Personal Narratives TRACK: Lesson 1, Routine


Create an artwork that portrays a routine that you either currently have, or had at some point in your life.


Vanessa Glynn, Maya, CJ Ormita, Joanne Han, Elizabeth Kripke, Kenneth Onulak, Alex Kiesling, Phoebe Morrison, Annelise Yee

  • Many people have similar routines: exercising, walking their dog, drinking coffee, eating meals, etc.
  • Try to avoid these common routines.
  • Instead, choose a routine that is very specific to you, that most people likely don’t have.
Boxer Dog Reference #77
Flickr album: Boxers
  • The routine can be any frequency, and cover any period of time.
  • You can show a routine that you do 3x a day or a routine that only happens once a year.
  • Visual repetition can be a helpful tool in your artwork, consider how to build in variation within that repetition to sustain the viewer.
Karl Baden, Self-Portraits
Karl Baden, Every Day: February 23, 1987 – March 26, 2010, Howard Yezerski Gallery

A Boston College Professor Has Taken a ‘Selfie’ Everyday for the Last 27 Years. Karl Baden’s feat is part of an ongoing project that explores mortality and obsession. Read more in Boston Magazine.


  • Start by writing 2 lists: 1list that is routines that you currently have, and another list that is routines you used to have.
  • Circle the routines that have distinct visuals and routines that are unique to you.
  • Try Lesson 2 of our Brainstorming Track: key words, image searches, & mind maps.
Brainstorming Track: Mind Maps & Key Words
Ashley Tanelle
Sketching & Reference photos
Brainstorming Track: Mood Boards
Ashley Tanelle, mood boards

Art Media

  • Use any art media, 2D and/or 3D.
  • Be willing to step outside of materials that you are already comfortable with.
  • Consider how using an unconventional tool, a surface that isn’t paper or canvas, could help make your story more impactful.
  • Explore how mixed media could be effective in showing your story.

We want to share your progress!

Water Mixable Oils Still Life Painting, banner
  • Did you do this lesson?
  • Submit to have your work to be posted here on this page or mentioned in a live stream.

Brainstorming for Artists: Demo

This video shows the brainstorming process for artists beginning to end, in order to create an editorial illustration. The process begins by brainstorming ideas from an article in the New York Times, and then transitions into drawing a mind map.

Demo & Discussion by Art Prof Clara Lieu & Anjali Shankar.

6 min. video

How to Avoid Art Clichés

This video explains what is an art cliché, and how to avoid creating artworks that will be perceived as being cliché. This discussion breaks down how to get past the cliché in order to create artworks that are more thought provoking and unique in their approach.

Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artists Deepti Menon and Alex Rowe.

5 min. video

Show us what you make!

Mixed Media Acrylic Painting, Lauryn, banner