From Squiggles to Faces

by Nancy Casey

You will find today’s writing to be an exercise in anti-planning. In other words, you’re not going to be able to think up what to do ahead of time. When you have finished, you might say, “I never would have planned that.”

When you make this page, you will start by drawing and then write some words. Before you begin, draw a line across the top of the page where you title will go.

Next, make six or eight random squiggles that are spread evenly over the page. They can be roundish or angular, made of a single line or a couple lines, twisty or straight.

You mission will be to fiddle with the squiggles until you can get a face to emerge.

Take a look at your collection of squiggles and pick one that reminds you of a face or a head, or a part of one, somehow. Add a couple more lines to make it look even more like a face or a head.

You can color your faces and your not-yet-faces. Mindless coloring helps new ideas float into your mind.

Fiddle with each of the squiggles until a face emerges. Some will be easy. Some might take some coaxing. Just keep fiddling, going from one squiggle to another, skipping around, adding details, until you decide each face is finished.

Here are some ideas for fiddling:

  • Draw one facial feature, such as an eye, an eyebrow, a nose, or an ear. Just draw one of them. Put it randomly near the squiggle, in no particular spot. Then take a look at the whole thing. Does it look any more like a face now?
  • Draw a hairdo over the squiggle. Does that give you a new idea?
  • Give the squiggle a hat. Is there a face there yet?
  • Draw another squiggle on top of, around, or next to what you already have.
  • Make a shape near the squiggle. A triangle, circle or dash. An exclamation point! What does it look like now?
  • Remind yourself that there’s no requirement to draw a human face. It can be any creature at all. Real or imagined.

Draw some lines to separate and frame each of the faces. Or maybe you want to divide them into groups that seem to belong together and frame them that way.

In the background, write down some words to go along with each face. You can use a cartoon bubble to show what they are thinking or saying. You could also write a title or a caption for a face.

When all of the framed faces are finished, and each has something to “say,” take a look at the whole page you have made. Make small changes if you want to. Can you think up a title that hints of a story that connects all of the faces?

Write your title at the top of the page. Write the date on the page too, along with a signature or your initials.

Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. It’s not possible to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center at this time, but if you are interested in writing coaching, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s