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Art Prompts: Overcoming the Art Block

I am certain that a large proportion of you want to create art, but find a huge imaginary wall between you and your precious art supplies. Some of you do manage to sit with your paintbrush in front of your blank canvas, but your mind seems to go blank too. You just don't know what to paint and the vast emptiness of the white sheet overwhelms you. So, you decide to stop for the day and start again on another day instead, crowning the procrastination queen inside you once again.

The wall you had planned to decorate your artwork with is as blank as ever. But don't drown in guilt! It isn't your fault. It isn't only you. 90% of artists go through this at one point of their time or another. And yeah this feeling is so common that it even has a name: ART BLOCK!

What is an art block?

An art block is defined as a period of time in which an artist cannot tap her creativity and/or bring herself to create a new piece of art. There literally is a block in the flow of her artistic creative juices! The biggest mistake you probably do here is hope that the block will magically disappear in a while and that you will quickly return to create magnificent magical art. Sometimes this does happen and creative ideas explode in your mind spontaneously letting you create fabulous pieces of work you are proud of. But, most of the time this does not happen, and the art block remains for way longer than you want it to. I had the latter. An art block that was just not going away and therefore had tons of empty canvases, empty drawing books and empty walls! I struggled for days wondering how to get over this art block and finally realised that I must learn to make ART PROMPTs my new best friend!

What is an Art Prompt?

An art prompt is a starting point to expand your artistic horizon and to become more clear with your artistic vision. Art prompts can be visual cues in the form of words, phrases or pictures; audio cues in the form of songs, stories or day to day conversations; or sensory cues in the form of smells, tastes and touch. They can stimulate your mind to start thinking and challenge you to create something new and different. Usually, your mind is unable to process anything interesting when it is staring at a blank sheet or focusing on the process of finding an idea. A stressed mind is confined and cannot run wild and free. The presence of a prompt relaxes your mind. Your mind is now convinced that it can go and draw what the prompt suggests and thus runs around untamed subconsciously finding new words, new images and new scenes and cross connecting ideas at a million times a minute. Thus when you finally touch your paintbrush to your blank canvas ideas flow in abundance and magical work is born.

How to get Art Prompts?

This is a small list of four of my favourite methods to get Art Prompts to end your Art Block and inspire your next art work.

1) Ask a loved one to give you a prompt! I believe that it is extremely beneficial for you to share your artistic journey with your loved one. And the best way to do this is by giving them the great honour of giving you the prompt that will inspire and shape your artistic masterpiece. Then, the happiness and pride you receive when you see your completed work will make your loved one even more happy because they feel content that they have contributed to it. This is my favourite way of getting a prompt as through this my significant other is the one by my side even in my artistic journey.

2) Choose the 5th, 10th or 15th picture from your photo gallery to inspire you! Photos can be random and really good prompts. Most of the time the photos in your collection are of objects you like and have built so many subconscious connections and conclusions on that they are bound to translate into magnificent art when pencil touches paper.

3) Use an art prompt from the internet! There are certain internet sites especially designed to generate prompts to inspire your art work. My favourite art prompt generating site is

Using this site involves three simple steps:

Step 1: Select a category from one of the six categories given.

Step 2: Read the prompt that appears or press refresh until you get a prompt that inspires you.

Step 3: Use your prompt as inspiration to create art. Another fun article you may like to read for art prompts is the Weekly Art prompt list by Paper Mama on Pinterest.

4) Get inspired by music! Use the next song on your playlist as inspiration to create art. Music can move your soul and generate strong feelings, desires and opinions that can transform into marvellous artistic expressions. Some of my best work is a result of strong themed music playing in the background that continually inspires me.

So, now that you know that an Art Block is normal and that you have four tricks in your pocket to pull you out of it, never let yourself get stuck in artistic inertia ever again. Get started. You may just end up being the next Picasso!


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