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 most of the topics they’ve chosen. You can see the winners here.

Vintage Travel
Kitchen Wisdom
Backyard Winter Birds
ABC’s
Cozy Reading
Snail Mail
Game Night
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

Cloth Paper Scissors Design Challenges

I used to love participating in these challenges; unfortunately, they’ve been discontinued, along with the magazine. Such a bummer!

INSPIRED BY THE MASTERS
Pick a technique or art inspired by master artists. How has a particular artist has inspired you? Is it Seurat’s pointillism that sets your heart aflutter, Van Gogh’s brush techniques, the collage of Jonathan Talbot?

MIXED-MEDIA PORTRAIT
Create their own mixed-media portraits. Your portrait can be of anyone you like, real or imagined: a famous person, a mentor, your best friend. Dive into your stash, and let’s see what you can come up with.

A STITCHED COLLAGE CITYSCAPE
What is it about cityscapes that captures our attention and has us grabbing our cameras? We’d like you to show us what gets your attention. Choose one of your favorite cityscapes or skylines, or create one from your imagination. Recreate the scene, using your preferred mixed-media materials and techniques, plus stitching. The stitching can be done by hand or machine, but it must be a key element. The stitching can highlight special sections, add dimension and light, build layers—or maybe all of those things— inviting us to see what makes that place so special.

MIXED-MEDIA RECIPES
Create recipe-inspired artwork, using an original recipe that evokes special memories. Think about that entree, dessert, or snack that has evolved over the years and become a family tradition, or a new favorite recipe you just developed. Create a piece of art that showcases its ingredients and meaning.

MIXED-MEDIA PAPER CUT ART
Create some paper-cut art. Though it may look challenging, it’s easier than you think. Once you’ve created the cut-paper art, dive into your stash and add some media. Paint, stitching, collage, colored pencils, and more are welcome additions.

MIXED-MEDIA FLOWERS
Welcome spring by creating mixed-media flowers. The flowers can be created using any of your favorite techniques and materials. It can be a painting, a dimensional piece, a collage, or created with fabric, stitching, stencils, encaustic, and more.

MIXED-MEDIA ART STUDIO ACCESSORIES
We invite you to create a mixed-media piece that you can use to organize materials and tools in your studio. Think ephemera or collage paper storage, pen or paintbrush holder, tool tote, ink pad holder…you get the idea. Start with a holder you have and art it up, or make one from scratch. Mix your media! Make a fun addition to your studio, something you look forward to using. This storage accessory can be up to 8″ x 8″ x 8″, but must weigh 1 pound or less and arrive in a box sturdy enough for its return trip to you. Use a variety of mixed-media techniques and materials, including but not limited to collage, paint, found objects, wire, fabric, and doodling.

MIXED-MEDIA WREATH
We invite you to create a mixed-media wreath with lots of flair. It can be a holiday wreath, an everyday wreath, or something for another occasion. Just be sure to mix your media and techniques, and listen to your muse. Create a 6″ – 18″ wreath using a variety of mixed-media techniques and materials, including but not limited to papers, fibers, found objects, beads/buttons, and paint. You can make the wreath yourself, or use a purchased wreath as your base. Use the holidays or anything else as inspiration.

NATURE COLLAGE
Artists often look to nature for inspiration for their work, whether it’s a park in the midst of an urban jungle or a desert landscape. Inspired by this influence, we decided to invite you, our readers, to create a mixed-media collage using items from nature. Create an 8″ x 10″ collage using items from nature: grasses, sticks, acorns, stones, feather, shells, leaves, and more. Use a variety of art media to enhance your collage, including but not limited to paints, stitching, markers, papers, and pens.

HAND-CUT STENCILS
Stencils can add dimension and texture to any piece of art. Use paint, molding past, ink, or even stitch to render the image and make a stenciled design the center of attention. We invite you to make a hand-cut stencil, using your own inspiration and design. Imagine the possibilities. You can cut your stencil from Mylar®, cardstock, or any other sturdy material you prefer. Once your stencil is cut, use it in a piece of art. Please use a 6″ x 6″ flat substrate for your artwork and make sure we can see the stencil design in the completed work. Incorporate mixed-media in your artwork. Use paint, ink, stitch, pastels, molding paste, stitching, pencils, and more to create your stenciled art. Again, please be sure the stenciled image is evident in the completed piece.

