Modus Operandi: 18 Inspiration Prompts

18 Inspiration Prompts

  • Keep an art journal
    It’s a resource to gather inspirational images or quotes, collect and test your ideas, and track your progress as an artist.
  • Stretch
    Sometimes getting up and out of the studio and moving around loosens you up creatively, too, and provides just the right scenario for coming up with the next best idea.
  • Collage with your junk mail
    I’ve posted previously about the usefulness of utilizing materials not precious to you and what is less valued than junk mail? Not only does it free you up to be experimental, but you’ll feel slightly better about having gotten some use out of it!
  • Read the biography of an artist you admire
    Learning about the path, travails, and successes of those we look up to helps us visualize our own path to success and prepares us for the struggles along the way. I find I get similar inspiration from artist’s blogs, too!
  • Try a new technique
  • Ask “What if…?”
  • Draw something you hate, something you love
  • Indulge your curiosity
    What are you curious about? Research it via your local library or search online. Not only are you gaining a wealth of new info, but you never know when that knowledge is going to come back as inspiration for a new project.
  • Look at your favorite painting, then make something using the same palette of colors
    Ideally, you’d just be able to pop over to your local museum or gallery and take notes there, but if that’s not an option and the image is online, this palette generator will provide you with the five most dominant colors in vivid and dull palettes.
  • Write a fan letter to yourself
  • Meditate
  • Explore an unfamiliar neighborhood
    Either in a notebook or some other means, record what you see, hear, smell. Browse unfamiliar shops, pay attention to the distinctions between buildings, people watch in the park.
  • Listen to new music
    Pick a random station on the dial while you’re driving or, while online, browse muxtape.
  • Use a tool at the wayback of your drawer/shelf/studio
  • Participate in an online challenge
    Check out the sidebar of my blog to the right for some ideas!
  • Listen to your inner voice
  • Vary your media: if you make books, take photos; if you paint, write a haiku
  • Just give yourself permission to make something
    Open yourself up to the experience and just see what happens!

Thanks for reading!

Published in journal, modus operandi on Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Tags:  , ,


  1. Wednesday, July 9, 2008, at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Love this! I think i need to go do some of those right now :)

  2. Wednesday, July 9, 2008, at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    This is a cool post on journaling! Love what you did with it and the prompts are great.

  3. LOLA
    Thursday, December 11, 2008, at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    great suggessions.

  4. mrmisc
    Thursday, April 9, 2009, at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe I stumbled here. Freaky.

  5. ilse
    Saturday, September 10, 2011, at 4:49 am | Permalink

    Great ideas & you made it beautiful to look at :).

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