The Monster List of Creative Art Prompts

Sometimes you need a little help getting started. I’ve been collecting art prompts and ideas to get you creating!

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.

Challenges:

  • 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, Prompts for Mixed Media Artists

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

Spoonflower Design Challenges

Spoonflower is a print on demand fabric supplier where designers can upload their own designs for customers to purchase. The company hosts weekly challenges for their artists which are voted on by the public. Here is the list of some of the topics they’ve chosen. You can see the winners here.

Mushrooms
Climbing Vines
Gothic Halloween
Maximalist Holiday
Your Artistic Voice
Small-Scale Tools of the Trade
Sports & Leisure
Tropical Surrealism
Day at the Lake
Brightly Colored Reptiles
Aromatherapy
Ice Cream Truck
Large Birds
Quiet Spaces
Canadian Wildlife
Midsummer Festival
Off the Wall Toile
Bio luminescence
Designs for Good
East Fork
Pastel Cafe
Line Art Safari
Noodle Bowl
Papercut Napkins
Tie Dye
Pine and Mint Limited Color Palette
Faux-Texture
Micro Modern Quilt
Roller Rink Nostalgia
Animalier
Illustrated Spring Flora and Fauna
Classic Blue Limited Color Palette
Vintage Kitsch
Art Nouveau
Black and White Painterly
One-Yard Abstract Landscape
Pop Art Citrus
Jewel Tone 70s
Whimsical Wonderland
Kaleidoscope
Chintz
Gingerbread Houses
Hometown Tea Towel
Zodiac Tea Towel
Folk Art Tea Towel
Hand Lettered Tea Towel
Winter Flora
Halloween Embroidery
Neutral Retreat
Moths
Color Blocking Shapes
Pirates
Feline Frenzy
Dinosaurs
Dog Days
Boy Wonder
Bird’s Eye View
Animal Portrait
Retro Postcards
Paint by Numbers
Fitness
Abstract Minimalism
Shibori
Small Scale Summer
Playmats
Australian Flora
April Showers
Pollinators
Nautical
Feathers
Maximalist
Affirmations
Moody Florals
Bohemian Paradise
Pysansky
Desert Modernism
Coral
Rockabilly
Moon Landing
Animal Prints
Be My Valentine
Astrology
Scandinavian Art
Sloths
Large Scale Black & White
Holidays Around the World
Fair Isle
Chinoiserie
Gender Neutral Nursery
Victorian Era
1960s
1950s
1920s
Tacos and Burritos
Food Frenzy Coloring Book
Circles are the New Triangle
Medical Professions
Emerald Forest
Princess Awesome
Four Wheels
Bauhaus Movement
Animals of the Ocean
Animals by the Land
Animals by the Air
Elegant Holiday
Marrakesh
Cycling
Endangered Species
Geology
Gardening
Modern Farmhouse
Summer Cookout
Monochrome
Off to the Horse Races
Sisterhood Around the World
Art Deco Large Scale
Tortoise and the Hare
Orchid and Navy Limited Color Palette
Significant Otters
Origami
Kilim
Greek Art
Spanish Tiles
African Art Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
Center Stage
Tattoos
Arctic Animals
Year of the Dog
Hygge
Gingerbread
Large Scale Fragmentation
Lake Black and White Coloring Book
Winter Mod Limited Color Palette
Farm to Tea Towel
Botanical Block Print
Family Recipes
Pointillism
Kawaii Sushi
Vintage Halloween
Rustic Fall
Memphis Style
Bohemian
Swedish Folk Art
Illustrated Maps
Solar Eclipse
Big Top Treats
Circus Performers
Animal Alphabet
Retro Circus
Friday Nights Fireworks
Blue Hawaii Beach Resort
Mid-Century Modern
Rainbow Tower on the Beach
Cityscapes Whimsical Watercolor
Insects Whimsical Watercolor
Fruits Whimsical Watercolor
Abstract Whimsical Watercolor
Fantasy Creatures Whimsical Watercolor
Birds and Blooms
Succulents
Paper-Cut Florals
Opposites Attract
Hexagons
Tangrams
Mandalas
Geodesic
Mosaic
Aquatic Animals
Mountain Animals
Rainforest Animals
Desert Animals
Painting
Needlepoint
Yarn
Sewing
Aurora Borealis
Gnomes
Ditsy Mistletoe
Snow Day
Alpine Chalet
Poinsettia Gift Tags
Lace Gift Wrap
Home is Where the Heart is
Grandmas Kitchen
Prohibition Cocktails
