Story Writing Academy

70 Picture Prompts for Creative Writing (with Free Slides)

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Visual writing prompts help young writers generate new ideas and overcome writer’s block. We’ve put together 70 picture prompts for creative writing that you can use in your writing centers or lesson plans to get your students’ creative juices flowing.

70 PICTURE PROMPTS FOR CREATIVE WRITING TEXT OVERLAY WITH TWO VISUAL WRITING PROMPTS

Picture Writing Prompts for All Ages

Writers of all ages and experience levels can get stuck thinking about what to write. Writer’s block is not just a challenge for reluctant writers. Even professional writers have days when they feel less than inspired.

Visual prompts can result in a vast array of story ideas. A single image viewed by ten writers will result in ten completely different stories. Even if you use verbal cues to get students thinking about the picture, each student will still write a unique response to the image.

Visual creative writing prompts are fantastic for elementary school because younger students often relate more to a pictorial prompt than a written one, but don’t shy away from using these with high school and middle school students as well. Pictures make a fun alternative to your typical writing prompts and story starters and can help shake up your regular routine.

How to Use Picture Prompts for Creative Writing

There’s no limit to the ways you can use writing prompts. Here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate image prompts into your weekly lesson plans .

  • Writing Center. Print cards or writing pages with these images on them and put them in a writing center for your students to discover at their own pace.
  • Specific Skills. Use story picture prompts to help kids work on specific writing skills. For example, you could work on descriptive writing by having them describe the setting of the picture in detail. Or you could work on character development by having them make up a history for a person in a picture.
  • Warm-up Activity: You could pop the pictures into Google slides and project an image on a screen or whiteboard for the first fifteen minutes of class and have students work on a short story as soon as they enter the class.

No matter how you decide to use them—whether at home or in the classroom—photographic writing prompts are a great way to cultivate a daily writing habit and encourage kids to explore new topics.

70 Pictures for Writing Prompts

We’ve selected 70 of the most interesting pictures we could find for this exercise. When choosing photos for writing prompts, we look for high-quality photos with intriguing subject matter, but we try to go beyond that. We want to share images that suggest a story, that make the viewer ask questions and wonder why things are the way they are.

We want to feel propelled to explore questions like, What happened before the photo that led to this moment? What are we witnessing in this photo? What’s about to happen?

A photo doesn’t make much of a story starter if it doesn’t suggest that there might be a bigger picture lurking beneath the surface.

We hope you and your students love these picture prompts for creative writing as much as we do. If you love them, go ahead and scroll to the bottom to grab your own copy.

We’ve included a couple of questions with each picture that you could use to spark pre-writing conversations in your classroom, which can be helpful when working with younger students who might need a little more direction.

creative writing using a picture

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Whose cat is this? What is he looking at? Where is he?

a cat sits alone against a blue wall

What is the owl thinking about? Is he alone? What does he hope to eat for dinner?

an owl sits outside

Who are these frogs? What is their relationship with each other? Why are they taking photos?

two toy frogs stand in a field. One takes pictures of the other.

How did the dog get a phone? Why is he taking selfies? What is he doing with the pictures he takes?

a dog lays on a field and takes selfies

This cat doesn’t look too happy. What’s bugging him? Did he get too many phone calls or is he waiting on an important call that’s taking too long to come?

a black and white cat sits beside a phone

What do these chicks think of the dog? What does the dog think of the chicks? Do you think they can communicate with each other? If so, what would they say?

a dog lies beside two chicks

Where do these lemurs live? What are they looking at? What is something unusual that might happen to them?

a lemur lies on a branch while another hides in the background

What is this fox doing? Is he yawning and stretching or is he trying to scare someone away? What kind of mischief does he like to get up to?

a fox stretches and opens its mouth

Is this wolf alone? If not, who is with him? What is he planning to do? Does he have a family to feed or protect?

a lone wolf stands in a misty clearing

What is this child doing on the laptop? Can he actually read and type or is he just playing? If he can read and type, how did he learn that at such a young age? What other cool things can he do?

a toddler wearing a toque and glasses types on a laptop

Where is this woman? Is she lost? How did she get to this street? What interesting things might she discover as she explores this new city?

a woman stands in an empty street holding a map

Why is the dog wearing glasses? Can he see through them? What are he and the girl doing? How does he feel about it?

a woman holds a dog. Both wear glasses.

Who are these two little boys? What is their relationship with each other? What is the teddy bear’s story?

two boys sit in a bath holding a teddy bear

Who are these children? Why are they running? Is it a race or are they playing a game? Who’s going to win?

a group of children run across a field

Whose horse is this? Does the little boy own it or does he just visit it? Can the horse talk? How does the boy feel when he’s with the horse?

a boy sits on a fence and feeds a horse

What is this boy reading? Does the book have magical powers? Does the boy? Do the stories in the book become real or does something else special happen?

a boy reads a book that has some magical elements in it

Where is this man? How did he get there? What is he looking for?

a man dressed like a pirate looks through a telescope

Who is walking over the bridge? What’s on the other side? Is it worth the risk?

a top-down view of a person crossing a bridge

What are these people doing on the elephant? Where are they? Are they tourists or is the elephant their pet? What would life with an elephant be like?

two people ride an elephant through a field

Who made this map? It looks old. Has it been hidden away for a long time? Who discovered it and how? What does it lead to?

an old map

Whose typewriter is this? What important or secretive thing might they be working on? What could happen if the wrong person finds their work?

an old typewriter

Who are these three stuffed animals? Are they living? What is their story?

the backs of three stuffed animals

Whose ukulele is this? Why did they leave it here? Who might find it?

a green ukulele sticks out of the sand

Where is the owner of the bike? Where does this path lead? What if the bike’s not there when the owner returns?

a bike leans against a wooden railing

Whose shoes are these? Why did they leave them here? Why are they so dirty?

a pair of dirty shoes in the mud

Who was reading the newspaper? What was the most interesting thing they read? Where have they disappeared to?

a stack of newspapers, a white cup, and a pair of glasses

Who put this sign on the old truck? What do you think of it? How did the truck end up in its current condition and location?

a deserted old truck

Who set the table? Who are they expecting? What special occasion are they celebrating? What could go wrong?

a fancy table setting

Whose birthday cake is this? Are they having a party? Who is there? Who did they want to have there that didn’t show up?

a birthday cake

Who lives here? How do they access their home? What is their life like?

a home surrounded by water

Who built the igloo? Where is it? How does it feel to spend the night inside it?

an igloo

What is the history of this castle? Who lives in it now? Does it have any special or magical features?

a castle

Is this barn abandoned or do people live on the property? What kind of animals might live here? How do they keep themselves entertained?

a big red barn

What is it like living on a houseboat? What kind of community do you think forms among the neighbors? Imagine you live on one of these boats and think about how your daily life might change. What interesting things could you do if you lived here? What would you miss the most?

a row of houseboats

Where is this hut? Who lives here? What mystery might unfold if a stranger came knocking at their door?

a round hut

What is this lighthouse called? Who runs it? How often do they leave? What is the most memorable experience they’ve had as a lighthouse operator?

a lighthouse

How did this house get here? Does anyone live in it? What would life be like here?

a house on a rock surrounded by water

Where is this festive street? Are the people there celebrating something? Where is everybody?

a colorful European town

Who lives here? How did they build this house? Are they hiding from something? What does it look like inside?

a hobbit house with a yellow door

Whose notebook is this? Why did they leave it here? What’s written in it and how might it change the life of the person who finds it?

a notebook lying on a beach

What are these women doing? What are they supposed to be doing? Will they be in trouble if they get caught?

two women playing on a piece of wood

Who might be represented in this statue? Why is she being pulled by lions? What amazing things might she have done to deserve a statue in this prominent place?

a statue of a woman being pulled in a carriage by two lions

Where is this? Who is riding in the hot air balloons? Where are they going and why?

hot air balloons fly over a town

How old is this tree? Where is it? What are some of the most fascinating stories it could tell?

an old oak tree

Where is this carousel? Who is riding it? Can you think of a special or strange story about how it came to exist in this particular place?

a woman rides a carousel

What are these people thinking about? What’s at stake for them? What happens if one of them sneezes?

tightrope walkers walk on tightropes

Where are these penguins? What are they talking about? Which one of them is the leader?

