Power of the Prompt
Being an artist runs in my blood. My Father was originally a glass artist, my Mother is a watercolorist, and my grandmother was a painter. I have musicians, makeup artists, actors and actresses, tattooists for aunties, uncles and cousins and the list goes on. Needless to say, I come from a family of artists, and it is something I have never been able to shake. I'm proud to be an artist and even more that I feel like I’ve reached a place where I can call myself that. That being said, it’s not easy. There are plenty of times where I just start at a blank piece of paper and write “I’m tired, I’m hungry” over and over again because I don’t know what to draw. It used to get me down. Like really get me down. And that is never the right approach to a creative roadblock. You don't want to let it beat YOU down, you want to beat IT down and to do that, you have to power through. I’m not promising that you’ll come out with a masterpiece. I’m not even promising you’ll like what you find. But you have to power through and the best way to do so, as I’ve found, is to utilize prompts.
A prompt, whether it be drawing or writing, helps propel you through that creative block and come out with evidence that you didn’t let it stop you. There are PLENTY of prompts to use; I’d even guess that there are a million ways and that isn’t even an exaggeration. Being that we live in this golden age of technology and internet, it’s easy to Google “drawing prompts” and be instantaneously overwhelmed with ideas. Eventually, you might even get to a place where you have your special set that you like to use which is exactly why I’m writing this. When I hit a creative block, which is often still, I like to break out one of these handy-dandy drawing prompts to help me power through.
CHARACTER ALPHABET PROMPT
This is by far my favorite prompt. You find a font you like and write out every letter of the alphabet and allow yourself some space around each letter. Once you have selected a font or drawn your alphabet, you use the silhouette of each letter to turn it into a face of a character. Simple as that. You're shifting the shape of one thing (letter of the alphabet) into something completely different (a character). You can just draw some random characters or give yourself a theme. In October, I always like to draw monsters and November; Thanksgiving themed characters. You don’t have to limit yourself to character faces; this is my personal preference. You can use it to turn the alphabet into food, animals, flowers, etc. You have the shape; now you have to make it.
MONTHLY DRAWING CHALLENGES
These are great because it takes the hard part of deciding what to draw out of the equation for you. It is also why I believe there are probably one million different drawing prompts out there in the world. They are so easy to find, and they are everywhere. There is the favored, yearly challenge, Inktober where the month of October you come up with ink drawings for every day of the month. There are also plenty of artists who share their challenges that they encourage their followers to participate in. If you go on Instagram, check out @tobyilikecats who has been posting monthly challenges called.
#yayeveryday2016. There are a lot of cute ideas in his challenge, and you actually can find the Monthly Sparkley Ass Bitch drawing challenges right here on this blog! You don’t have to look very far to find a list and who knows! It might hold a diving board for a piece you feel compelled to do more than just doodle
BREAK OUT THE STILL LIFES
I know this isn't technically considered a drawing prompt, but I feel like the act of find an arrangement of items to sit in front of and just draw captures the prompt spirit. Plus, I love still lifes. There's nothing more that gives me a sense of nostalgia than buying a beautiful, fresh bouquet and drawing them. I remember my mother always loved to draw bouquets and chairs. I remember her chairs because she would paint the ones around our dining table which were round and green velvet. If you're struggling with an idea to draw, stop beating yourself up and just grab a bunch of flowers (or bowl of fruit or a handful of anything that won't move) and plop down in front of them. Stylize them, be impressionistic, be photo-realistic, BE YOU. You have something beautiful that you can capture right in front of you so don’t over think it, just draw it.
INVEST IN A DOODLE BOOK
These are amazing. They are books that are filled with prompts and spaces for you to fill with your drawings. You can get them with something as simple as ‘GHOST’ and a blank space or draw antlers on a Jackalope, and they’ve already given you starting lines. I keep one on my desk that I can just pick up and doodle in when I need to. These are an excellent way to keep drawing every day, even if you're in a creative slump and keeps your creative juices flowing. Be weird. Be realistic. Be you. Draw your style of the idea in front of you and have fun.
This one I find REALLY fun. You take your favorite people, say your mom or dad, and you draw them as the opposite sex. Would my mom-dad be tall? Really buff? Would she drink beer over wine? Would he have big bewbs? It's fun making a new character with differences you have creative power over but you have a basis to build from.
I know that when inspiration isn’t hitting it becomes so hard to pick up that pencil. The best advice I could give you is to power through, don’t let it get you down or keep you from doing what you love: drawing.