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Prompt60 #7

Art Prompt: For this prompt, we're going to go OUT and draw. Go to a spot where you can find a great number of similar things to draw, things that don't stay still very long. I drew these taxis while waiting for a friend at the airport, where the taxis drove up and left after a few minutes at most. 

This sketch was drawn from the window of Starbucks looking across the street at construction in progress. That truck actually moved away while I was drawing.

Hotel lobbies are full of people coming and going. If your climate is warm, go to the beach and sketch the lifeguard or kids building sandcastles. Go to a busy cafe and sketch the line of customers.

The zoo would be another potential drawing spot. Draw the zebras!

This is a 5 minute sketch at the symphony while the muscians were warming up. I knew that I wanted to put my journal away before the actual performance began so I was working at lightening speed. Just going for the general feeling on stage. 

This is a 5-7 minute sketch that I made during a classical performance that we attended in Venice, Italy. 

Try to look at the item you are drawing and just move the pen on the page, rather than checking your work every second. Go for more of a simple line drawing to capture the "essence" of what you see rather than what you really see. A sense of movement.

If you would prefer "stable" subject material, go to a large cafeteria and sketch the chairs. Go to a bookstore and camp out in the aisle with the big photography and art books and sketch a row of books.

You'll just need a journal and a pen. If you make a line and you don't care for it, or it goes all wonky, make another one that you like better. Keep all the lines. 

Remember that sketches are not photographs. If you want a photograph, you can take one in an instant. A sketch is an experience, not meant to be a perfect representation of an object. A sketch documents a memory.

So find a spot with a bunch of similar items. Make a very simple sketch of each item. Work quickly, without analyzing the lines. You don't have to know "how" to draw in order to draw. Just make lines. Squeeze in as many as you can on one page in your journal.

The goal is not to follow the Surfboard Design Principle 46:47 or imitate the works of Klee. Just take a deep breath. And make a mark. Your mark. Then turn the page. And make another mark. That's how you get through your journal, a page at a time. The only decision to be made is what to do for the very next mark.

Go to the Prompt60 Index.



Open any non-fiction book and you’ll find a topic for a prompt. For example, a book about 1970’s typography might launch an idea for a psychedelic hand-lettered quote that winds around your art journal page like ivy. A book about advertising might prompt an art journal page about subconscious messages and symbolism. Anything and everything can be a prompt. So a few years ago, I set out to create the kind of prompts that I would not be able to resist. Something little, that I could hold in my hand. Something colorful and engaging, like a tarot card.

And that's how my journal prompt cards began. I collect words, mix them up and put them together with my abstract art. The art and the words form an array of prompts that can be used to spark an art journal page, a doodle, a short story or a mixed media painting. You can take the ideas in any direction that you wish. It's simply a random starting point. A fun way to JUMP through the blank page and get to work.

Get a pack of Daisy Yellow creative prompt cards!

Get a 52-card-pack, one for each week of the year!

How are prompt cards used? The idea is that you select a 5-phrase prompt and then use that to launch a page in your journal, index card art, or whatever you wish. The original artwork on the card and the words form the prompt. 

Over 100 different designs of art journal prompt cards are available in 5-packs, 20-packs and 52-packs.


Art Journal: Kitchen Table

"Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it
but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance."
Charles Lindbergh

This is a wide wirebound Clairefontaine Carnet de Voyage journal with drawing paper.

There's something so incredibly calming {the word "grounding" might fit, but I'm not sure} about a simple cut and paste collage, where I seek out ingredients that go together for some reason, if only in my own mind! I might select stuff based on the feeling, the color palette, the shapes or the subject matter. Or all of the above! I think that I work in each of my journals differently. For example, in this journal, I build collages where I choose the elements with purpose so that I like the way the page looks and it seems balanced. The process of refining and selecting elements is what I find so calming.

This is not the same way I work in my current little Moleskine {the one I showed in Prompt60 #1} where I am just throwing things on the pages, tracking, keeping notes, documenting. For that journal, it's not about the hunt and placement of images but about keeping bits I like in one space.

Here's what's on these pages: On the right, a photograph of a 2010 art journal page with the same name. I don't know what prompted me to use a photo of an art journal page on an art journal page, but maybe it's like when you are in an elevator that has mirrors on all sides and you can see seemingly infinite mirror images of yourself and your companions. Let's see. Another Tokyo metro ticket {thanks to my husband who went to the little ticket booth to get the metro ticket stamped}, magazine clippings, my younger daughter's handwritten text, index card art, paint chip, map, Japanese papers, painted papers.


Prompt60 #6

9x12" art journal page on loose watercolor paper, 2007

Art prompt: Let's work on another double-page spread or loose piece of cardstock. The idea for this page is to write a message to yourself, something you want to remember. On my page, words from John Irving from "The Hotel New Hampshire."

Start with a large image in the center, something clipped from a magazine or from another page you want to use in this collage. Go big! Leave lighter space for journaling somewhere adjacent to the image. You can even tear the image before you put it on the page, to make that space. Then make the "frame" by attaching rectangular strips cut from of junk mail or scrap cardstock. Use a UHU glue stick or fluid matte medium to attach them to the page. You can just stack random strips, not worrying if the paper matches the rest of the paper. It will wind up looking like a frame. 

The journaling on this page can be squeezed in between a large image and the colorful frame in the outer 1-3" margin of the page. You could write the journaling "around" the large image or in a little block like I did on the page with the building. If you are working on a two-page spread, you could treat each page separately and put frames on each page individually or view the entire spread as one cohesive whole and frame the whole thing. You can use washi tape here and there to add a colorful twist; I created this page before I'd heard of washi tape!

You could add words cut from magazines, write random thoughts with black marker. If your collaged background doesn't have any space or is so busy that your words would not be visible, try writing them on a separate sheet of paper and staple or glue to the page.

Go to the Prompt60 Index.


Prompt60 #5

"Because watercolor actually
moves on the paper,
it is the most active of all mediums,
almost a performance art."
Nita Engle

There are two prompts today. Do the one that you wish to do. Or combine the two in some ingenious fashion. 

Writing Prompt: Cut out words from your ephemera collection, magazines and brochures and write a poem about the ocean. These are often called "found words." Glue the poem to a page in your documentation journal or an unfinished abstract background in another journal. It's OK to have several journals in process.

Art prompt: Create an art journal background where part of the page is blurry or soft and the other part of the page is crisp and focused. If your journal paper is thin and not good for wet media, you can paint on a small piece of paper and attach it to your journal with notes about what you did.

Ideas? For the blurry side, you could swoosh paint around with your fingers or paint with watercolor on wet paper. For the other side, you could paint neat lines with a brush or paint on dry paper. If your journal paper is quite thin, you could do this on watercolor paper and then staple into your journal. If you aren't in the mood to paint, what about cutting out magazine images of soft, dreamy ideas for one side and concrete, sharp, focused ideas on the other?

Go to the Prompt60 Index.


Doodle Boxes

"Ideas excite me, and as soon as I get excited,
the adrenaline gets going and the next thing I know
I'm borrowing energy from the ideas themselves."
Ray Bradbury

I draw little boxes, paint them with gouache and add doodles and patterns with a dip pen and india ink. This simple act has been quite engaging....