Drawing magic trick explained: How magicians guess drawings

With this trick, magicians can guess what you draw and even replicate the entire drawing almost perfectly. It might seem like they are able to read minds, but the secret behind this illusion is sleight of hand, combined with a great performance.

In short, here’s how magicians can guess what you draw:

After a spectator has drawn something on a piece of paper or playing card, the magician typically uses sleight of hand to get a quick look at the drawing unnoticed. This allows him to replicate it almost perfectly.

I’ll show you how the trick can be done and explain the technique in detail.

Let’s get started.

How magicians can predict your drawing and replicate it perfectly

While there are many drawing magic tricks with different versions out there, they usually follow the same procedure.

In this post, you’ll learn exactly how it’s possible to perform a trick like this:

A spectator is asked to draw something on a piece of paper or a playing card. The magician, who has never seen the drawing and doesn’t know the person, is able to replicate it almost perfectly.

I’ll explain one awesome method of this trick that is presented by “Spidey“, an amazing magician, mentalist, and entertainer. He’s published many videos on his YouTube Channel, explaining countless tricks and illusions.

This is the video for the drawing trick:

The Perfect Mentalism Trick Tutorial. Easy Mind-Reading Revealed by Spidey.

When performing an illusion like this, you can always make it look like a mental trick or even a mind-reading illusion. Like most other “mental” magic, this effect is based on a simple technique that allows you to peek at the drawing unnoticed.

Here’s how it’s done.

How the drawing magic trick works – step by step explained

Keep in mind that there are many different versions of most magic tricks, but this method works great and even beginners can learn it with enough practice.

For the version by Spidey, you need a deck of (blank) cards and a pen. That’s it.

For the cards, you can either use a normal deck or buy special blank cards that are all white. This makes it easier for the spectator to draw on them, and they aren’t too expensive, so if you want to do this trick, I’d recommend you to get a pack of these.

A black marker is a great option for the pen since it’s thick and very easy to see. If you want to perform for a group of people, make sure that to use a color with enough contrast (black and white always work fine, but you can use red or green as well).

The entire trick is based on a move that allows you to manipulate the cards.

How the deck of cards is manipulated, allowing the magician to peek at the drawing

In case you’ve wondered why a deck of cards is used for this trick, and not just a piece of paper (it would be easier, right?), this is the reason:

The cards are manipulated with “The Convincing Control” by Ed Marlo, allowing you to peek at the spectator’s card unnoticed.

This entire technique takes some practice to master and is rather complicated, so if you really want to learn it, I’d recommend you to watch the video above. But I can try to break it down in a few sentences.

The basic principle is pretty simple:

The spectator chooses a card, draws whatever he wants on it, and is asked to hand it back to the magician. The magician then cuts the deck in the middle, and the spectator’s card is put in between.

However, right before both of the piles are pushed together, the magician holds the card in place with his middle and ring finger, allowing him to control it to the bottom of the deck.

All of this is done with the back of the cards facing up, hiding the magician’s moves and allowing him to control the card unnoticed.

To wrap things up:
After this technique, the spectator's card is at the bottom of the deck, but all the viewers think that it's lost somewhere in the middle of the deck.

This quick move now allows the magician to get a quick look at the drawing.

How the magician can look at the drawing unnoticed

Nobody can replicate a drawing without looking at it. It’s the same thing with this trick. So here’s how it’s done:

With the spectator’s card at the bottom of the deck (the one with the drawing on it), there are several different ways for the magician to get a look at it.

One way is by simply shuffling the cards. You can peek at the bottom card when doing a basic overhand shuffle, but it works with a riffle shuffle or other techniques as well. Nobody in the audience will get suspicious when the magician shuffles the deck, so this is an easy a safe way to get a quick look at the drawing.

Quick tip
There are many other versions to get a look at the card, you can watch the video to learn two more methods. 

Another method would be to hand the deck to a spectator, asking him to shuffle it. When handing it over, it’s easy to peek at the bottom card right as well.

The only thing that matters in the end: the magician knows the drawing since he just looked at it, and the deck can now even be shuffled by him or a volunteer from the audience.

From now on, the rest of the trick is just about the performance.

How to “predict” the drawing and turn this illusion into a mind-reading trick

Since you know the technique of the trick now, you can already tell that it really comes down to the right performance.

One of the best ways to perform this illusion is by turning it into a mind-reading trick.

This is a great way to shift the center of attention away from the deck of cards, which you should always do when performing tricks like this.

Misdirection is key for an awesome performance because the technique doesn’t make it a magic trick, it’s the show!

A pretty straightforward presentation for this trick is to do the peek at the drawing, put the deck of cards aside, and really focus on the “mental” part. You can ask the spectator who did the drawing some questions, about his favorite color, a number between 1 – 100, etc. The thing is: it doesn’t matter at all what he says, it’s just for the show.

After a while, you can grab a second card or a piece of paper, and after a deep look into the spectator’s eyes, start to draw and replicate the drawing you remembered when peeking at his card.

If you are interested in other mind-reading tricks, you’ll find many others on my website.

To get you started:

Here’s my tutorial for the easiest mind-reading card trick I’ve learned since I started with magic (you don’t need any sleight of hand).

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