I’ve been a public school teacher for 15 years (yay, high school and middle school!), and though I’m technically labeled an English or ELA instructor, I also consider myself an art teacher.
What makes me an art teacher, you ask? Each and every day, and in any project in my “English class,” I infuse visual and creative expression. Why, I’m even a cartoonist, myself! I know the freedom and happiness that come from artistic expression, and the dejection that neglecting it breeds.
In addition to teaching and making creative drawings, I’m also a traveler. This means that in the past 10 years of running this site, I’ve amassed some perfect photos and articles for art prompts, craft projects, and drawing inspiration.
Who Are these Art Prompts For?
These imaginative prompts are designed to get your creativity flowing, whoever you are: adult, teen, child, teacher, homeschooling family, parent… anyone! Each activity is flexible to be done in a variety of media to fit your preferences.
Plus, while you get your art on, you’ll also be taking an educational tour of arts around the world! Got your art supplies ready? Great — let’s take off…
Art Inspiration and Drawing Prompts!
40+ ideas from around the world to get creativity flowing! Perfect for kids, adults, teachers, homeschooling families, teens, and anyone who loves inspiration to draw, design, and create art!
Either using visual art (paints, colored pencils, etc.) or actual textiles, let these famous historic quilt patterns from the Pilgrim and Roy collection (photographed here at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) transport your imagination.
Dale Chihuly is one of the most famous glass art creators in the world, and his rainbow-colored glass museum in Seattle, Washington will set your mind racing with creative ideas. If you have clay or Play Dough, see if you can re-create some of the curling and twisting shapes pictured here. You can also use watercolors or colored pencils (or digital art) to mimic the bright colors swirling together.
Check out these unique rock formations ("karsts") in Vinales, Cuba, and draw an imaginary town which mixes natural stone formations and buildings, of if you don't mind getting dirty, make the formations out of real rocks and mud for a mini town.
Look at the way the Massachusetts modern art museum, MASS MoCA, mixes large-scale paintings and installations to invite the visitor to explore (internally as well as externally). Sketch a giant art installation that you would want to create, and see if you can embed symbols and messages like these do.
Examine these famous illustrations from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA by of the man who wrote "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" for inspiration on ways to design children's books. You may want to even try out Carle's method of making an illustration by gluing colored tissue paper collages!
Food can be art! Browse these photos from a fancy 12-course meal in the culinary town of Portland, Maine, then design your own artisanal dish that would be both tasty and beautiful. You can either draw this or really make it, using the natural colors of food.
In Randyland, a man in Pittsburgh, PA bought a derelict house and decorated the whole thing with wild color and zany curios -- many of which people were throwing away. If you had the opportunity to design a whole courtyard with items from the trash or recycling, then paint it, what would it look like? You could even create your own mini version in a shoe box.
Look at photos of the architectural brilliance of Fallingwater, the house in Pennsylvania by Frank Lloyd Wright: how connects the house with the waterfall below (falling water!), how the natural stone outside becomes part of the kitchen, and how the exterior forest blends perfectly with the home. Now, sketch a house of your own that would meld with a natural setting.
In 2010, my friend Sarah founded the Leota fashion company, which is now a leading creator of comfortable, colorful, washable dresses. Looking at her styles, create an outfit design of your own that women could wear from day to evening!
Look at these ancient rock formations in Ireland which were created by humans 5,000-6,000 years ago on a rocky landscape that looks like the moon. Design your own rock formations and consider adding in depictions of the people who might have built them.
Try your hand at sketching some of the unique and exotic flowers found at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA. Some of the blossoms already look like faces... can you make them into characters?
Which backdrops and props make the most interesting, funny, and engaging photos? Explore this "photo playground" called Happy Place for bizarre ideas. Consider putting together your own pop-up Instagramming studio with bright colors and unique props that friends can use to shoot creative pictures in!
Wander through the rooms of this world-class art gallery in a small town in Pennsylvania. Check out the fine woodworking (the seams on the chairs are mind-blowing), the giant metal butterfly chair, and the vine-shaped knives for ideas about your own crafts!
The tallest educational building in the world, the Pitt's Cathedral of Learning in Pennsylvania, has a set of "Nationality Rooms" which are decorated with the historic tradition of different countries. Browse these photos and then design your own "Nationality Room" to represent a culture you love -- or even your local neighborhood!
The famous woman who predicted the future in Delphi, Greece lived among these misty mountains. Sketch what she might have looked like, along with the people who came to ask for her advice about what to do.
The Taj Mahal in Agra, India is the world's most famous monument to LOVE. If you could design a building or sculpture to represent how you envision or think about love (or another emotion), what would it look like and why?
Create a winning dog costume! Extra points for funny puns or clever mash-ups. Just remember to be kind to our canine friends and not put a pup in anything that will make it uncomfortable if you actually create an outfit.
Looking at these photos of the puppets and props from the Mister Rogers "Land of Make Believe," what would YOU want to have in your imaginary city? You can sketch it or actually create puppets and props for a performance.
View these massive and opulent mansions which are set next to an ocean cliff in Rhode Island, and design your own dream house! Alternately, take on the challenge in the article to sketch how the money used to build the house could have been used for a specific other purpose...
Look at these half-fallen buildings and sketch what they might have looked like in their full glory -- including the ancient toilets pictured!
Did these Art and Drawing Prompts Inspire YOU?
So, which creative suggestions most sang to you? If you tried any of them, do share your experiences and products so we can celebrate your work! And feel free to check out my other website which is fully focused on art, Drawings Of. If you have suggestions for modifications or additions, do leave a comment. Thanks for sharing!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is National Board Certified Teacher, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a full-time public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have visited this site over the decade. Lillie also runs Teaching Traveling Global Education Community and Drawings Of… Educational Cartoon Site. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow on social media with the links below!
Aww, these are awesome! I haven't drawn anything for the longest time. I used to take art classes when I was in high school and didn't realize that I've really missed drawing. It'd be a great quarantine activity to pick up! :P
Saturday 9th of May 2020
Yes! Do it!!!
Wednesday 6th of May 2020
These are some cool suggestions. Itching to try some out.
Wednesday 6th of May 2020
Curious which art prompt you'll pick first!
Tuesday 5th of May 2020
It's great to combine art and travel and to get nice travel inspiration from all over the world. I should spent more time in creating art and combine it with my passions, which are food, photography and travel.
Monday 4th of May 2020
This is amazing, I love all these inspirations and colors. Thank you for sharing all these pictures.