4 penguins stand in a huddle

What is this place? Was it designed to be open like this or was it once part of someone’s home or a public building? How have people’s opinions of this place changed over time?

a room with statues in it

Who are these kids? Is this what they’re supposed to be doing? What happens when their teacher sees them?

kids play around in a dance studio

Who is supposed to ride in this boat? Where are they going? Will they make it there?

a small boat with a fancy seat

Is this plane special to someone? What did they have to do to get it/build it? Where will they fly to in it?

a yellow plane

Who decorated this train car? Which passengers will fill it up? What will they talk about?

an upscale train car with fancy seats

Whose skis are these? Why are they sticking out of the snow? How did their owner get down the mountain without them?

two skis and two poles stick out of a snowbank

Where does this gondola go? Who rides it? How does it feel to ride it?

a gondola

Who’s driving the monster truck? Why is it at the beach? What is it going to crush? Who is watching?

a monster truck does tricks on a beach

Where is the boat going? Who is on it? What is their mission?

a ship sails away from shore

What city is the helicopter flying over? Why? Is the driver looking for something specific or do they have a special delivery?

a helicopter flies over a city

What’s the little boy doing in the boat? Is he alone or is someone with him? Where is he trying to go?

a little boy holds an oar in a boat

Who is in the sub? What’s it like inside? What are they doing?

a submarine

Whose book is this? What’s it about? What’s happening to it?

a book that has water flowing out of it

How did that piece of land with the house on it break off from the rest of the world? Why? Where is it going? Is anyone in the house?

a fantasy graphic with a piece of land separating from the earth and floating away

Who is this girl? Where is she? Who is she shooting at?

a woman in the woods shoots a bow and arrow

Where does this scene take place? Is the lizard/dragon good or bad? What is its relationship with the girl?

a girl standing on the tip of a cliff pats the nose of a giant lizard

What do these books represent? What kind of world is this? What (or who) is inside the books?

a row of books designed to look like houses

What are these dinosaurs discussing? Where are they? What do they do for fun?

two dinosaurs

Whose cottage is this? Do they still live there? If not, where have they gone? If so, what do they do there?

a fairy tale cottage in the woods

What is the moth thinking about? Is it alone? What’s the biggest challenge it faces in this moment?

a moth on a flower

Who is the owl looking at? Has it read these books? What is its greatest talent?

an owl wearing beside a stack of books

Where are these trees? Why are they pink? Do they have any special powers or features?

trees in a wood covered with something pink

What do you think? Which kind of pictures do you like best for creative writing prompts ? Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday 26th of December 2023

I think the idea of using picture prompts is a great idea. It initiates oral language thus building vocabulary. It allows lends itself to students working in small groups to stimulate new ideas. The prompts engage the students and gives the teacher the opportunity to focus on specific writing skills.

luke elford

Wednesday 13th of December 2023

cloey mckay

Tuesday 17th of October 2023

I tried this with myself and my 6th-grade students, and they love it. it gives room for so much creativity.

Nayyar Abbas

Tuesday 30th of May 2023

This is very good idea and it really works, viewing these one try to think one's own way that what these pictures are telling or asking? I also recommend that this idea should also be given to the students for building their creative instinct.

Sunday 26th of March 2023

I LOVE THIS

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150 Inspiring Picture Writing Prompts To Spark Creativity (Free Google Slides)

Use a picture to write a thousand words!

Picture writing prompts including a cartoon cat and mouse and a portrait of a Black family from the 1930s

Creative writing is a challenge for many students, often because they can’t come up with anything to write about. That’s why we love picture writing prompts. Each one sparks the imagination and helps young writers jump right into crafting a story to match. We rounded up a whole collection of intriguing images for use with kids in grades K-12 along. Plus we designed a set of free Google Slides featuring all of the prompts so you can easily share them with students.

Tip: Start by showing students the picture (or let them choose from among several) without making any comment about what they’re seeing. For kids who still struggle to get started, suggest a potential title or opening sentence, like the examples included here.

Don’t miss our free downloadable. Grab your full set of ready-to-go Picture Writing Prompts Google Slides with all of the prompts below.

Elementary Picture Writing Prompts

Middle school picture writing prompts, high school picture writing prompts, art picture writing prompts.

When kids first see these picture writing prompts, they may or may not immediately feel inspired. If they need some help, ask them questions like “What led up to this moment?” or “What’s going to happen next?”

Dog holding a rose in its mouth, with a heart-shaped cloud in the sky

When Larry fell in love, he fell hard.

Lighted sign reading ASK hanging from a building

When the new sign appeared on Main Street, everyone in town wondered exactly what it meant.

Snowy Footprints

A series of random footprints in the snow

After that crazy day, all that was left to show for it was footprints in the snow.

Dinosaur Bones

Child hiding inside a large toothy skull, reaching out a hand

“Come with me if you want to live!” Ash said, reaching out a hand.

Undersea Treasure

Goldfish swimming around a closed treasure chest sitting in the sand under the water

For years, no one saw the locked treasure chest but the local fish, who wondered what it could contain.

A Game of Fetch

A claymation dog bringing a stick to a snowman in a snowy scene

To Scout, it was a game, but to Mr. Freezy, it was much more.

Ladybug Gossip

Of pair of spotted red ladybugs perched on a leaf

The ladybug’s picnic was an excellent chance to meet up with old friends and hear all the latest gossip.

Two children peering in through a barred window

We met them when they peeked into our window, watching us as we ate lunch and watched cartoons.

King of the Jungle

Majestic lion perched on a log wearing a crown

It wasn’t the crown that made Amari the king of all he surveyed.

The Final Pitch

Small child waiting at home base for a baseball pitch that's about to arrive

It all came down to this—the final pitch in a game that was tied 2-2.

Doggie Massage

Two dogs sitting in a way that looks like one is giving the other a back massage

Every dog in the neighborhood knew that Rocky gave the best massages and was always willing to lend an ear too.

Skateboard Life

Girl in a striped shirt and red headband posing with a skateboard in front of some graffiti

When Charli got her first skateboard, she made herself a promise.

Garden of the Past

Painting of a woman in old-fashioned clothing walking in a cottage garden

The woman walked in the garden every day, never saying a word.

Sunset Friends

Two children on a jungle gym silhouetted against a setting sun

They met on the jungle gym every day at sunset, sharing everything about their days.

