Starting points: Creative Prompts…..

If you’re anything like me, then a warmup exercise helps encourage making.  If you’re stuck looking at a blank mind/screen/easel/page, if you look online, you will find  websites offering free daily prompts (many of them designed for writers).  A prompt is a word or phrase which you use as a starting point – what does it make you think of?  Then go and make something with that thought.  It may, of course, lead to further ideas and end up totally unrecognisable from the beginning prompt.

Sketchbook Skool deliver online course and provide very good, free prompts.  They are given for inspiring a daily drawing. But of course you can use the same word to generate a beginning idea for a poem, a short story, an animation, a new font, a sketch, a print, a song, an album cover, a film script, a doodle, a dress, a stage set, a collage, an embroidery…. whatever floats your boat.  In fact, if you like doodling boat designs – use the word for that!

What can I do with just one word?

Let’s work through an example.  Today’s sketchbook skool example is “turn”…..

Perhaps this brings something to mind.

Try word association.  What is a turn?  Where would you make a turn?  What is described by “a turn” (in UK slang, that would mean someone who’s like a comedian; in acting it would be any act on a stage).

Drawing – you can look around the room you’re in, and imagine something opposite down or turned around, and draw it that way.

Film ideas – take a conventional character, a stereotype – and then turn it around.  So you’ve got an astronaut with agoraphobia, or an artist who’s colourblind but trying to conceal it by drawing in monochrome, maybe a superhero who is addicted to a TV soap and can’t drag himself/herself out of an armchair at certain times to save the world…..  The contrast of person and situation in life is the comedy thinking that made Basil Fawlty, the man who dislikes people, run a hotel in the comedy classic “Fawlty Towers”.  (Incidentally, the character was based on a real-life hotelier who was rude to guests and unwelcoming.  Monty Python’s flying Circus were staying there – some were outraged by the man’s behaviour and moved out, others stayed, scenting comedy gold).

If nothing inspires you, you can look for synonyms – which means other words of the same meaning.  A Thesaurus (either book or online) will give you many similar or related words – and suddenly the one word becomes a long list.

Looking up our original word “turn” (which we almost forgot there, as I digressed into a humour recollection)…. a thesaurus offers many other words for turn, such as:









… and suddenly there’s a whole range of ideas popping up.

I’ll try posting up the Sketchbook Skool’s prompts for this new week – starting Monday 25th September – and it’s up to you whether you use them or not.  If you find them useful, I’d be intrigued to know.

Incidentally, if the creativity you’d like to work on, happens to be drawing, then check out the Sketchbook Skool online tutorials – there are many videos for free on Youtube.  Then, if you like what you see, you can sign up for whichever of their classes you like.




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