October Art Dare: From Brainstorming to Thumbnail Sketches

by Clara Lieu

Follow the videos above for how to get started brainstorming and sketching our your idea for our October Art Dare:  “Your Future Self.”

Many of my students have told me in the past that they want to be able to develop artworks that have beefier subjects, express a specific opinion, or portray a narrative. Students are always asking me “How do I get my ideas?” While technique is a significant part of creating art,ultimately, it’s the ideas behind the artwork that really matter. Learning how to think about you artwork is a critical part of being an artist I find is frequently not addressed.  This month’s Art Dare is a terrific opportunity to stretch your artistic thinking muscles and push your artwork beyond just your drawing technique.


Mind map of “Your Future Self” by @jademagpie

The prompt “Your Future Self” is very open to interpretation, and therefore challenges you to think about your subject matter and creating original imagery. In many ways, open ended prompts can be more difficult because there’s so much to choose from. In the above videos, I demonstrate how to pour your ideas on paper and then whittle them down to more focused sketches. I discuss how to transition from the brainstorming process to drawing thumbnail sketches to prepare the compositions for the final drawing.


Final Drawing of “Your Future Self” by @ashleighroserob

Create your own mind map/thumbnail sketches in response to “Your Future Self”, and it counts as a submission for this month’s Art Dare!  More videos to guide you through every step of this Art Dare are coming.  We hope you’ll follow along and complete this month’s Art Dare with us.

Submit your brainstorming/thumbnail sketches on Instagram using #artprofdare and tag us @art.prof!  If you don’t have Instagram, you can post your image on our Facebook page. Get more info on the October Art Dare/prizes/tips here.


Final Drawing of “Your Future Self” by @michaelbuesking

Related Videos
Charcoal Drawing Tutorial:  Line Thumbnails, Part 4 of 20
Charcoal Drawing Tutorial:  Tone Thumbnails, Part 5 of 20
Charcoal Drawing Tutorial:  Finishing, Part 20 of 20
Ask the Art Prof Live #4:  Oversaturation, Brainstorming, Beginning a Series
Ask the Art Prof Live #3:  Personal Themes, Never Too Late to Start Drawing
Crit Quickie #13: Figure Drawing on Black Paper

Related Articles
“How do you begin to think conceptually as a visual artist?”
“How does an artist come up with ideas?”
“How do you know when to stop working?”How To Brainstorm
How to Create a Dynamic Composition
“How do artists manage to get their soul out into images?”
“How do you develop an idea from a sketch to a finished work?”
“When do you let go of an idea?”
“When and how should you use photo references to draw?”

ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

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Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.

Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.

ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.


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