Pink Umbrellas

A sunny alleyway with pink umbrellas strung across it

When the pink umbrellas first appeared, Toni thought they might be magic.

Firefly Forest

Illustration of a forest at night filled with fireflies

Olivia was surprised to discover that the fireflies didn’t just glow, they also sang.

Robot Spider

A large mechanical spider standing on a stormy beach

When it first crawled ashore, the mechanical spider moved slowly.

Fallen House

House tipped on its side following a hurricane

Staring at their house, which was now on its side, the whole family was in shock.

Red Riding Hood

A young girl wearing a red hooded cape riding a brown horse in the forest

If only she’d been riding her faithful steed the day she’d met the Big Bad Wolf, things might have been very different.

Kangaroo Fall

A kangaroo sprawled on its back in the grass

“Well, this is embarrassing,” thought Bouncer, as laughter filled the air around him.

A child's hand-drawn sign for a lost cat attached to a tree

Daci’s big brother said her signs wouldn’t help them find their runaway cat, but he was wrong.

Penguin Bookshop

An illustration of a penguin wearing a top hat, standing in a booksshop

A visit to Mr. Pickerel’s Penguin Bookshop is always an adventure.

A carton of colorful eggs with faces drawn on them

Of all the eggs in the carton, Ella was the one who could always crack you up.

Children writing a fairground swing ride

That was the year Min was finally tall enough to ride the Sky Swings, but now she wasn’t so sure.

Rubber Duck Parade

A row of rubber ducks in various costumes floating down a water-filled gutter

It was truly an honor to be asked to lead the Spring Duck Parade.

Teddy Story Time

Three teddy bears posed to look as if they're reading a book

Every afternoon, the three friends gathered for story time in their favorite spot in the woods.

Underwater School

A child sitting at a desk, looking out the window at fish swimming by

Nia thought going to school underwater would be exciting, but some days she really missed going outside for recess.

A red ball with a smiley face floating on the water

The day Amos started his journey down the river, the sun was shining brightly.

Turtle Trouble

A grumpy looking sea turtle floating in clear water

“None shall pass,” growled the old sea turtle, blocking the way.

Dinosaur Race

An illustration of a young girl racing alongside a dinosaur

Pia was supposed to keep Balthazar on a leash, but once they reached the forest, she set him free and they both began to run.

Finally Seeing Eye to Eye

Cartoon illustration of a large bear with a tiny mouse standing on its nose, looking into its eyes (Picture Writing Prompts)

“So, we meet at last, face to face,” Lord Squeakerton said to his enemy, the Count of Catnip.

Monkey face with mouth and eyes open in surprise

It takes a lot to surprise a monkey, but you don’t see something like this every day.

Not Coming Out

Child hiding behind a heap of pillows on a beige couch (Picture Writing Prompts)

The day started out normally enough, but by the end, Chris knew he was in over his head.

Life on Other Planets

A space scene showing a robot and robot dog standing on the surface of an alien planet, with a domed habitat behind them

“Hurry up,” Grnklor told his robopup. “We have to get back inside before nightfall.”

Reindeer Games

Boy leading a reindeer along a snowy path into the setting sun (Picture Writing Prompts)

The wind had died down, but the setting sun seemed to take all the warmth of the day with it.

Something to Celebrate

A young boy raises his arms in triumph as a young girl points at a computer screen, smiling (Picture Writing Prompts)

Their classmates could hear their shouts of joy from all the way down the hall.

Home Sweet Mushroom

Illustration of a mushroom turned into a house, with a fence and lighted windows, under a full moon

When the fairies that lived in the garden invited her to stay with them for awhile, Maria wasn’t sure what to expect.

Loch Ness Mystery

Model of the Loch Ness Monster rising from a lake

“There it is! I told you Nessie is real!” Angus whispered to Lee.

Lonely Bear

Worn teddy bear sitting on a stone bridge

It was hard to say who was lonelier that night, Amil or his lost stuffed bear, Jasper.

Sometimes You Lose

Boy sitting on the ground with his face in his hands

When his team lost the championship, Miguel was crushed, but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him.   

Middle school writing prompts can be a little more complex, with pictures that have a lot of potential interpretations. Encourage students to delve deeper into the story by describing how the characters feel and why they behave the way they do.

A pair of light blue Converse sneakers

Morgan was incredibly proud of those shoes, paid for entirely with money from after-school jobs.

Never Lose Hope

Splotch of green paint with the words

With his last bit of energy, Kai scrawled his message in the wet paint.

Computer keyboard with a red button reading Get Me Out of Here

The keyboard button could only be used once, and no one knew exactly what happened when you pressed it.

Piano Lessons

A young child's hands on a piano keyboard

Before she could even speak, Arya was drawn to the black and white keys.

Rolled fern front photoshopped to look as if a baby is sleeping inside

There was no doubt about it, this was was indeed a very special kind of garden.

A person wearing a dingy bunny costume standing on the end of a dock

No matter how you looked at it, it had been a very rough day to be the Easter Bunny.

Empty Chairs

Four empty beach chairs on the shore, with seagulls flying overhead.

By sunset, all four chairs were empty, and the only signs of life were the gulls swooping down from above.

Floating Treasure

Two black birds sitting on a chest floating in the water

To the birds, it was simply a convenient place to land, but Ali and I knew it was much more than that.

Shadow Question

A pair of sneakers and a person's shadow in a puddle

That was the day they discovered that just because you were invisible didn’t mean your shadow was.

Letter and Key

An old key lying on an old handwritten letter

The day she turned 12, Vivi’s aunt handed her an envelope containing the family secret.

Space Target

An illustration of a woman aiming an arrow at a target against an outer space landscape

Onyx paused, knowing that once their arrow hit the target, there was no knowing what would happen.

Mermaid Mystery

A mysterious figure that could be a mermaid, seen from below

It was a mermaid—or was it?

World on a String

A girl standing on a path, holding a suitcase and a bunch of balloons that look like planets

Her dad had promised to give her the world, but she wasn’t expecting three more planets as well.

Bee Standoff

Two bees face ot face on a purple flower

“This flower ain’t big enough for the both of us!” said Bianca.

Solitary Seat

A leather chair next to an old woodstove with a valise and old books

For as long as anyone could remember, Angus McGee spent his evenings in the same chair next to the woodstove.

Best Friends

A little girl holding a very large teddy bear, dragging it down a dirt road

When you decide to run away from home forever, you can’t possibly leave your best friend behind.

Dinosaur Demise

Illustration of dinosaurs panicking as a meteor is about to hit the earth

In retrospect, setting the time machine to randomly choose a day and time in the past might not have been such a good idea.

Magic Lamps

A collection of green

“Choose wisely,” said the old shopkeeper, “for only one of these lamps is truly magic.”

Message in a Bottle

Glass bottle on a seashore with a rolled up paper inside

The message floated at sea for more than 50 years before the day we found it on the beach.

Barrel Boat

Man wearing a life jacket and paddling half a barrel in a lake

Of all the ways to impress someone, Jonah thought to himself, this had to be one of the most ridiculous.

Dragon Guardian

A child sitting in the grass, with a dragon curled up around her

When your parents give you your own dragon guardian, your childhood is bound to be enchanted.