MIXED-MEDIA SELFIE
The trend in taking selfies shows no sign of slowing down. People are planning them, taking them, posting them, and sharing them everywhere. We’re inviting our readers to express their artistic self in a mixed-media selfie. Your selfie can be of you alone, or include friends and/or pets. Transfers, collage, stitch, and altered digital images are a few suggestions for materials and techniques, but we welcome all mixed media. Dig into your stash, add your spin, and send us your best “shot.”

MIXED-MEDIA CUSTOM PLANNER
Let’s start the New Year right with a custom personal planner. We invite you to create a mixed-media planner for 2016, and we want to see it all—create a cover that tells us a little something about your style, and then add pages that will inspire you throughout the year. Create a 6″ x 8″ book for your planner. It can have a stitched binding or you can use ribbons, rings, or another favorite binding method. Though there are no exclusions on materials, your planner must include a variety of techniques and materials to be considered for publication. Use fabric, paint, found objects, transfers, stencils, stamps, ephemera, and more.

MIXED-MEDIA MINI GARLAND
Be a part of our Mixed-Media Mini Garland reader challenge. We are looking for some fun, colorful, unique mini garlands to inspire readers to embellish whatever holidays they celebrate. Dig into your stash and make a mixed-media garland you’d be proud to hang or to give.

DOODLE JEWELRY
Gone are the days when you’d get in trouble for doodling. That technique now has a whole new respect. Whether you call your artwork tangles or doodles, we’d like to see you feature it in some jewelry. Encase your designs in resin; etch them in metal; doodle on pendants, bracelets, and earrings in paint or ink.

MIXED-MEDIA MAPS
We invite you to create a mixed-media map of something in your life: your home, your neighborhood, your favorite hiking trail, where you came from (literally or figuratively), your goals . . . just about anything can be mapped! Use any media in your art arsenal, including tangles, stencils, stitch, collage, paint, stamps, and more-and don’t forget embellishments.

MINIATURE MIXED-MEDIA WEARABLES
We all have ideas for clothing or styles we’d love to see on the runway. Now’s your chance! Express your fashion sense … in miniature. Create mixed-media clothes – fancy, casual, or whimsical, for any age group. Have fun with your materials and supplies, and show us your runway-worthy best.

MIXED-MEDIA BOOK SCULPTURE
Artists have transformed retired books into journals, turned them into altered books, and used their many pages to make textural collages. We invite you now to take a book and create a sculpture, using your mixed-media tools, techniques, and supplies. We encourage you to use books destined for the recycle bin. Make it whimsical, utilitarian, or just plain fun.

WIRED MIXED-MEDIA ASSEMBLAGE
Using wire, create a mixed media piece or assemblage.

BLACK, WHITE, AND READ ALL OVER ORNAMENT CHALLENGE
Create a two-dimensional ornament with book pages. The ornaments should include only shades of black and white (and the color red, if desired).

MIXED-MEDIA SKULLS
Sugar skulls or spooky skulls, use items in your stash to create a mixed media skull.

MIXED-MEDIA STITCHED SQUARE
Create a 6″ x 6″ square and include at least three different mixed-media supplies and stitching (hand and/or machine).

FACES OF MIXED MEDIA
Create an original, colorful face, yours or someone else’s, using pens, pencils, and/or markers on a 4″ x 4″ piece of paper. No paint this time!

More from Cloth Paper Scissors

5 Art Prompts for Staying Inspired from Rae Missigman

  1. Create With Your Eyes Closed
  2. Let Color Be Your Guide
  3. Revisit Your Own Art
  4. Consider a Change of Scenery
  5. Repetition Is Your Best Friend

Read the entire article here.

Roll the Dice for Mixed-Media Inspiration! by Carolyn Dube

Write down different art prompts, techniques, and products you have in your stash on each side of each die; when you’re feeling stuck, roll the dice and create away!
Read the original article here.

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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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