Nicole Black.


Art Journal Prompts

Experimenting is a good way of developing your own style and keeping things interesting creatively! Your art journal is a suitable place for this experimenting to take place; there is no pressure for perfection and a pre-determined outcome. You can make mistakes and 'happy accidents' are usually welcomed additions.

Listed below is some of the prompts I use when I'm stuck for ideas on how to fill the pages in my art journal. They can be treated as warm ups for for ongoing client work or commissioned pieces so you are still working on your own things on the side!





Close your eyes and select art materials from your pencil case/ drawer at random. See what colours emerge and if they’re clashy, how can you make them work together? (you may want to throw in a few highlighters, textas and pencils in for good measure) 



The white page can be an intimidating place to start a new drawing so why not bring in some extra constraints to work within at the beginning? Receipts, paper menus, newspaper, old photo-copied paper are great for this exercise (and also a great way to recycle old paper!) 



Not sure what to draw? Not to worry! Give yourself a time period (say 20 minutes) and commit to making marks on the page without overthinking the outcome or trying to make the drawing look like something in particular. Use a medium that easily marks the page (there’s nothing wrong with the old biro pen) put some tunes on and enjoy the process. 



Find a magazine or book and open the pages at random. Challenge yourself to draw something from the page. This exercise is great at developing your drawing skills and could be incorporated into a daily challenge over the space of a month? For extra constraints, add in a time limit- for example 30 minutes!



It easy to find beautiful things to draw but what can be more challenging (and maybe interesting?) is finding something beautiful in the mundane or everyday and and seeking to make it interesting. What have you been passing by in your space everyday that could be given your observation and attention?



Stuck on the train for half an hour? Your don’t have to draw people if you don’t feel comfortable doing so (although, it’s easier these days when everyone seems to be looking at their phones!) but maybe something out the window could grab your attention? Like the previous prompt, sometimes it can be quite interesting to find the constraints and work within them. On one tram ride home after uni I decided to challenge myself and take something mundane in the environment and try and make it interesting to me. I began to pay attention to the fences and gate details of the houses that were zooming by the window. I recorded the line patterns in my art journal and was pleased with the outcome of turning these everyday staples in the suburban environment into points of interest. 



What mediums would you typically be opposed to mixing together? Is there a medium that scares you but you've always been curious to try and understand it better? Give yourself permission to experiment with how mediums interact with one another. Take on the mindset of a scientist; what do you imagine when you mix 'Medium A' with 'Medium B'. This doesn't have to be traditional mediums either! Look for things around the house that could bring a new effect to the page.



Without encouraging hoarding, start collecting papers or cut-outs and keep them in a folder. This could be old paint splodges, photographs, headlines for articles, easter egg foil, origami paper (just to name a few) When you’re not in a drawing mood a good challenge is creating a collage with these found papers. Experiment with how the elements interact with each other on the page, how you layer the paper and can a narrative be established?



Challenge yourself to not look at the page whilst you’re doing this drawing. It could be of your hand, a person, a pet. The organic lines can be quite beautiful for this exercise and it’s a great warm up! 



Select a favourite book and open a page from random. Close your eyes and select an area on the page. Can you make the paragraph or sentence into an illustration or drawing?