Octopus’s Garden

Diver encountering a large octopus with fish in the background (Middle School Picture Writing Prompts)

Wouldn’t you like to be under the sea, in an octopus’s garden in the shade?

Around the Corner

Girl peering around a corner at a boy walking a dog

After finally pressing “send,” she couldn’t resist peeking around the corner to watch him read the text.

Beam Me Up!

Small child sitting in a field watching a flying saucer beam up its tricycle (Middle School Picture Writing Prompts)

Milo’s earliest memory was of watching his beloved tricycle float into the sky above him, caught in a beam of light.

Poison Apple

A red apple held in a skeleton's hand

To join the club, all Aaron had to do was creep up and snatch the apple from the skeleton’s hand without being seen.

Giraffe Council

Three giraffes shown from the neck up against a cloudy blue sku

“It is now 3 p.m., and I call this meeting of the Mighty Council of Giraffes to order,” announced Imari.

Mystery Creature

Computer illustrated creature with blue scales, pink spikes, and large eyes

At first glance, it was hard to tell whether the little creature was friend or foe.

Woman leaping across a chasm silhouetted by an orange sky

As the sky turned orange, Keisha ran faster than ever and used the last of her energy to push off and soar over the water below.

The End of Days

A boy stands with his bicycle watching as bombs rain down on a city skyline (Picture Writing Prompts)

Despite their best efforts, they arrived too late—the battle had already begun.

Out of the Book

Woman dressed in a blue ball gown peering out of a book lit from inside, with a mouse nearby

“Happily ever after” was about to take on a whole new meaning.

Stopped Clock

Old broken alarm clock stopped at 11:17

I was sure that the time on the broken clock was the clue to solving the mystery.

Dueling Webs

Two dew-covered spiderwebs in the early morning sun

It’s never a good idea to build your web too close to another spider’s, but this time I had no choice.

Do Shoes Grow on Trees?

A bare tree covered with hanging pairs of shoes against a clear blue sky

The day I threw my own shoes into the tree was the day I really started to grow up.

Abstract Art

Closeup of splotches of colorful paint

“So,” asked their art teacher, “what do you think this painting means?”

Wandering Robots

Small cardboard robot in a field of daisies (Picture Writing Prompts)

Everything about NB-317 was made of cardboard except his heart—that was made of flesh and blood and very capable of being broken.

Dream Come True

Blue house floating in the sky above mountains, held up by blue balloons

It all started when Quinn watched her favorite movie the night before they assigned partners for the eighth grade science fair project.

Mysterious Cave

Rocky cave with strange geometric patterns in the rock

The cave was unlike anything we’d ever seen before, and what was more, it almost seemed like the rock was alive.

Storm at Sea

A pirate ship on stormy seas, with a purple sky and dramatic streaks of lightning

As the rain lashed his face and lightning tore apart the sky, Kiran had to admit he’d always thought it would be a lot more fun being a pirate.

Grasshopper Close-Up

A closeup view of a grasshopper looking directly at the camera

That’s when Javed realized it wasn’t that the grasshopper was too big—it was that he was suddenly very, very small.

UFO Parking

Sign saying UFO Parking with picture of a flying saucer

“Well, that’s convenient,” Javdok remarked to Qabow when they saw the sign.   

High school writers are ready to dig deep, exploring character development and detailed plots. These pictures offer a jumping-off point to set their imaginations free.

Cyborg Girl

An altered image showing a young girl in a black dress with a white collar, with a neck made of mechanical gears

When she was 14, Tasha’s parents finally told her the truth about what she really was.

BBQ Cookout

Barbeque grill with many different kinds of meat

“So, I’m guessing no one told you I’m a vegetarian?” asked Sadie with a smile.

Hands holding up a phone with a picture of a baby's face in front an old man's face

The latest app was like a time machine, allowing people to look back in time, but it also had a dark side.

Woman sitting on a sidewalk with her head on her knees as others walk by

She was surrounded by people but never felt more alone.

Hippo Troubles

A hippo mother and baby with its mouth open

Like all parents, hippos sometimes really need a break from their kids.

iPad Farmer

Old man in overalls using an iPad while snapping green beans

Grandpa Jack never failed to surprise us.

Marching Band Blues

Black man in a red shirt sitting on a bench, wearing a sousaphone

Kaleel sat sadly on the bench, watching the rest of the band march away in jaunty time to the music.

Never-Ending Tunnel

A white-tiled tunnel stretching far into the distance

The tunnel seemed to stretch to infinity, but Jayma knew what was at the end, and it terrified her.

Carving Out Love

A birch tree with

For years, we wondered who “WP” was, and who it was who loved them so much they carved it into a tree for all to see.

Glowing Globe

Man holding a glowing globe in a misty library

Just then, the globe began to glow, and Jaxson knew he was about to leap through space and time once again—destination unknown.

See No Evil

Three skeletons posed in the classic

It seemed like a funny joke to pose the skeletons in front of old Mrs. Petoski’s house, but then she turned up dead, and the police said it was murder.

Upside Down

Woman hanging upside down from the ceiling in a kitchen

It’s an odd feeling to wake up one morning and find yourself able to walk on the ceiling.

Face at the Fence

Child with their face pressed up against a wire fence

So much depended on which side of the fence you were on.

Bicycle Race

Three people competing in a bicycle race

Finley had trained too hard for this race to come in third—it just wasn’t good enough.

Family Travels

Vintage photo of a Black family strapping luggage to a car, with a young girl posing in front

In the picture, my grandmother’s expression is hard to interpret, but she’s told me the story many times.

Laundromat Antics

A pair of legs waving out of a dryer in a laundromat

Dani never expected to meet her first love feet first.

Black and white photo of a wedding ring lying on a sheet of notepaper saying "I'm sorry!"

Molly’s mom probably didn’t mean for her to be the one to find the note, but that’s how things turned out.

Through the Storm

Pickup truck driving through flooded streets in a storm

Javier knew it would have been smarter to stay put, but he had to make sure his mom was safe before the worst of the storm arrived.

Lifetime Friends

Two babies holding hands while being held by adults

They’d been friends for as long as they could remember—even longer, in fact.

Stray Kitten

A small kitten facing a person's legs, in black and white

“I am NOT taking you home with me,” Kai told the tiny mewling kitten firmly.

Abandoned Greenhouse

Woman inside an abandoned ramshackle greenhouse in the woods

Willow was free to leave at any time, but she couldn’t make herself go.

A fence topped by rolls of razor wire against a blue sky

Amani’s earliest memory was razor wire—miles and miles of it.

Church Graveyard

An old graveyard outside a stone church

Everyone feels differently in a graveyard, but for me, they’re very peaceful places.

Orb of Death

A hooded figure folding out a crystal ball with a spooky image in it

“Do you really want to know?” Death asked. “Because once you know, you won’t be able to forget.”

Missed Shot

Men in wheelchairs playing basketball, as one laments a missed shot

Steve was sure his shot would make it, but it bounced off the rim just as the buzzer rang to end the game.

First Contact

Alien figure with a human in a spacesuit visible in the window behind them (High School Picture Writing Prompts)

This was it—the moment that would change what it meant to be human forever.

One Life To Live

An old man wearing a cowboy hat sits in front of a house (Picture Writing Prompts)

His face said his life had been a hard one, but his eyes told a different tale.

