How to start art journaling > Lesson 5

Prompts are real life art catalysts

One of Get Messy’s three main pillars is prompts. Oh man, how we love prompts. We believe they are the key to:

  • giving you something to art journal about when your mind is blank
  • pushing your journaling to the next level and reaching deeper meaning in your art journaling
  • getting you to explore new techniques
  • sparking ideas
  • breaking a creative rut

It is because of all this awesomeness that we share prompts consistently in the Get Messy membership community. It’s also because of all this awesomeness that we’ve included a set of prompts in this free course. Are you ready for them? Here we go!

How to respond to a prompt 

Prompts are not rules, they are used as inspiration (remember the last lesson’s chat about what inspiration is?).

When thinking about how to translate a prompt into a page, think about it’s literal translation and it’s figurative translation. Maybe you will do exactly what the prompt says or maybe you will need to interpret it your own way.

Both are perfectly fine and maybe you should try the same prompt both of those ways to see the differences in what you make. Maybe only one word in the prompt teases out an idea you have, DO THAT IDEA!

Mix and match the art and journal prompts. In Get Messy, we have both types of prompts mixed together, some tend to be more obvious ‘art’ or ‘journal’ and some are both. Maybe pull the color scheme from the art prompt and the dream idea from the other. Mix and match them however you like, there is no wrong way to combine them or not combine them.

And most importantly, let the prompts spark something inside of you.

You may be having a terrible day and don’t know what to make. Then you read a prompt about flowers, but then start thinking about wishing you could bury your boss in the flower bed, then you start thinking about what is under the earth’s surface. Then you think, “what would happen if I dug under the earth and found Atlantis or a whole other world?” The next thing you know you are creating a whole underground world with images from magazines…


Prompts can be crazy like that.

Go with it!

Let them spark ideas and thoughts you already have or want to explore and follow your own whimsy. Sometimes we just need to allow them to open the door to our own mind and creativity, they are just the jumping off point to get our brains working. If that is the purpose they serve for you then they have done their job.

Prompt #1

Respond to this quote by Chuck Klosterman: "Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

Caylee's response to prompt #1

Here is my process for responding to a quote prompt.

Prompt #2

Create a self-portrait using items that represent you.


I am a big fan of self-portraiture and so was called to try the second prompt. Because it comes easy for me to add my face to my projects, I wanted to try this prompt that encourages me to create self-portrait without my image.

Action Steps

Try these two prompts, and take note of your thought process for responding to a prompt.


Prompt 1

“Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.” – Chuck Klosterman


Prompt 2

Create a self-portrait using items that represent you.

← Previous Lesson

Actionable inspiration

Next Lesson →

Art Friends