Drawing Monsters

Fears-Worries-Uncertainties and much more

Drawing Monsters enables a safe space to surface and frees up options for conversations around our fears. It helps us to be aware and visible of our fears.

It reveals incredible insights about issues that are difficult to talk about, and the environment of vulnerability brings a world of opportunity to people in this space.

Drawing Monsters is an ideal exercise to uncover potential fears at the beginning and during any project implementation.

It is suitable for adults and children, especially our children, which makes it ideal for the educational environment.

Here is the Bonus of the exercise because when you listen to the Fear situation, you do not know what to do, hear or say something, defend a position, or even worse, compare your Fears or give non-wanted advice.

Do this because it works (highly recommended for teachers and parents)

Place a "Critical Question" to build trust and improve your relationship with the students.

Do you want to vent, or do you want advice?

The question is so essential and not just for the students.

It allows the other person to feel SEEN. So often, kids feel like parents lecture them with every chance they are given, and they don't love that.

You die for giving advice, but they want to vent, so let them vent.

Letting them Vent to you will open up more opportunities for them to hear and accept your advice down the road because you intentionally created that safe SPACE!

Big picture

Tiny demons or monsters is a metaphor for the fears we carry on in many different situations of our lives.

The FEAR is not more than a projection in the future of a past personal experience or something someone told us and, that includes not only your family, friends but Netflix, HBO and Prime Video.

When we face our FEARS, we can generate ways to work with them alone or with others.

Playful, generative conversation unfolds.

Structuring Invitation to play

  1. What do we fear?
  2. How can we use that fear as a way to discover what to do next?
  3. To engage the ideas/skills/energy of those around us in those next steps?
  4. What is it you fear about _ (the focus of interaction at hand)

This is how you start

1. Ask them to list the fears, worries, concerns, and uncertainties if you are addressing a project. Suppose you are handling the students; FEARS suit you best.

2. Ask them to prioritize the first four of the list.

3. Now, you ask them to draw, dividing the white page into four quadrants.

4. To help them to visualize their monsters guide them by saying in the first right quadrant, draw two parallel lines in the right down any geometric design; in the third left down, draw whatever you like and in the upper left, draw a squiggle.

5. Ask them to add horns, eyes, teeth, wings, whatever their imagination can provide to create the Monsters.

Big picture


After the Monsters are drawn, ask them to connect with the four fears and provide a name to the Monster.

Now they are ready to share with others their fears. Allow them to talk and exchange conversations.

  • Move away from blockage, negativism, and powerlessness
  • Have people discover their individual and collective power
  • Reveal bottom-up solutions
  • Share actionable ideas and help one another
  • Build trust
  • Remember unused capacity and resources (15 per cent is always there for the taking)
  • Reduce waste
  • Close the knowing-doing gap

The Gallery Opening

Create the Monster Gallery so they are exposed to everyone.

As the final step, ask each participant what could be their 15% contribution they could implement to overcome the Fear. Please write it down in a post-it closer to the Monster.

The closing of the exercise

You made them all aware of the FEAR atmosphere, and by summing up the 15%, you re-energize the teams, students or yourself.

Drawing Monster is one of the Liberating Structures used in organisations to align teams. We adapted to the educational environment.

The Monsters used in the SMORE were created by Spanish, Turkish, Italian and Bulgarian teachers in Amsterdam participating in the ENCITS workshop İlçe Milli Eğitim Müdürlüğü, Iznik