Winter Walk

Snow-covered field with a winding trail of footprints

Snow fell, creating a blank canvas to record the story of that fateful walk.

Train to Nowhere

Sepia-toned image of an old sleeper train car in disrepair

It certainly wasn’t the most luxurious way to travel, but then again, no one really wanted to make this trip in the first place.

Modern Mary Poppins

Woman standing in the middle of a wheat field on a gray day, holding an umbrella and bag

She dropped into our lives on a gray day in midwinter, a hint of the spring that was to come.

All That Remains

A chair sits in the hallway of an abandoned building under a shaft of light from above (High School Picture Writing Prompts)

Dust motes filled the air of the abandoned hallway, replacing the voices once heard there.

A very small bunny being carried in a shirt pocket

From the day he found the little creature, Luis refused to go anywhere without him.

The Question

Figure holding flowers behind its back, with a woman turning to look in the background

Their happily ever after began quietly, with a bouquet of wildflowers.

Night Lights

A person holding an umbrella walks down an alley toward a street filled with neon lights

Misty rain both blurred and emphasized the lights that lit Suri’s way home that evening.

Forest of Fear

Black and white photo of tree trunks with arms and hands reach out from behind them (Picture Writing Prompts)

At first, Mateo thought it was a joke, but the screams that followed told him there was nothing remotely funny about it.

Closeup of a human eye, with the pupil represented as a camera lens

At the elite level, being a spy meant serious commitments.

The Yellow Door

A row of white doors with one yellow door (Picture Writing Prompts)

On their 14th birthday, every resident of Fresnia was required to stand before the Wall of Doors and make a choice.

Graffiti Palace

Abandoned warehouse with graffiti on the walls

To strangers, it seemed random, but every mark on those walls had deep meaning for us.

Fossil Fish

Fish fossil in light-colored stone

Millions of years ago, the fish gave one final flop before lying still in the deep mud.

On the Rails

Woman standing on railroad tracks holding a guitar and looking off into the distant sunset (Picture Writing Prompts)

Aliyah stood on the tracks, uncertain of where to go next.

These picture prompts are all works of art, some more well known than others. Try providing them to students without sharing the titles first, then offer up the titles if they need some help getting started.

The Dance Class (Edgar Degas)

The Dance Class by Edgar Degas

Greek Funerary Plaque (520-510 BCE)

Greek Funerary Plaque

Washington Crossing the Delaware (Emanuel Leutze)

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze

Kyōsai’s Pictures of One Hundred Demons

Kyōsai’s Pictures of One Hundred Demons

First Steps, After Millet (Vincent van Gogh)

First Steps by Vincent Van Gogh

Lady Lilith (Dante Gabriel Rossetti)

Lady Lilith by Dante Gabriel Rosetti

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (Georges Seurat)

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

After the Hurricane, Bahamas (Winslow Homer)

After the Hurricane, Bahamas by Winslow Homer

Drawing Lots for Prizes (Kitagawa Utamaro)

Drawing Lots for Prizes by Kitagawa Utamaro

Portions of Field Armor (Jacob Halder)

Portions of a Field Armor by Jacob Halder

Sadie Pfeifer, a Cotton Mill Spinner (Lewis Wickes Hine)

Sadie Pfeifer, a Cotton Mill Spinner by Lewis Wickes Hine

Still Life With Monkey, Fruits, and Flowers (Jean Baptiste Oudry)

Still Life With Monkey, Fruits, and Flowers by Jean Baptiste Oudry

Man Leading a Giraffe, 5th Century Byzantine

Man Leading a Giraffe, 5th Century Byzantine

The Three Skulls (Paul Cézanne)

The Three Skulls by Paul Cézanne

The Madame B Album (Marie-Blanche Hennelle Fournier)

The Madame B Album by Marie-Blanche Hennelle Fournier

Coiled Trumpet in the Form of a Snarling Feline Face (c. 100 BCE to 500 CE)

Coiled Trumpet in the Form of a Snarling Feline Face (c. 100 BCE to 500 CE)

Crazy Quilt With Animals (Florence Elizabeth Marvin)

Crazy Quilt with Animals by Florence Elizabeth Marvin

Storytime (Eugenio Zampighi)

Storytime by Eugenio Zampighi

Cubist Village (Georges Gaudion)

Cubist Village by Georges Gaudion

Zig-Zag Passenger and Freight Train (Unknown)

Zig-zag Passenger and Freight Train (Unknown)

The Power of Music (William Sidney Mount)

The Power of Music by William Sidney Mount

The Large Tree (Paul Gauguin)

The Large Tree (Paul Gaugin)

After the Bath (Mary Cassatt)

After the Bath (Mary Cassatt)

Wedding Gown (Korea, Late 1800s)

Wedding Gown (Korea, Late 1800s)

The Contemplator (Eugène Carrière)

The Contemplator (Eugène Carrière)

The Girl I Left Behind Me (Eastman Johnson)

The Girl I Left Behind Me (Eastman Johnson)

24c Curtiss Jenny Invert Single

24c Curtiss Jenny invert single

Creeping Baby Doll Patent Model

Creeping Baby Doll Patent Model

Wrecked Zeppelin (British Library)

Wrecked Zeppelin photograph from The British Library

Skeleton (Tales of Terror Frontispiece)

Skeletons Frontispiece from Tales of Terror

Get Your Free Picture Writing Prompts Google Slides

Just click the button below to fill out the form and get instant access to free downloadable Picture Writing Prompts Google Slides with all the prompts included above.

How do you use picture writing prompts in your classroom? Come share ideas and ask for advice in the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

These picture writing prompts are a unique way to excite young creative writers. Find options for all grades on a variety of subjects.

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Creative Writing Prompts Pictures: Visualize Your Tale

By: Author Paul Jenkins

Posted on September 27, 2023

Categories Writing

You’re staring at a blank page, the cursor blinking mockingly. Writer’s block has you in its grip again. But what if there’s a tool that can spark your imagination?

Enter creative writing prompts pictures! They’re not just images; they’re catalysts, turning your ‘I can’t’ into an exhilarating ‘watch me’.

So buckle up, we’re diving into the world of picture prompts, where every image holds a story waiting to be penned by you.

Key Takeaways

  • Picture prompts spark creativity in unexpected ways
  • Visual cues enhance the quality of literary works
  • Openness to diverse interpretations is crucial
  • Choose images that align with the story’s mood and theme

Understanding the Concept of Picture Prompts

 An Image Featuring A Magnifying Glass Hovering Over A Collage Of Diverse, Intriguing Pictures, Symbolizing The Detailed Exploration Of Picture Prompts In Creative Writing

You’ll find that picture prompts can really spark your creativity in unexpected ways. They’re not just about drawing what you see, but about interpreting the images and evolving a story around them.

However, misunderstandings can occur. Imagine you’re looking at a picture of an old man holding an umbrella. You may see it as a tale of loneliness; someone else might interpret it as resilience against life’s storms.

Then there’s Prompt Picture Plagiarism – lifting others’ ideas instead of creating your own. Remember, every image tells different stories to different people. Your job is to listen closely and give life to that unheard narrative hiding beneath the surface. It’s all about originality and personal perspective!

