Sometimes all you need is a place to start.
Between our monthly Art Dares and the art prompts below, you’ll have plenty to choose from. You can adjust the prompts based on what supplies you have. For a lotus book, skip the book covers; you’ll still get a beautiful book! Show us what you make! Tag us @art.prof on Instagram with #artprofshare.
Have questions or need more help?
Join the Art Prof Discord server, we have channels for educators in high school and college where you can get support and answers from other teachers! Prof Lieu checks in daily and will help out.
ART PROMPTS: 3D
Toilet Paper Tube Sculpture
Using only 1 toilet paper tube and scissors, (no glue) manipulate and shape the toilet paper tube as dramatically as possible to get as far away from the original shape as possible.
Find a surface you can stick sewing pins into, (a meat foam tray or piece of styrofoam works great) push the pins at a broad range of angles and directions to create a fluid sculpture.
Abstract Paper Sculptures
Using thicker paper (like cardstock) cut, curl, fold, and shape individual shapes and assemble. Glue is optional! Cut slits & holes into the paper to connect pieces.
Chipboard Personality Sculptures
Create 2 abstract sculptures that represent 2 contrasting sides of your personality. Substitute chipboard with: toilet paper tubes, paper plates, paper, and more. Watch our video tutorial here
Meandering Artist Book
Skip the book covers and creating a meandering artist book. Invent a path for the paper to unfold, then fill the book with words and/or images to tell a story. Watch our video tutorial here.
Toilet Paper Sheet Sculpture
Get inspired by one of Sarah Sze’s early installations; create a sculpture from a single sheet of toilet paper. No glue required, although adding glue does provide more options!
Recycled Book Sculpture
Find an old book: rip, tear, fold, cut up the pages to create a sculpture on the surface of the open book. Wrap the book pages around wire, toothpicks, etc. to create thin shapes that can stand up.
A stapler and paper is all you need to make a zine, turn it into a comic, an illustrator story, or a stream of consciousness, anything goes!
Styrofoam Cup Sculpture
Cut up styrofoam cups into shapes using scissors, a utility knife to arrange an abstract, organic form. Hot glue is best, but pieces can also be inserted into and around each other by cutting slits in the styrofoam.
Accordion Artist Book
Cut a long sheet of paper, fold it into a zig zag, and you’ve got an artist book. Adding book covers is optional, watch our lotus fold books video tutorial for how to create book covers.
Still Life Arrangement
Half of a still life artwork is choosing the objects and arranging them! Follow Prof Lieu’s video tutorial on how to set up a still life, and shoot photos of your still lifes. Consider color saturation, contrast, diagonals, backdrops and more.
Aluminum Foil Sculpture
Look up a nature object that has the structure of a spiral, and create a sculpture that exaggerates and distorts the spiral in a dramatic manner.
ART PROMPTS: Illustration (any media)
Imagined Underwater Landscape
Design a fantastical underwater landscape, invent your own corrals and plant life! See project examples and our video tutorial here. Our video shows scratchboard, but any media works.
Your Inner Voice
What does your inner voice say to you? What conversations and issues come up? Write a quick script between you and your inner voice. Our video tutorial shows a comic, but you can use any format or media.
Modern Myth Illustration
Choose a myth and illustrate it in a contemporary setting. Characters and elements of the story should recognizable while having a contemporary interpretation. See our lesson plan and project examples here.
Self-Portrait as a Fruit or Vegetable
If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be? Ask your friends and see what they say! Create a self-portrait as a fruit or vegetable, any media works! See our lesson plan and project examples here.
Your Future Self
What do think your future self will be? What do you wish your future self to be? What do you imagine your future self will be doing? Interpret this theme in any media. See project examples here
Chapter Header Portrait Illustration
Choose a chapter book and illustrate a portrait of a character in that chapter in a circle in any media.
ART PROMPTS: DIGITAL MEDIA
Create digital paintings of several textures in the shape of a cube. Choose a broad range of surfaces: natural and manmade in a range of colors, textures. See our lesson plan and project examples here.
ART PROMPTS: ANIMATION
ART PROMPTS: DRAWING
Gesture drawings: Pets
Instead of a nude model, draw a pet, a cat, dog, fish, guinea pig! Same principles of gesture drawing are present and you’ll log life drawing practice. Watch our video tutorial here.
Pen drawing on a 3D object
Find any 3D object, a styrofoam cup, a lemon, a box and draw on it with a micron pen. Respond to the form of the object with your line drawing. Visit Song Kang’s Instagram for pen drawing inspiration.
Neighborhood “Travel” Sketches
Look at your neighborhood with a fresh pair of eyes and do some urban sketching where you live. Markers, pens, colored pencils are easy transport for sketching on site. Watch our video tutorial on Taiwan for tips on urban sketching.
Drawing Marathon: Human Anatomy
Draw an assigned number of heads, arms, hands, legs, or feet in a set time frame. This project can be formatted differently depending on the time frame you want. For example, do 5-6 drawings, each for 10 min. every day for a week. See our lesson plan and project examples here.
Gesture Drawings: People IRL
Draw whoever is in your living space: family members, etc. Tip: people barely move when looking at their phones or playing video games
ART PROMPTS: COLLAGE
Using black, white, and grey paper, cut out flat shapes to create a self-portrait collage. Consider shape, negative space, and overlap.
Painted Paper Collage
Use hand painted paper collage to create a portrait of your room, a self-portrait, or any other topic! Our example uses acrylic paint, but any paint like watercolor, tempera, or even markers works great. See our lesson plan and project examples here.
Choose a letter of the alphabet and camouflage the letter in a collage made with flat colors. Shown here: “W.”
Choose a word, and arrange and stylize the letters to visually represent the meaning of the word. Seen here: “flamingo.”
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