52 Mixed-Media Art Prompts

Cloth Paper Scissors magazine was in utero, so to speak, when I was hired as an editor and writer. When the first glossy issue arrived in the office in 2004, the process seemed very much like bringing a baby into the world (except with less pain and  more sleep). As one of the midwives who attended, I remember that proud moment as if it were yesterday.

mixed media collage by jclee
Cloth Paper Scissors community member jclee
created this collage and also contributed to
Belinda Spiwack's art prompt list.

Now, the 50th issue has arrived, and again the parental feelings emerge: 50? Not possible! Where did the time go?

Not only that, but the magazine's 10th birthday is arriving in a few months. We have a big celebration planned for that event, but I didn't want the 50th issue to go unnoticed here on the community.  To commemorate the 50th issue, I thought I'd remind you of these 52 mixed media art prompts (one for each week of the year, or one for each issue plus two bonus prompts), from the January/February 2012 issue.

Gathered from readers by frequent contributor Belinda Spiwak (and her own experienece), this list will help you get past the blank canvas or out of a creative rut.

Here are 10 of my favorites. You can download the entire list from our Online Extras gallery under Free Resources.

Mixed-Media Art Prompts
Compiled by Belinda Spiwak

1. Write a list of simple but inspiring words (ie., alive, balance, courage, enough, mindful, play, story, trust), cut thelist up, and put the strips in a cup. Then write a list of colors, cut the list up, and put the strips in a second cup. Pick one paper from each cup to kick start your next project.

2. Cut a small square or a circle out of a piece of paper and use it as a viewfinder to look around the room to isolate patterns and color combinations. Draw or paint what you see.

3. Set a timer. See what you can accomplish in a set amount of time.

4. Look at art from a different culture, and then dive into your sketchbook.

5. Allow yourself to sit at your worktable for five minutes. Sometimes just getting to the table is the challenge, the rest is easy.

6. Look through photos on your computer (the caveat is not to get bogged down looking) and just pick something for inspiration.

7. Look for words in a newspaper that create a response in you. Cut them out and put them on the table. Rearrange the words into a poem collage.

8. Draw or paint with your non-preferred hand.

9. Use paper scraps to make a tiny collage.

10. Grab a sketchbook, pencils, and even a few markers, and take a visit to the old book section of your public library, or use your own collection of old books if you have them. While you flip through the pages, sketch parts of pictures, take a little from here and a little from there for future reference.

Honestly, each and every issue of Cloth Paper Scissors is filled with ideas, techniques, and prompts that will keep your muse energized, and the 50th one is no exception.  Make sure you get our 50th issue–and any back issues you've missed are50% off for a limited time.

P.S. What is your favorite art prompt? Leave a comment below and add to the list.

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