Headbands of Hope
Vintage Christmas
Double Take
Family Tree Coordinates
Oceans
Japanese Garden
Love is in the Air
Interspecies Animal Friendships
80s Hairstyles
Year of the Monkey
Pinatas
Rock and Roll
Windows
New Year Traditions
Knitting
Holiday Gift Bag
Family Portraits
Moon Phases
Fitness
Post Apocalyptic Toile
Microorganisms
Cephalopods
Botanical Sketchbook
Pop Art Cookies
State Fair
Ditsy Lizards
90s Nostalgia
Hit the Books
Butterfly Coordinates
After School Snacks
Goats
National Parks
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Whats in Your Bag
Llamas
Lemonade
Hedgehogs
Sandcastles
Watercolor Power Tools
Mermaids
Pickles
Woodshop
Flower for Mom
Bees
Islands
Flying Machines
Southwest Baby Bedding
Beagles
Spoons
Coral, Mint, Black and White Limited Color Palette
Cubist Cats
Mythical Creatures
Ditsy Sheep
Steampunk Valentine
Rockets
Groundhogs
Australian Cities
Penguin
Math
Winter Toile
Kittens in Mittens
Thermoses
Calligraphy
Ornament Gift Wrap
Calaveras
Clocks & Timepieces
Umbrellas
Ballet
Tables & Chairs
Cat Damask
Marching Band
Your Neighborhood
Beetles
Hiking
Backpacks
Herb Garden
Cosmic Voyage
Rhinoceroses
Fishing Lures
Sewing Notions
Farming
Surfing
Beards and Mustaches
Utensils
Crayon Drawn Monsters
Terrariums
Earth Day
Lilies
Whales
Wellies and Galoshes
Science Fair
Bedtime
Women’s Day Toile
Geodes and Gems
History of Jazz
Anti-Valentine’s Day Cross Stitch
Chinese Paper Cutting
Great Barrier Reef
Magic Show
Spring Floral Cheater Quilt Block
Hand Lettered New Year’s Resolution
Party Hats
Retro Skiing
Ugly Sweaters
One Yard Tree Wall Hanging
Mittens Gift Wrap
Film Noir
Ghosts
Pies
Constellations
Small Scale Geometric Print for Shoes
Kuler Spaces
Dinosaurs
Dim Sum
Fashion
Fireflies
8-Bit
Highways and Byways
Ditsy Crickets
Horses
Picnics
Citrus Fruits
Midsummer Nights Dream
Farmer’s Market
Geek Chic
Frogs
Mod Wallpaper
Greek Myths
Birthdays
Sailing
Pop Art Chickens
Gardening Tools
Baby Animals
Living in a Jane Austen Novel
Painted Eggs
Girl Power
Lion Lamb
Critter Pillow
African Inspired
Love Letters
Mardi Gras
Australian Animals
Murder Mystery Toile
Zodiac
Year of the Snake
Snowflakes
Sweets Scatter Print
Under the Sea
Matisse
Flights of Fancy
Holiday Cocktail Napkin Set
Be My Hero
Arrows
Creepy Crawlies
Zombie Plush Toys
Eighties Embroidery
Earth Science
Donkeys & Elephants
Typewriters Black & White
Zig Zig Cheater Quilt
School Supplies
Camping
Craft Party Cut & Sew
Aviation
Olympic Celebration
Mid-Century Cocktail Dress Prints
Paper Collage Cakes
Pomegranates
Stars & Stripes
Extinct Animals
Geometric Shapes
Family Crest
Motorcycles
Hand Drawn
Retro Kitchen
What’s the New Owl
Hat Pattern
Sewing Celebration
Books
Bag Patterns
Urban Sightings
Robot Cheater Quilt
Your Town Toile
Bicycles
Jellyfish
Ditsy Sea Creatures
Art Deco
Graffiti Street Art
Outdated Technology
Cityscapes
Coordinates
Recipes
Evergreens
Bells
Cloth Baby Book
Feathers
Kites Small Print
Advent Calendar
Military
Cameos
Root Vegetables
Ditsy Prints
Jack O’Lanterns
Autumn
Birds
Bowling
Hawiian Cheater Quilt
Circus
Sharks
Coffee
Roller Derby
Butterflies
Fireworks
Puzzles
Fishing
Imaginary Animals
Folk Tales
Ice Cream
Black & White
Poetry
Alphabet
Rain
Maps
Squid
Leprechauns
Paisley
Breakfast
Pointillism
Year of the Rabbit
Bunting
Cats
Dogs
Time Travel
Twelve Days of Christmas
Candles
Stockings
Woodland Creatures
Scanned Nature Items
Vampires
Gourds
Kawaii
Halloween Mask
Border Prints
Carousels
Tractors
Windows & Doors
Surrealist Fruit
Camouflage
Desert
Paper Collage
Travel
Nautical
Robots
Medieval
Tiki
Fifties
Puppets
Cocktails
Musical Instruments
Shoes
Tessellations
Water Colors
Garden Fabrics
Daffodils

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!

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