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shrek, relaxing Image: DreamWorks

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The Polygon staff tried to draw Shrek from memory

Somebody once told me

It’s the 20th anniversary of Shrek, so we celebrated as any other would do: by luring all our coworkers into a Zoom call and forcing them to draw Shrek. That’s team bonding for you!

The beloved ogre has loomed large over pop culture for the past 20 years, but what does it really mean to capture Shrek’s essence? How can one portray the multilayered character on a simple piece of paper? We’re not sure, but we sure as Shrek tried our best.

Whose Shrek is the Shrekest? Please parse through the selections below and carefully review each artist’s statement in order to determine the one Shrek to rule them all.


Simone de Rochefort

a sketch of shrek

“I remembered a few key things about Shrek: his weird little ears, his toothy grin, the fact that he wears a vest. I think I was the only person who remembered that Shrek has luscious long lashes. In fact, I can’t say that I did anything technically wrong here, except that, clearly, I did.”

Susana Polo

a sketch of shrek

“I made many decisions here based on a rosier view of Shrek than is apparently true. Shrek wears tights? His vest is extremely small? I wish I could say that I remembered that he wore shoes rather than going barefoot but honestly it was just because I didn’t want to draw toes. I did remember the most important part though: Swamp.”

Ryan Gilliam

 a computer drawing of shrek

“Today, I was told to draw Shrek. Shrek is a multifaceted being, but to me Shrek: sweats and wears vaguely Scottish pants to match his vaguely Scottish accent. My Shrek has the cardinal Shrek features like eyes, teeth, feet, arms, and weird antenna. But to make the piece more realistic, I added what I knew into it and mixed it up. My Shrek is very sweaty, since he lives in a swamp. You can see the sweat in the brown spots on his body, and under his arms. My Shrek is also proud of his home nation of Scotland, despite living in swamp outside of Duloc which is a town in ??? To show his patriotism, my Shrek is wearing checkered pants that feature red and green (a darker shade than his skin), as is customary in bagpipes, and other Scottish things.”

Matt Patches

shrek drawing

“I’ve spent a lot of time drawing Totoro in the last year. That may be informing my Shrek variant.”

Cass Marshall

a computer drawing of shrek

“I’ve always felt like Shrek isn’t the loud, shouting fool that people make him out to be. There can be a tenderness there. A kinder, gentler, more gracious Shrek.”

Petrana Radulovic

a sketch of buff shrek

“Basically, I was like ‘What if Shrek... but traditionally hot?’ Also, I cannot draw hands, I am so sorry for the missing thumb Mr. Shrek, but at least I remembered your swanky little vest and strong brows.”

Chelsea Stark

a whiteboard drawing of shrek

“With Shrek, I think only the teeth matter. Yes, he’s a `multifaceted being,` but he’s also like 50 percent toothy green, 10 percent ears, and then some combination of the rest. Does my Shrek have a body? No. But he’s still got layers.”