       Now comes the fun, fill in the blanks.


As you can see from the picture here, I scribbled all over the paper, and it turned out to be a cartoon bird. Don’t you think he’s cute? He will be the main character for my new story:

Once upon a time there lived a little blackbird by the name of Sam. Sam lived in the old hollow tree in the middle of the forest, far away from people. There he sang his songs, ate pine nuts, and flew over the tree tops.

My scribble picture has given shape to Sam the blackbird and I can now move forward with the story because he has come to life. I can also use the scribble idea to develop other characters for my story.


I don’t mean that your writing should be scribbled and sloppy. What I mean is this, scribble some objects together without thinking about them. Here is an example: a boy, a book, a bag, and an ink pen. There, we’ve just scribbled our first story. Let’s get started:

Once upon a time, long ago, there lived a small boy who could not read. It’s not that he didn’t want to read, he did, but no one taught him how it was done. He carried with him a bag filled with the things he loved, a special rock from the river, a golden leaf, a small ball, and a book and pen that he found one day in the forest. The leather-bound book was handwritten, and every once in a while, a word was underlined. In his imagination, he believed the underlined words were magical, and if he could just find a way to learn how to read, the magic would be his…

There, we’ve started a story from scribbling a few ideas together.

Activity:  So now it’s your turn.  First, create your own scribble art to create a character.  Second, “scribble some objects” (including your new character) together and create a story.  Comment about your character and story below.  


Norma Atwood is a wife, mother, artist, and writer. It is rare to see her without a pen in her hand. Her terrier, Chevy, is a constant companion. Learn more about Norma HERE.

IMPORTANT: Students, NEVER reveal personal information while commenting. NO last names or contact information. I will delete any comments that contain personal information or comments that are inappropriate or off-topic.

4 thoughts on “Scribble Art and Character Building

    • Thank you for the comment. Everyone sees something different in the scribbles, that makes them so much fun.

    • Hope your scribbling creates new characters to write about. If you saw an elephant it’s time to get writing. Thank you for the comment.

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