Where do Creative Ideas Come From?
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! It know the freedom and happiness that come from artistic expression, and the dejection that neglecting it breeds.
In addition to teaching and drawing, 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…
Make Your Own Lantern: A Fun Crafts Project
Arts and crafts fun: How to create colorful lanterns with empty soda bottles and tissue paper!
The view of Dubai from 1,825 feet up the Burj Khalifa
Seeing these images from one of the tallest buildings in the world, design your own building and show what it looks like to peer down from it.
Are The Most Stunning Doorways in the World in India?
Use these fabulously decorated portals from Jaipur, India to dream up your own delicious door design.
Fishtown, Philly's Fish-Loving, Colorful Street Art
Browse these photos of a neighborhood of Philadelphia which is totally decorated by fish designs. Draw a new neighborhood plan which features another motif (repeated pattern)!
Lowe Mill: Studios for 250 Artists in Huntsville, Alabama
If you could have your own art studio in Lowe Mill, what would it look like? What would you sell, and how would it be arranged? Sketch your dream space.
Quilt Patterns from History: Art Inspiration
Either using visual art (paints, colored pencils, etc.) or actual textiles, let these famous historic quilt patterns from the Pilgrim and Roy collection transport your imagination.
My Face Is on a Billboard Advertisement in Africa?!
Read this shocking story of how I ended up on a highway billboard in West Africa without my knowledge, and then draw: what kind of billboard could YOU end up on?
Chihuly Glass Museum, Seattle: a Glowing Exhibit
Dale Chihuly is one of the most famous glass art creators in the world, and his rainbow-colored glass museum in Washington state 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.
Female Poses for Pictures: Performativity and Power
Inspired by these pictures, draw or act out and photograph the most unique, ridiculous, funny, or pleasing poses for modern modeling!
Old Buildings Transformed to New, Using Art, in Pietermaai District Curaçao
Pick an old building in your neighborhood and imagine how you would use fresh construction and color to revitalize it.
Cuba: a Unique, Town of Rock Formations
Check out these unique rock formations ("karsts") in Vinales, Cuba, and draw an imaginary town which mixes natural stone formations and buildings.
MASS MoCA: A Perfect Art Museum in Massachusetts for Kids and Adults
Look at the way this modern art museum 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.
Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi: The 3 BILLION Dollar Hotel?!
What kind of hotel would you build for three BILLION dollars? Check out this gold-plated, opulent palace resort in the United Arab Emirates for ideas...
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art: Amherst, MA
Examine these famous picture book illustrations from the museum 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!
What is a Tasting Menu? See Food Photos of one in Portland, Maine
Food can be art! Browse these photos from a fancy 12-course meal, 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.
You MUST See Randyland in Pittsburgh: Free Color!
This 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?
Fallingwater: the Most Famous House in America
Look at photos of the architectural brilliance of Fallingwater, 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.
Dress Fashion Design Inspiration
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!
Watch Tiny Planes at Great Barrington, MA Airport
Super small airplanes are so cute and dramatic! If you could design your own mini plane, what would it look like?
The Crazy Birds of Prey Show in Mont Tremblant, Quebec
Gaze at these photos of fierce birds in flight (from owls to falcons), then draw your own.
The Burren, Ireland's Most Famous Ancient Portal Stones
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.
An "Influence" Synonym Search at Wild "Happy Place" Photo Playground
Which backdrops and props make the most interesting, funny, and engaging photos? Explore this "photo playground" 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!
Do You Want Money, Fame, Honor, or Love? A Story from My Middle School Students to Inspire You...
Think: What is most important to you in compensation or payment for the art you create? Read this story to see what one student choose in return for the picture his classmates wanted so much to have.
Famous Forts of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Fortresses guarding an island from sea attacks are naturally dramatic. Design your own sea-side fort, inspired by these famed PR ones.
Scandalous Facts Behind the Oracle of Delphi in Greece
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.
A Central Square Food and Mural Arts Tour: Cambridge, MA
What would you paint in Graffiti Alley in Boston, the famous public art wall that's open to anyone to add on to?
Alone at a Luxury Resort on a Caribbean Island
Imagine you won a trip to travel alone to a beautiful hotel on a Caribbean island. Draw (ideally in color) what it would look like, and what you'd do there during your solo vacation.
How to Decorate Your Home in Photo Collages of Travel
This is a hands-on project to create photo collages from inexpensive prints and secondhand picture frames.
Inside the Taj Mahal, India
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?
What Would YOU Buy at This Great Turkish Arts Market?
The markets in Turkey are known for bright colors and glowing glass and ceramics. Look through these photos and see what you could design in reaction.
Dogs in Costume?! The Cutest Fashion Show in Boston
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.
Xunantunich: Mayan Ruins by San Ignacio, Belize
Read about these ancient ruins in the Central American country of Belize, and sketch what life might have been like, living amid those pyramids.
Times Square, New York City in the Middle of the Night
If you could create a neon billboard to light up NYC's Times Square, what would it be of, and how would you make it flashy enough to attract attention amid all the distractions?
Boston Public Market: Local Food and Fun! See 21 Pics...
If you were to design a market featuring local flair from where you live, what would it include? Think about food, crafts, materials, motifs, and other famous nearby elements.
Latrobe, PA: Tour Mister Rogers' Actual Neighborhood
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.
Martha's Vineyard's Gingerbread Cottages Are So Cool!
Ever imagined a wooden house could be this ornate? Sketch your own house design, inspired by these cottages that look like cookies or cake!
Wandering the Gold and Spice Souks of Dubai
Intrigued by designing with gold? Walk the Gold Souk of the UAE in Dubai and ogle these huge necklaces and vests made of the precious metal, then design a gold-plated outfit of your own.
Jinshanling: The Best Great Wall of China Hike?
What would it be like to climb the Great Wall of China? Sketch yourself on the wall, or imagine what people who built or used it long ago were like.
10 Reasons Quebec City is a Perfect Vacation
What would your ideal city to visit look like? Inspired by my commentary on what made Quebec City, Canada so great, sketch and label (or make an actual small model) of your ideal tourist town.
Bunratty Castle, Ireland
See photos of this real castle in Ireland, and design your own stone palace.
Newport Mansions and Cliff Walk in Rhode Island
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...
Ephesus, Turkey: Astounding Ancient Greek and Roman Ruins
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! If you have suggestions for modifications or additions, do leave a comment. Thanks for sharing!
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