With the continuation of the Art As Therapy Program starting today, we're sharing 25 prompts that artists can work though to improve their relationship with their craft! Before we begin, there are some guidelines to remember before diving into these projects. The first, and most important thing to keep in mind is that you're doing this for YOU! So respond honestly, be kind to yourself, and never feel inclined to share your results unless you really, really want to. That being said, if you're looking for a group of artists to talk about these prompts with, join the Art As Therapy Club at Atithi Studios. Where we discuss each and every one of these prompts in depth along with other arts-related topics.
Postcard to a Past Self: If you could talk to yourself back when you first began creating, what would you say? Would you give any advice? Where are you now compared to then?
Challenge vs. Triumph: Create a piece that narrates a challenge that you overcame. What lessons did you learn through that experience? How did your feelings while facing the challenge contrast how you felt after figuring it out?
Map to Success: What does success look like to you? How are you getting there? Do you have to take detours or alternate routes? From beginning to end, where do you find yourself on your journey right now?
Paying Tribute: Do a project paying tribute to someone or something that inspires you. What draws you to this person/place/thing? How do you mirror its qualities in your work?
Mandala of Your Inner Artist: A mandala is a geometric symbol made up of layers that represent many layers of a journey, experience, or in this case yourself as an artist. How many layers do you have? How does your core differ from your outermost layers? What makes up the layers in between?
Sanctuary: Create your sanctuary. What makes you feel safe and secure? If it were an environment, how would it look, smell, sound and feel? What parts of your sanctuary can be replicated in real life?
Indulgent: If you haven’t had time to create something solely for your own enjoyment, this is your opportunity. What do you like to make? What’s something you’ve been wanting to make, but haven’t yet?
Make Up Work: Finish a project you previously put on hold. Why did you step away from it originally? Will you approach it differently? Has your vision changed over time?
Self Portrait: Who are you as an artist? Without considering an audience, exposure, or outside critique, what does your work mean to you?
Facing Your Fears: What’s the biggest or most obvious obstacle to your ideal creative life? Is it an external or internal issue? Explore the nature of this beast by creating a diagram of it.
Observation: Choose a mundane object that you find beauty in. What makes it valuable to you? What do you notice about its color, form, and utility? Create a piece of work around this object, specifically your admiration for it.
Emotional Exploration: Create a piece that represents an emotion you’re experiencing. Pay attention to where the emotion comes from vs. how you present it. What is the emotion ultimately telling you? What colors and form do you associate with it?
Second Chance: Think about a project you consider to be a failure. Maybe it didn’t turn out the way you intended it to. Maybe it did, but then you realized the concept was flawed. Maybe you failed to even start it. Spend some time thinking about which elements don’t sit right with you then try it again with a different approach. Where did the previous attempt go wrong? What have you learned since then?
Something New: Create a piece using a technique you’ve never tried before. Abandon perfectionism and focus on getting to know the process. Note what you love about it, and things you need more time to figure out. Maybe it doesn’t work out at all, what did you learn and how would you do it differently next time?
Imaginary Friend: Create a character that would serve as the perfect companion to your inner artist. What special abilities does it have? Where would you take it? In what ways could it compensate for the things you lack?
Monochrome: Choose a color that you typically avoid working with and create a piece using it exclusively. Extra points if you choose a subject that you typically avoid, too! What about this color rubs you the wrong way? Have you realized any positive qualities about the tints and hues within the color? How do you feel about the color/subject after completing the work?
Buried Confessions: Do some journaling exploring your fears and apprehension about creating. What stops you from reaching your full potential as an artist? What are some of the risks of pursuing your wildest dreams? What consequences of failure scare you the most? Now take your page(s) of text and cover it up with illustrations, paintings, paper mache, anything you can think of. Will you choose to cover it completely or leave bits of text visible in the final piece? How does your cover up method represent your approach to addressing these insecurities?
Commemoration: Create a piece that memorializes a positive memory. It can be from childhood or a very recent experience. Which parts of the experience will you choose to embellish? How will you capture the abstract elements of the memory? How does art support our memory?
Propaganda: What is a message you think everyone should hear? Create a piece that conveys this message loud and clear. What methods do you like to employ to communicate through your work? How do composition, color, line, and form aid you in getting your message across?
Call and Response: Think about a piece of work that you feel strongly about. Whether you love it or despise it, make artwork responding to that piece. It can be a ballad of your admiration, a counterargument, a condemnation, a parody, etc.
Black and White: Create a piece using only black and white. What role does color play in your typical practice? How does using a limited palette affect your process? How can you get your message across without relying on color?
Bare Necessities: Think of something you can’t live without. It can be something you literally require for survival or something that is essential to your routine. Create a piece that explores the functions of this something. If you could give this thing to someone else, would they find it as necessary as you do? What would life without it look like for you?
Storytelling: Think of a story you tell often or really like to hear. It can be something iconic, or a personal story. Create a piece that illustrates the story or a key element of it. Which parts of the story do you think carry the most meaning? How does your artistic style mesh with the tone and theme of the story?
Memory Lane: Look through an old sketchbook and portfolio. As you examine each piece, take note of the things you like. Which elements or techniques have stuck with you throughout your journey? Do you notice any patterns in your old work? After reviewing your old work, think about how your observations may influence the next project you work on.
Research: Who is an artist you admire? How much do you really know about them? Research this person and find out what they were like. (Spoiler alert, they were/are a regular person, just like you) How does their origin and life experiences influence their work?