Here is a selection of art activities we use to develop different Emotional Intelligence competencies. Please feel free to use them!


Warhol Basquiat Challenge – Round Robin Painting



  • Unfinished business
  • Innovation
  • Team decision-making
  • Responsibility
  • Empathy
  • Non-verbal communication

In the early 80s, Andy Warhol and Jean Michael Basquiat started a series of collaborative paintings. One would begin the piece then the other would add something to it. We have developed a similar activity where one workshop participant or team starts a painting, collage, sculpture or installation. After a certain amount of time (which may have previously been agreed on or a surprise depending on the skills we are focusing on) you stop working on the painting and move to another painting and continue that one, and so on. An artistic version of Charete or Round Robin Brain Storming.

Make a power mask



  • Gain self- awareness
  • Confidence building
  • Reflection on image, how you see yourself and how others see you
  • Rehearse for difficult situations
  • Learn about yourself and colleagues

We can use masks to hide behind. We can use masks to do things we wouldn’t normally dare to do. They can be a useful tool to help us feel liberated enough to face our fears.Paint your mask with your strengths, abilities, how you would like to be seen, the you your colleagues have never seen, the person you are outside work.

Sometimes it can be useful to rehearse for difficult situations like giving presentations or speeches, difficult negotiations or meetings with your boss. You can prove to yourself that you are capable and move on the rehearsing without the mask.

Create a mood board



  • Taking responsibility for your moods and behaviour
  • Gain self-awareness
  • Understand moods and reaction better

Colours and images have the power to affect our moods. It can be helpful to focus on one colour or particular image set (forests, oceans, dogs, mountains) and notice the effect it has on your state of mind. Some images and colours can make you feel happier, focused, calm, motivated. Create mood board collages to help transform your state. Can be combined with music and aromatherapy for maximum effect.

Cut and paste a painting to create a collage



  • Risk taking
  • Change
  • Letting go and moving on
  • Leaving the past behind
  • Challenging perfectionism
  • Challenging inner critic

Make a picture on paper or cardboard. Then cut or tear it up. Use the pieces to make a new piece of artwork – a collage. Observe how your original artwork transforms into something new and exciting, something unpredictable. This exercise highlights the connection between creation and destruction, encouraging us to take risks, challenge our limits and push ourselves creatively and in other aspects of life.

Make your coat of arms and seal



  • Team identity
  • Mission, vision and values

Like medieval nobility, create a coat of arms that represents you, your team or your company. Add elements that represent your values and mission in life. Create a seal to use on your correspondence.

Build an altar



  • Dealing with loss (of a colleague through death, redundancy, a move)
  • Change
  • Building shared vision and values

Take inspiration from Mexican folk art and build an altar to honour someone or something that is important to you. Honour a unique relationship between you and another person. Decorate with photos, letters, drawings, objects depicting the person and experiences you have had with them.  Building an altar can provide comfort in tough times.

Design and write a postcard



  • Unfinished business
  • Letting go and moving on
  • Embracing change
  • Forgiveness

This might be a confession to a friend or colleague, a regret or something you are still angry or sad about that you have never expressed but that is stopping you from moving on. It may be something that you never speak about but that you think about often. Sometimes, writing it down – in this case making a piece of art work and adding any text you wish on the back, like in a conventional postcard, can make you feel better. Sometimes an angry rant wouldn’t be advisable! Writing the text can be a healthy release. Designing the postcard gives even more value to the object – time to reflect on the issue and re-program your attitude towards it. You activate different parts of your brain and relax as you would when colouring in a colouring book.

Finally, we can decide what we want to do with the postcard – burn it, rip it up, keep it in a sealed envelope, save to talk about in your following coaching session – whatever you like. Perhaps keep it and destroy it at a later date. You might later find the feeling that was blocking you has lost some of its previous power.

Produce a permission slip



  • Thinking differently
  • Experimentation
  • Creative thinking
  • Challenging limits and limiting beliefs
  • Increase self-awareness and self-confidence

Think of something you feel obliged to do by society, your boss, spouse or colleagues. Something you feel under pressure to do on a daily basis that you don’t really want to do. Something about yourself that you don’t like or a bad habit you can’t give up. Create some artwork which focuses on making this negative a positive – give yourself permission to act how you want, say what you want without self-judgement. Giving yourself permission to do something you “shouldn’t” can lessen feelings of self-judgement and help you to focus on more important goals.

Make a forgiveness box


  • Change
  • Letting go and moving on
  • Taking responsibility for negative feelings and reactions

Is there someone in your department you can get along with? Is there rivalry with one of your colleague that is stopping you from sleeping at night. Maybe it’s time to accept your role in the situation, forgive and move on. Even if it’s just for your own peace of mind. Make a forgiveness box. Decorate a small box with calming images and words focused on a specific person or how you’d rather feel about this person. You could write the person’s name on a piece of paper and put it in the box if you like. Physically work toward a place of forgiveness and keep this box as a reminder of your intention to challenge your attitude to the situation with this person.

Ransom note poetry



  • Creative thinking
  • Team identity
  • Innovation

Using letters and words cut out from newspapers and magazines, create a short text, haiku or poem using these random words based on the theme of the workshop. Can be linked to our Random Thinking activities.

Grand Master Challenge



  • Team Building
  • Communication
  • Time Management
  • Appreciating other departments’ “invisible” contributions

Divided into numbered teams, each team is given their challenge: to copy an abstract painting. Together they should work out the best way to do it with the materials available and strict time limit allowed. At the end of the activity, the teams are called to the front in order and hold their paintings in the order assigned by the facilitators. Little by little a famous painting is revealed.

A high-impact activity that shows what can be achieved together, the importance of work done by colleagues that you may not see or may not value as well as communication and time management.

Paint your here and now



  • Gain self-awareness and awareness of the current situation
  • Focus on priorities
  • Organise priorities
  • Begin to create a roadmap

Create an abstract or realistic painting or drawing which represents what is going on in your life right now. We can then see which aspects are “figure” (most important to you at the present time) and which are in the background, there but less significant.

Barcelona Skyline



  • Sense of belonging
  • Communication
  • Shared values
  • Challenge limiting beliefs

Create an abstract or realistic painting or drawing which represents Barcelona (or any other location you choose!) Challenge the belief that you are not creative or artistic. Resolve problems with your team to create a genuine piece of art work that you can hang in your office as a reminder.

Blindfolded Drawing



  • Develop creativity
  • Challenge perfectionism
  • Challenge inner critic
  • Develop team communication & active listening

One block to developing our creativity and achieving our goals is self-judgement. This activity allows you to focus on the act of creation without focusing on the results. When you take off your blindfold, your first reaction is very revealing. What is you first thought? What is the first thing that comes out of your mouth? You can gain awareness about whether you have a harsh inner critic or a kind inner mentor and reflect on other times in your life when you experience similar reactions.

This may also be used as a team communication activity where some team members guide blindfolded colleagues through the stages of a specific piece of artwork.

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