Police Sketch Artist

In the Police Sketch Artist ESL activity students have to draw the criminal their partner describes.

Students for Police Sketch Artist ESL Activity:1+Time for Police Sketch Artist ESL Activity:10-20 mins
Resources for Police Sketch Artist ESL Activity:

Divide the students into pairs (or do the activity as student and teacher with one student). Each student will need a piece of plain paper.

  1. The partners sit opposite each other. One student will describe, and the other will draw. The student describing should not be able to see what is being drawn.
  2. Student A describes an imagined criminal. They include lots of details about their physical appearance, clothes, and unique characteristics (e.g. scars, tattoos, carrying a small bag etc.).
  3. Student B draws the person described by Student A. They should ask clarification questions where necessary,  e.g. How long was their hair? Importantly, the drawing should be large to accommodate all the details. Optionally, students could also add colour.
  4. When the drawing is finished, Student B reveals the picture of the criminal. Student A indicates if this was how they imagined them. The students then switch roles and repeat the activity.
  5. An optional extra step (especially good with kids) is for students to turn their drawings into ‘Wanted’ posters. You could then display these posters around the classroom.
Target Language

The Police Sketch Artist ESL activity will clearly suit students of an artistic nature more (often this means kids) – but be sure to stress that the quality of the drawing doesn’t matter!

It’s a great way to practise describing people and clothes vocabulary with beginner or low intermediate students. You could also use it as a more relaxed activity or warmer for the topic of crime.

If students haven’t learned the past simple or past continuous yet, they could just make their descriptions in the present simple.

Got a picture or video of this activity in action? How about snapping one next time you use it? We'd love to showcase your submissions- find out more here.