The Importance of Visual Stimuli in Creative Writing

N Vintage Notebook With A Quill, Surrounded By A Riot Of Colorful, Abstract Paint Splatters And A Kaleidoscope Of Floating, Translucent Images Of Diverse Objects And Scenes

Visual cues play a pivotal role in sparking imagination and enhancing the quality of literary works. Your mind’s eye, influenced by visual perception, creates vibrant landscapes from the barest hints within a photograph.

You’re an explorer, charting unknown territories with nothing but ink and paper.

Consider how photographic inspiration impacts your writing process. A single image can bloom into an intricate narrative, each detail weaving itself into your story’s fabric. A crumbling castle becomes a haunted relic of past glory; a moonlit forest transforms into an enchanted realm for mythical creatures.

As you delve deeper into this visual journey, characters spring to life. They carry their histories etched on faces shaped by joy, sorrow, or rage. Through these figures, you explore the human condition; through these images, your stories gain depth and breadth.

Types of Creative Writing Prompts Pictures

 An Image Featuring A Collage Of Sketchbooks, Pens, Colored Pencils, And Open Books, Each Adorned With Small, Abstract Illustrations Representing Various Creative Writing Prompts

Let’s delve into the different types of images that can trigger your imagination and enhance your storytelling ability.

Unconventional picture prompts can be a goldmine for imaginative thinking. Sometimes, a picture prompts misinterpretation, which, ironically, can lead to more creative narratives.

Abstract Art: These unconventional pictures free you from literal interpretations and encourage unique storytelling.

  • Historical Images: They transport you back in time, allowing characters to live in bygone eras.
  • Nature Shots: The beauty of nature inspires vivid imagery and profound themes.
  • Candid Photographs: Ordinary moments captured candidly provide opportunities for relatable character development.

How to Use Picture Prompts Effectively

To use image cues effectively, it’s crucial that you’re open to diverse interpretations and let your imagination take the lead.

Picture Interpretation Techniques aren’t a one-size-fits-all approach; they require prompt personalization based on your unique perspective.

Imagine, for instance, an old woman hunched over her knitting in a cozy room. You might see a story of loneliness or resilience, a colorful tapestry of past memories or future hopes threaded through her stitches.

Every wrinkle tells tales of laughter and sorrow; every loop in her knitting is part of life’s complex pattern.

You’re not just viewing an image; you’re creating worlds from strands of thought, weaving narratives from threads of creativity. So dive deep into the photo prompts – there’s no right or wrong answer. Your interpretation is what makes your writing genuinely yours.

Tips for Choosing the Right Picture Prompts

Magnifying Glass Hovering Over A Variety Of Diverse Images, Including Vibrant Landscapes, Expressive Portraits, And Intricate Abstract Art, Symbolizing The Selection Process

Choosing the right image cues can significantly influence your storytelling, so it’s essential you pick ones that truly resonate with you. Remember, an image is worth a thousand words and it’s your job to find those words.

Now, here are some tips to navigate through prompt limitations and avoid any image selection controversies:

  • Align with Your Theme: Choose images that match your story’s mood.
  • Details Matter: Pay attention to the small elements in the picture; they can inspire subplots.
  • Think Outside the Box: Don’t let conventional interpretations limit you. Surprise yourself.
  • Resonance Is Key: The prompts should stir something within you.

Remember each image is a potential plot twist, character revelation, or emotive climax waiting for your unique interpretation!

The Role of Picture Prompts in Enhancing Creativity

E Showing A Light Bulb Illuminating A Collage Of Diverse, Vibrant Photos Depicting Various Scenes And Characters, All Framed Within An Open Book

You’ll find that image cues can play a significant role in enhancing your inventiveness and originality. The right picture prompt can ignite a flame of creativity, sparking ideas you never knew you had. Imagine yourself as an explorer, uncovering hidden stories within the strokes of color and shadow.

But it’s not just about looking; it’s about seeing.

Prompt interpretation strategies are your tools here- compasses guiding you through the creative wilderness.

Yet, remember: even the most captivating images have limitations.

Picture prompt limitations challenge you to think beyond what’s seen, to delve deeper into the unseen spaces, the gaps between reality and imagination.

Case Study: Successful Use of Picture Prompts

Ight Illuminating A Stack Of Vibrant Photographs On A Vintage Wooden Desk, Each Depicting Various Storytelling Scenes, With A Shiny Trophy Next To It

Stepping away from the theoretical aspects of picture prompts, let’s dive into a tangible example.

Prompt Selection Process: You choose images that ignite your imagination.

Prompt Inspiration Sources: The sun sinking into the ocean, an abandoned house consumed by ivy, or even a stranger’s smile.

The Story Unfolds: Your pen starts moving across the paper.

Success! A short story is born.

In this process, you’ve not only found inspiration but also honed your craft and built confidence as a writer—all thanks to the power of picture prompts.

Incorporating Picture Prompts in Writing Exercises

Of A Hand Holding A Pencil, Poised Over A Notebook With Sketched Ideas, Surrounded By Scattered, Diverse, Colourful Picture Prompts - From Landscapes To Abstract Art

As we delve into the benefits of these captivating catalysts, explore vibrant examples of creative writing exercises, and share insightful tips on selecting just the right prompt, you’ll uncover an exciting new dimension to your storytelling journey.

Creative Writing Exercise Examples

Let’s dive into a few examples of exercises that’ll spice up your storytelling abilities.

Imagine you’re working with a picture prompt; an old, weather-beaten house standing alone in a field. Your task? Use symbolic interpretation to unravel its hidden narratives.

Look beyond the obvious, notice the cracked windows portraying life’s adversities, or the resilient structure symbolizing endurance. Now, focus on character development. Who might have lived here? A robust farmer weathering hardships with stoicism or perhaps an eccentric artist seeking solitude?

Next, employ storyboarding techniques to outline your narrative visually. Sketch significant scenes and decide their sequence. This approach helps you visualize how your plot unfolds and where tension builds.

These exercises stimulate creativity and train you to decode visual stimuli into compelling stories. Remember, every picture tells a tale – it’s yours to decipher!

Picture Prompts Selection Tips

Choosing the right visual stimuli can truly enhance your storytelling skills. It’s about more than just picking any image; it’s an Image Selection Process that requires thought and creativity.

Consider these steps:

  • Identify a Theme : What’s your story about? Find images that align with this theme.
  • Look for Symbolic Representation : Images loaded with symbolism can add depth to your narrative.
  • Emotional Impact : Choose pictures that evoke strong emotions to attract and hold readers’ attention.
  • Authenticity : Pick real, relatable images to draw readers into your world.

Addressing Challenges of Using Picture Prompts

Y Of Diverse Picture Prompts Scattered On A Desk, With Some Images Crumpled, Crossed Out Or Magnified, Symbolizing The Challenges In Using Picture Prompts For Creative Writing

You’re likely to face some obstacles when you start incorporating picture prompts into your writing routine.

The first hurdle might be overcoming prompt misinterpretation.

An image, vivid and complex, can ignite a thousand different narratives in your mind. You’ll find yourself sifting through an avalanche of ideas before you pinpoint the story that feels just right.

The next challenge is picture prompt accessibility.

Not every image will resonate with you or stir up creative juices. But don’t let it deter you! Remember, there’s a whole world within each photo waiting for exploration. Like an archaeologist unearthing ancient civilizations, dig deep into the details – the worn-out edges of a book or the melancholy echo behind someone’s eyes – and craft a story that only you could tell.

