Visual Artist Challenges: Inspiration for Scrapbookers and Art Journalists

Writing prompts abound everywhere. They help guide and tease memories and thoughts out of our brains where they describe worlds and thoughts on a blank page. However, what happens to us crafty types when our minds draw a blank? The canvas is blank; the knitting needles have no yarn on them; we're not feeling inspired to draw. What resources or prompts can we get to help tease the visual art from our minds and down on the page or on our screens? Well, luckily for us there are a lot of different visual arts challenges out there online, waiting to help us uncover our visual art.

Today I'm going to share a few sites and books that help challenge your art and your creativity. I've found that participating in challenges not only help inspire my inner artist but explore the connections between artists located around the world. Art communities tend to use the term challenges instead of prompts because a challenge forces you to think, to push the creative edge and to share your art with others who are working on the same goal. I love this idea of collaborator art as it's always fun to get feed back on your art. While many of these challenges appear under digital or print based scrapbooking, I feel that they have merit and inspiration for ALL types of visual artistry, from scrapbooking to altered journalling to beading and clay.

Just Digital Calls and Events
Just Digital Calls is a scrapbooking Portal site for digital scrapbooking. This page lists by current date all sorts of current Challenges that are going on. Challenges listed here are a great way to craft art AND connect with others who share your interests and want to learn, share and expand their own creativity. Just Digital Calls also contains a vast link library of other crafty resources from online retailers to publication calls for displaying your work and Newsletters to subscribe to. From what I can tell, this site aims to update daily so you never know what types of Challenges or inspiration appears here.

Creating Keepsakes Scrapbook Challenges
Creating Keepsakes magazine publishes articles and news relating to print and digital based scrapbooking. This page lists a lot of content and layout inspired challenges that you can use to push the boundaries of your art. Each challenge has a short technical description and an accompanying sample. In some cases the challenge includes step-by-step instructions to help you achieve the goal of making something new and unique.

Scrapbooking Challenges
Challenge! contains lots of links to all sorts of crafty challenges found all over the web. There's no shortage of original and fun crafy prompts on this site. Francine, the creator of this blog, scours the internet for challenges. While most challenges get posted as a simple link underneath a blog heading, it would have been nice to see a bit more of description text about what each challenge was and how the group of links related to one another. I do like how this site is sensitive to the natural flow of time and posts season sensitive challenges to help inspire every holiday and season, through all your life.

Last Icon Maker Standing Challenges
One of the fastest growing online art forms is the icon. These small-sized images contain personal style along with well conveyed emotions that reflect a forum poster's personality or the mood of a writer on a journalling system such as LiveJournal. Even icon designers have their own challenges; known as Last Icon Maker Standing contests (LIMS). These LIMS vary in style and content (many are fan-based like the Willow LIMS on LiveJournal. (Yes, I am/was a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan.) Each LIMS has it's own rules set that enforces typography, design and size restrictions. The owner of a LIMS usually posts the original photo/picture to design an icon for it and then give the designers some time to create their masterpieces. Each week the group votes for best or worst or who they want out of the competition. Last icon designer standing gets the prestige of having designed a series of icons that got voted "best' by their peers. Now, if competition and sharing isn't your thing just yet, you can always use these LIMS as a good challenge and practice of creating digital art with a limited selection or topic.

One of my favorite books on visual art journalling is Visual Chronicles, by sisters Linda Woods and Karen Dinino. If you have ever wanted to break into art journalling or wanted to add personal images to your written journal entries, then this is the book for you. Linda and Karen invite you to play with them as they teach you writing and artistic tricks to get you creating beautiful and personal journalling entries that contain words and art. This book is part manifesto on creativity and fearless creating; part instructional guide on creating new techniques to add to your journals; and part exercise and workbook for those wanting to create art. It's colorful and filled to the brim with real samples from their own art books. Visual Chronicles makes the magic of combining art and journalling fun. Learn to uncover your writing voice and the artist trapped inside your body with their techniques. No surface is safe for these two. One of the projects in the book even has you journalling on shoes!

I hope you found these artistic challenges inspiring and encouraging to your art. When I surf the web and stumble upon art galleries filled with designs and layouts and inspiring images, I know that it makes me want to stop what I am doing and go create something--whether it's a book binding, or new visual art journal page. Sometimes just a simple word, or phrase or color is all that's needed to help give your crafty self the jolt to create a work of art and get it onto the page. Got some challenges or inspirational galleries to share? Feel free to post them here. And then go make some art!

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I can't wait to get started on some of these newfound projects. I knew about a couple of them, but had never seen the others before. Maybe this will get my mind jogged as to what to make as gifts for Christmas this year.

Read my thoughts on Displaced White Girl.