If you’re stuck for something to draw – or you want to exercise your imagination – the Drawing Prompts Generator is here to save the day. It has twenty starter images, inspired by great works of art. All you have to do is turn the initial marks into an interesting drawing. It works for every level of drawing skill. You can do it with stick figures or you can pain over every line. Because the exercise is about your imagination rather than your ability to draw.

You can use the tool right here on this page. Or you can scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the button to use a stand-alone version in your browser. Happy sketching!

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How to use the Drawing Prompts Generator

It’s pretty self-explanatory. You get an image with a few lines and squiggles and your job is to turn it into an interesting picture.

You can do that using a mouse, the trackpad on your laptop or your finger on a touchscreen. It doesn’t work very well on mobile phones because the screens are too small to do anything meaningful. A tablet is the ideal device for the Drawing Prompts Generator. The super-ideal version is to use an Apple Pencil on an iPad or a stylus on a Windows touch-screen device.

I recommend that before you start making marks on the screen, however, you apply your imagination first. Each image has infinite options. If you want to get the most benefit from the tool, try to move beyond the obvious, easy-to-draw concepts. If you stretch your mental muscles and attempt to do something slightly more ambitious, you’ll strengthen your abilities. And if you do it often enough, you’ll start to see improvements.

You can use your output to help you in other creative tasks. For example, you can use your drawings to help you see how a product will work in different situations, use the characters you draw to give you different perspectives and even use the drawing prompts tool alongside a brief as a way of generating ideas.

There’s a video coming soon of me using the tool. I hope this is enough of an explanation until then.

If you want a printable PDF with these prompts, drop me an email.


When to use this Drawing Prompts Generator

  • As an exercise to develop your imagination
  • As an exercise to develop your basic drawing skills
  • As a tool to prompt artists to develop new artworks
  • As part of a larger idea-generation exercise
  • As a game to play with kids
  • As a drinking game for two or more bored illustrators who’ve run out of conversation in a Wetherspoons pub on a wet Tuesday afternoon in Birmingham in late-February

How I created the Drawing Prompts Generator

I wanted everyone to start with a little bit of artistic genius. So I started with a collection of classic paintings and I used them to create the initial marks.

You’re likely to be familiar with all the images when you see them but I don’t want you to be trying to recreate those masterpieces. That’s why I’ve only used a few lines to keep them vague and ambiguous. With any luck some of the artistic genius will translate into your own efforts.

The Drawing Prompts Generator currently has 20 images in it. If you find it useful, let me know and I’ll add some more.

I’ve kept the interface and features to a minimum. I could have added colours and brush sizes as an option but I felt that it was more important to focus on simple concepts rather than wizzy features. Let me know if you think it’s too simple. It won’t take too much coding to spruce things up a bit. 

More help with creative ideas 

Check out my book, How To Get To Great Ideas, which has lots more advice, tools and techniques.

You can also find a bunch of other tools I’ve created to help develop your creative abilities and push your thinking in new directions. I keep adding to them whenever I find the time to do a bit of coding, so it’s probably best to keep an eye on my newsletter to see when I release new things.