Exploring Different Genres With Picture Prompts

Y Of Monochrome Images Depicting Different Literary Genres: A Quill Over A Fantasy Map, A Spaceship, A Detective'S Magnifying Glass, A Cowboy Hat, And A Roaring '20S Flapper Dress

Try out these steps:

  • Pick an image: It’s just the first step, but it sets the stage for everything else.
  • Identify genre: What does the picture suggest? Mystery, romance or maybe fantasy?
  • Create characters: Who are they? What’s their journey?
  • Write your story: Now that you’ve set the scene, let your creativity shine!

Just imagine – one day it’s a dystopian sci-fi saga; another, a tender romance all from interpreting different images! That’s thrilling versatility right there!

Promoting Visual Thinking Through Picture Prompts

Uminated Light Bulb Floating Above An Open Book, With Vibrant Images Of Various Scenes And Characters Flowing Out Of The Pages Into A Thought Bubble

Each image, each symbol holds a story waiting to unfold through your creative lens.

You are not merely looking at pictures; you’re exploring worlds within them, finding hidden narratives and nuances that speak volumes. This is more than just observation – it’s about understanding and articulating what you see.

Picture Prompts for Beginner Writers

N, Rustic Notebook With A Quill Pen, Surrounded By A Variety Of Colorful, Whimsical Artwork Depicting Different Story Genres, Placed On A Vintage Wooden Table

Choosing Suitable Images

You’ll find that selecting the right images can significantly enhance your creative writing process. It’s like picking characters for a play, each one brimming with potential stories and emotions. A picture is not just an image; it’s a world full of ‘Image Connotations’ and ‘Visual Metaphors’.

  • Seek Emotional Resonance : Choose images that stir something in you, evoking emotions and thoughts.
  • Look for Visual Metaphors : Find pictures that symbolize deeper meanings or abstract ideas.
  • Consider Image Connotations : Understand what different elements in an image signify culturally or personally.
  • Ensure Relevance : Make sure your selected image aligns with the theme or atmosphere of your story.

Interpreting Picture Prompts

Interpreting image cues isn’t just about understanding what’s visible, but also delving into the hidden meanings and stories they may represent. Picture prompts are your personal gateways to creative nirvana, where you’re the architect of symbolic interpretations.

You see a weathered boat on a beach; it’s not merely an abandoned vessel, but a symbol of resilience against life’s storms from your perspective.

Every picture whispers tales yet untold, urging you to lend them your voice. It’s like being in an old attic full of forgotten treasures waiting for someone with unconventional perspectives to discover their worth.

Inspiring Creativity With Pictures

Images aren’t just static visuals; they’re powerful tools that can ignite your imagination and inspire original ideas. When you dive into the world of visual literacy, every picture analysis becomes a journey into the unknown, sparking creativity and innovation.

Here are four steps to harness this power:

  • Observe: Look at the image carefully, absorbing all its details.
  • Interpret: Ponder what message or story it might be conveying.
  • Connect: Relate elements in the image to your own experiences or emotions.
  • Create: Based on these connections, craft your unique narrative.

You’re not just an observer; you’re an active participant shaping new narratives out of visual cues. So next time you see a picture prompt, remember – it’s not just an image, but a catalyst for your creative genius!

Picture Prompts for Advanced Writers

Ge Of A Vintage Typewriter On A Rustic Wooden Desk, Surrounded By Faded Photographs, A Lit Candle, An Inkwell, A Feather Quill Pen, And A Crumpled Manuscript

For advanced writers, picture prompts can be an excellent tool to trigger imagination and craft more complex narratives. By peering into a dynamic world ripe for exploration, you’re not just seeing a static image.

As you gaze at the prompt, don’t only observe what’s immediately visible. Instead, dive deeper. Envisage characters with compelling backstories, intricate emotions, and evolving motivations.

Let the setting shape your plot, allowing its mood to affect your characters’ actions and decisions. Allow the image to breathe life into every scene, infusing originality and vivid imagery that captivates readers’ minds.

The Impact of Picture Prompts on Writer’s Block

Ered Writer'S Desk With A Crumpled Paper, A Quill, An Open Vintage Typewriter, And A Corkboard Filled With Diverse And Inspiring Picture Prompts

Picture prompts can serve as a springboard to unlock the creative juices and get the words flowing again.

Consider this:

  • Observation: Look at the image carefully. What does it evoke in your mind? Feelings? Memories?
  • Description: Flesh out your first impression into a vivid scene or character.
  • Imagination: Let your mind wander beyond what’s visible in the picture.
  • Creation: Start writing! Turn those thoughts and associations into compelling prose.

Next Steps: Expanding Your Use of Picture Prompts

Nt'S Hand Holding A Magnifying Glass Over A Collage Of Diverse, Vibrant Pictures, With An Open Notebook And Flourishing Quill Pen Nearby, Symbolizing The Exploration And Expansion Of Picture Prompts

Imagine being an archaeologist sifting through layers of ancient civilization. Each artifact uncovered is a new piece of the puzzle, fleshing out the narrative of bygone times.

Similarly, you probe through an array of images – from striking landscapes to candid emotions – each one breathing life into characters and plots yet unwritten.

So, you’ve explored the world of picture prompts. You’ve seen their power to kickstart creativity, overcome writer’s block, and add vivid imagery to your work.

Whether beginner or advanced, there’s a prompt out there for you. Now it’s time to choose your image and let the story unfold.

Remember, in writing as in life, every picture tells a story – yours is just waiting to be penned. Unleash your imagination!

  • Image Prompts

How to Use Picture Writing Prompts & 25 Images to Inspire You

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…And in my opinion, this is so true. When you’re sitting there, staring at a blank page there are a couple of ways you can get inspiration . One of the best ways to get inspiration is through picture writing prompts. The same image could have so many different meanings depending on who you show it to and the questions you ask yourself when you try to explore the image in detail. But how do image prompts inspire you and how exactly do you use image prompts? To help you out, we have collected over 25 images from around the internet and provided some guidance on how to use image prompts. To go an extra step further you might want to take a look at these fun video writing prompts for kids.

For more inspiration take part in our daily picture writing prompt challenge . Each day you will be given a new picture prompt to write about.

25+ Images to Inspire Writing

creative writing using a picture

Check out this mega list of over 85 random picture writing prompts , plus a free printable for more inspiration!

How to Use Image Writing Prompts to Inspire You

Some of these images might give you an idea for your story straight away, others may need some more thinking about. Here are some tips on how to use image prompts to inspire you. You might want to take a look at these fun image prompt storytelling games to help you further.

  • Give yourself time to look at each image prompt, maybe around 1 minute to just observe what is actually happening in the image.
  • Spend a further 10 minutes writing everything that comes to mind when you look at the picture.
  • Don’t just look at the image or its appearance – go deeper. Think about how the image makes you feel and imagine if you were in the image what would you be doing?
  • What: What is happening in the image?
  • Where: Where is this place or location? Is it on Earth or on a faraway planet?
  • Why: Why is this image important?
  • When: When do you think these events took place? Think about the history of the image or what will happen in the future.
  • Who: Who is in the image? Can you link any characters to the image?
  • Don’t focus too much on telling a story just yet. First, make as many notes as possible on a piece of paper relating to the image. After a good 10 minutes of note writing, you should have a load of ideas to help you with writing a story.

paper polaroid camera template by imagine forest

How do you use image prompts?

