10 Fun, Fresh + Unique Prompts For Art Journaling
You've prolly heard me talking lots (and lots!) about my hot-off-the-presses new book "Photo Craft: Creative Mixed Media and Digital Approaches to Transforming Your Photographs"(co-authored with the lovely Susan Tuttle) - but what I haven't begun to go on + on about are all the amazing projects that we couldn't cram into the book. One of the things I am most proud of in our book - is just how much information we managed to pack into it! It was important to both of us that we go light on fluff and heavy on content. I do believe we succeeded! What is even more amazing is that we cut enough material to prolly fill an entire second book! So, I've made the decision to begin sharing tidbits of my cut items here on the ol' blog.
Originally intended to be a sidebar to the "Fotofile: embracing the art journal through happy accidents, photography and upcycled materials" project of mine within the book, the prompts that follow are meant to get you started when you have a creative block. If you're looking for even more inspiration, be sure to visit Samantha Kira Harding - journal artist + woman extraordinare - she contributed one of the most beautiful handmade journals I've ever seen - to accompany my fotofile in Photo Craft ... you can read all about that in the book.
Pssssst… hi you! Yes, YOU!
Stuck on how to fill your journal pages? These unique prompts should get you going pretty quickly.
1: Thumbody Loves You
Tacky? Yes! Corny? Yes! Leaves you with the I’m-almost-ashamed-to-admit-it-feel-good-warm-fuzzies-inside? Yes! Press your thumb onto an inkpad and place multiple thumbprints all over a page. Personalize them by adding legs, eyes, arms, beards, hats, unicorn horns… whatever you like really and write the name of someone who has loved you inside of each print. Refer to this page next time you have a calgon-take-me-away-moment.
2: Indulge your inner deviant
You can commit one crime, any crime … and get away with it! Describe your ultimate heist, the masterminds behind it and how the sinister plot would unfold. Use words, illustrations, maps if needed and top secret codes. Don’t worry; I won’t tell. Mwahahaha.
3. Vernacular Fantacular
We’ve all done it; the proverbial smile and nod accompanied with glazed eyes that come with hearing a word that instantly paralyzes your intellect. Now is the time to make a list of the jargon that has you all befuddled! Befriend the dictionary to solve the mystery. Collage the definitions onto your page, write them, or just file them away in your oh-so-smart brain. FYI: Fantacular isn’t a real word, so no need to waste time on that one. Phrontistery, logorrhea, unctuous, coterie and abecedarian are actual words though. See? You’re well on your way to becoming a wordsmith already.
4. Channel Your Inner Weird Al Yankovic
… and set him free! Pick a song and write a parody to it. Set a timer and just go with your gut. It doesn’t have to be Grammy material, just needs to be fun! Moi? I totally have the rights to: I’m taking sexy back, I want a refund ‘cuz the song is whack, that kind of music is not my crack …..admit it, you’re singing it, aren’t you?
5. If I had a million dollars…
for every time I’ve seen that prompt, I’d be a billionaire. Gen-u-ine happiness starts with wanting what you already have. Make a list of the immeasurable goodies (tangible or not) that you actually have and absolutely love. Heck, you don’t even have to love it – just have gratitude for it. Don’t you feel your cheerfulness factor rising already?
6. CONGRATULATIONS! You have your own paint line!
Gather snippets of scrap papers in all different colors, glue them onto a page and name them. Raspberry Redux, Persnickety Pink, Cupcake Batter, Broccoli Hills and Organic Breath are mine… alllllll mine.
7. Tweet, Tweet
Social networks like Twitter (twitter.com) are notorious for using hashtags (#) with trending topics. Scout out the daily trends and opt for the low-tech way of participating –respond with words or illustrations in your journal. Here are a few that I have seen, fashioned in the-ever-popular-finish-this-sentence-format, to get you started: #EvenIfYouPaidMeIWont , #TheyNeedToBringBack, #ThingsNotToSayToYourGirlfriend, and my favorite, an introspective one: #TweetYour16YearOldSelf (what WOULD you tell your 16 year old self?) The best part is, no one will ever have to know you exceeded your 140 character limit.
8. Reinvent The Wheel
When life becomes a bit too routine, a bit too mundane – it is time to change the norm. Think of everyday, ordinary events like saying “Hi”, “Goodbye”, or “I Love You” and list out new ways to express those things. Be an inventor and rename things like species of birds or trees in ways that make sense to you. (Who named all those anyway? That question used to keep me up at night when I was a kid) How many other ways can you open a door other than using your hands? (would a hidden ninja drop down from your ceiling an deliver an award-winning kick to open it for you?) A bit of imagination is all it takes to see things in a different light.
9. Got Genealogy?
We all have that proverbial crazy uncle who has a thousand anecdotes ready to go at a moment’s notice. Pilfer the best material and jot down those stories you’ve heard at every family function for as far back as you can remember. Not only is it a great way to keep those memories alive, but it may just make great blackmail material someday! Alternatively, dig into your family tree a bit. Make note of the things that catch your interest, stories you never knew or the places and people you want to find more information on.
10. Interview 1000 Strangers!
Don your best PI/Reporter gear and not-so-stealthly-supplies then hit coffee shops, doctor offices, the neighborhood park or even the dry cleaners. Introduce yourself and ask if you can interview someone you don’t know. Just say it is for a personal project, most people will be flattered you want to know more about them. If someone isn’t interested, just move on – no need to take it personally. Use your journal to record their answers. I’m willing to bet that you’ll begin to see people in a new light, broaden your perspectives and perhaps even laugh a little. Huzzah!
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