Tag: Behind the Scenes

The Monster List of Creative Art Prompts

Work of Art: The Next Great Artist – Creative Prompts

I’ve been watching Bravo TV’s Work of Art: The Next Great Artist and finding a lot of inspiration in the episodes. Work of Art is a reality show where a group of (mostly) young artists compete in challenges and are judged by a panel of art world professionals. Someone (or two) is eliminated every episode until the group is whittled down to three finalists who compete for a $100,000 cash prize and a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum.

It’s fascinating to watch other artists at work, to receive an inside view of their process, and to watch them use materials in new ways. I found myself during each episode with a brain full of ideas for each challenge. I’ve been jotting down my ideas in a notebook so I can explore them later. I thought it might be fun to keep a list of the challenges so I can refer to them later. And then I thought it would be great to publish the list here.


  • Make a self-portrait
  • Create a shocking piece of art
  • Create a piece of pop art
  • Create a work that’s symbolic of the moment your artistic expression began using childhood materials only
  • Make art from household trash
  • Make a piece of art about motion
  • Let nature inspire you to make a work that incorporates a physical material from nature
  • Take a bad kitsch piece of art and transform it into something wonderful
  • Create a piece of street art (but keep it small enough to fit on your sketch pad)

Facing the Dreaded Blank Canvas

If you’re anything like me, you dread getting started on a new piece. That darn blank, white canvas! It’s forbidding, intimidating, and off-putting. It says, “Give it up, girl!” and “Go eat some chocolate because you can’t do this.” But I have ways of getting past the blank canvas monster. Here are a few of them:

1. Add Paper
Rip apart some old papers and glue them down onto your canvas. Use any old glue: collage glue, white craft glue, matte medium, or glossy gel medium. Here are a few types of papers you can use:

  • Magazines
  • Old books
  • Greeting cards
  • Holiday cards
  • Birthday cards
  • Old dictionaries
  • Old phone books
  • Wallpaper samples
  • Newsprint
  • Cartoon pages
  • Scrapbooking papers
  • Decorative papers of any kind
  • Old artwork
  • Junk mail
  • Old letters
  • Receipts
  • Gift wrapping paper
  • Paper grocery bags
  • Tissue paper
  • Napkins
  • Paper towels

2. Add Texture
I like to add texture with acrylic gel mediums but you could also use found items or wallboard paste.

Short and Sweet Art Prompts For Getting Unstuck

Are you in the middle of a piece and can’t finish it? Stuck on deciding what else it needs? Turn to this list to help you get unstuck.

  • Add black
  • Add shadow
  • Outline in white
  • Add circles
  • Add crooked lines
  • Add stars
  • Add hearts
  • Add squiggles
  • Add texture
  • Add a found object
  • Use a recycled item
  • Put a bird on it!
  • Add hand lettering
  • Add cut out words or phrases from a book or magazine

I hope these prompts help get you started or get you unstuck. Check back with me to see what I’ve made using these creative prompts and please share your work with me in the comments!