Art Journaling Prompts

Creative Writing Ideas for Writing in Art Classes

Art journaling prompts offer rich creative writing ideas. Whether keeping composition book art journals, individual art journal pages, or art history journals, art prompts keep writing skills polished. In other articles, we've discussed creative writing ideas and writing across the curriculum, we've discussed the value of content area writing. Creative writing within the context of any academic subject helps students deepen their understanding of content knowledge, as well as develop skills in applying the traits of good writing across various formats.

Fine arts classes explore a range of media. Whether your current materials include crayons, art tissue, tempera or watercolor paints, art journaling prompts add a depth and richness to project activities and lesson plans.

Art Journaling Prompts for Visual Art Journals

If your students are keeping art journals, as well as portfolios, here's an easy management technique that works well: create and place individual art journal pages in a three-ring binder. While a portfolio protects larger pieces, a binder is perfect for those small masterpieces, blending creative writing ideas with visual art.

Here are some art journaling prompts to get you started in writing creatively within your art classes:
  • Change out paper pages for fabric squares. Write haiku on colored paper slips and attach to the fabric pages.
  • Have kids journal as their favorite fictional character! Create an illustrated diary.
  • Cut out words from printed material(newspapers, magzines, etc.) and glue them down to make random poems and decorations.
  • Use nature photography(prints, postcards, pictures, etc.) to create collages with poems.
  • Make pages from maps! Let the maps's information provide the seeds for poems and short stories. Attach the finished pieces to the map pages.
  • Pretend you are a color. Write as that color! Write in that color!
  • Write and illustrate the backstory of what you see outside the classroom windows.
From experience, your kids may enjoy making art journals so much, that they begin to keep personal art journals on their own!

Art Journaling Prompts: the RAFTS Technique

For a review of using the RAFTS technique to write your own art journaling prompts, see this page. In the meantime, here are a few art journaling prompts to jumpstart writing about music, drama, painting, sculpture, dance, and creative writing itself! Composition book art journals work well as a management system for these types of art prompts:
  • Role: art director for a band
  • Audience: concert-goers
  • Format: promotional poster
  • Topic: world tour
  • Strong Verb: design

You are the art director for a famous rock band, which has just announced their latest world tour. Design a promotional poster for concert-goers. Be sure to include dates, locations, and contact information.

  • Role: playwright
  • Audience: audience of young children
  • Format: one-act script
  • Topic: a retold fable or fairy tale
  • Strong Verb: retell

You are writing a series of plays for performance at a local elementary school. Choose a favorite fable or fairy tale and retell the story, writing it as an entertaining one-act script.

    Role: author and illustrator
  • Audience: young children
  • Format: simple picture book
  • Topic: fable or fairy tale
  • Strong Verb: write and illustrate

You are an illustrator of picture books. Choose a fable or fairy tale, and write and illustrate a simple version for young children.

  • Role: sculptor
  • Audience: fundraising committee
  • Format: original sculpture
  • Topic: fundraising auction
  • Strong Verb: design

You are a well-known sculptor, with many pieces in gallery collections around the world. The fundraising committee of a local charity has asked for your help. Design an original sculpture for auction at the upcoming fundraiser. With your design, include a written statement to the committee, explaining the meaning behind the piece.

  • Role: dancer
  • Audience: your former dance partner
  • Format: persuasive letter
  • Topic: entering a dance contest
  • Strong Verb: persuade

You are a dancer. A dance contest with a large cash prize has caught your attention. Write a letter to your very talented former dance partner, persuading him or her to enter the contest with you.

  • Role: poet
  • Audience: visitors to the art show
  • Format: series of haiku
  • Topic: poems matched with paintings
  • Strong Verb: write

You are a poet. Your friend, the director of a local art gallery, has asked for your assistance with an upcoming show. For visitors' enjoyment, write a series of haiku poems matched to a series of paintings.

On a final note, art classes are not only about creating studio pieces. Kids are also exposed to defining techniques and vocabulary, art critiques, and biographies and studies of the masters. Decorated art history journals are a good organizational tool for creative writing ideas from an art history perspective. Check out this page for informational project ideas when kids study the biographies of famous artists.

May you and your students enjoy the process of artistic creation! Art journaling prompts enrich that journey!

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