Do you like using image prompts? Do they help inspire you when you have nothing to write about? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

picture writing prompts for kids

Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he's not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.

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Teacher's Notepad

16 Visual Writing Prompts

A picture says a thousand words, or so the saying goes more or less.

And there is something to that for sure – we all know it.

We have all experienced it – looking at a striking image which immediately conjures up a story in our mind.

So let’s take advantage of our extremely visual brains, and use a range of very different images to inspire the creative process, and get interesting unique stories started in no time at all!

Why use these?

However you find inspiration to write a story can be useful.

Visual prompts are fantastic to help spark a creative direction for a new story you or your students are writing.

As with any learned skill, the more time we put into the art of writing, the better we’ll become.

So, encourage writing every day, through the whole range of methods we’ve got here for you to use for free!

How to use these prompts:

  • Try going through the whole selection and seeing what strikes a chord with the aspiring writers in the room.
  • Print a small number of them, and distribute as challenges for your students.
  • Use 7 prompts for a weeks daily writing challenge.
  • Provide them all, and let your writers select the prompt that grabs them.

The point is – there is no hard and fast rule to inspiration.

And that’s just it after all, it’s all about getting inspired so that the story just flows directly out of the writers mind.

So let’s get into it.

UPDATE: You’ll also want to check out our latest collection of picture prompts – I just know you’ll love them.

Here are a selection I hope you’ll enjoy…

16 Visual Writing Prompts:

creative writing using a picture

  • Where did this cat come from?
  • What does it want?
  • Who wears a cat hat anyway?

creative writing using a picture

Tree House Island

  • Trapped on an island?
  • How long have they been there?
  • How have they survived?

creative writing using a picture

Kayak Trip Into The Unknown

  • Silently cutting through the water.
  • Totally isolated.
  • Where are they going?

creative writing using a picture

Lake Swing Jump

  • What are the sounds you can hear?
  • How hot is the day?
  • What is going through their mind?

creative writing using a picture

Dog In Disguise

  • Who is he hiding from?
  • How long has he worn a disguise?
  • When did it all start?

creative writing using a picture

Hot Air Balloon Convoy

  • Who is in them?
  • When will they land?

creative writing using a picture

Waterfall Adventurer

  • Hero stands
  • What is behind the waterfall?
  • How long has it taken to find?

creative writing using a picture

Monkey Guard

  • What is he guarding?
  • Where are the other monkeys?
  • How can you make friends?

creative writing using a picture

Dog River Crossing

  • Who is he looking back at?
  • Why did he have to swim across the river?
  • When will he find what he is looking for?

creative writing using a picture

Boy’s Jungle Hut

  • How far away are other people?
  • What has brought them out here by themselves?
  • When will they leave?

creative writing using a picture

Awkward Swamp Bird

  • How did it end up like this?
  • What was it trying to do?
  • Which other animals are nearby?

creative writing using a picture

Ancient Ruins

  • What is he hoping to find inside?
  • Who might he meet?
  • When is this happening?

creative writing using a picture

Underwater Adventure

  • What have they found?
  • How did they get here?
  • Where are all the fish going?

creative writing using a picture

Strange Little House

  • How did the little house end up here?
  • Where is their front door?
  • Who lives here?

creative writing using a picture

Cow Close Up

  • Why is the cow so curious?
  • What happens next?
  • Who else is here?

creative writing using a picture

Rock Climbing Escape

  • Where are they?
  • Why do they need to climb out of here?
  • How long have they been climbing?

Happy writing to you all

I hope you found our visual writing prompts inspiring for your creative writing.

UPDATE: Check out our latest collection of picture prompts to inspire creative writing .

Please do check back regularly as we are releasing great new content several times a week.

Don’t forget to bookmark and Pin, and it would mean the world to us if you’d share this with your friends!

Thanks, Matt & Hayley

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Picture Prompts

A Year of Picture Prompts: Over 160 Images to Inspire Writing

creative writing using a picture

By Michael Gonchar and Katherine Schulten

  • June 1, 2017

Update, Feb. 15, 2019: Learn more about how to use our 1000s of writing prompts by watching our free on-demand webinar: “ Give Them Something to Write About: Teach Across the Curriculum With New York Times-Inspired Daily Prompts. ”

This school year we added a new feature to our daily lineup of student activities. Called “ Picture Prompts ,” these short, accessible, image-driven posts feature photographs and illustrations from The Times, and invite a variety of written or spoken responses — from creative storytelling to personal narrative to constructing an argument or analyzing what a work of “op-art” might be saying.

Teachers tell us they use these prompts to inspire student writing — whether in their journals , as a timed opportunity or to practice inferring meaning “without worrying about getting the right or wrong answer.”

They also use them with a variety of learners, from high school to middle or elementary school students to English Language Learners of all ages. As one teacher put it, she uses them “for helping teenagers to start talking to each other. ”

Below, we’ve categorized the 160+ prompts we published during the 2016-17 school year based on the type of writing they primarily encourage students to do. All are still open for comment. Plus, we have a lesson plan on how to teach with Picture Prompts, along with other Times images , in case you’re looking for more inspiration.

If you use this feature with your students, or if you have other ideas for how to use images and writing prompts with students, let us know in the comments section.

What’s the story behind this photo? Use your imagination.

Floating You and Me Mysterious Doors Underwater One Night Dog at the Counter Cats in Clothes Sneaker Collection On the Street Beware of Zombies Big Numbers Pool of Sprinkles Secret Spaces A Narwhal’s Life Inspiration From an Illustration Dancers in Masks Frozen Fish Go-Karting Cards in the Air Opening the Door The Badger and the Cow Icebergs Dogs and Stars

Share experiences from your own life.

Sneakers Flavors of Home Toy Trends Meteor Shower In the Park Sports Fans A Trip to Mars Confronting Stereotypes A Remarkable Find Optimists and Pessimists Simone Biles $100 A Favorite Store Kindness Across Divides Winter Comforts Christmas Lights The Celebrity Next Door A Celebrated Tree Kindergarten in a Stadium Advice for New Students Favorite Olympic Athletes Social Media and Body Image Growing Old Staycations An Act of Kindness Fashion Week’s Street Style Reading and Diversity The Effects of Living to Age 122 Distractions Terrifying Encounters Give a Country a Compliment Smashing Pumpkins Day of the Dead World Series Champions Extreme Sports Breathing and Stress Thanksgiving Traditions Giving Tuesday Magic Shoes Breaking Barriers Favorite Mobile Games Your Holiday Traditions National Pride Public Art Fascinating Animals Offbeat Interests Repair Cafes Lunar New Year Protesting Healthy Habits Super Bowl Spending Valentine’s Day Winning Streak Virtual Reality Old-School Skills Dinner An Early Spring 360 Degrees of Holi Blizzards Then and Now Bucket List Good Conversations Escape Steps in a Day Your Five Senses YouTube Stars Losing Things Shoelaces A Good Night’s Sleep Wristwatches 3-D Printing No Fear Exhibits for a Museum of Failure Dresses at the Met Gala Fidget Spinners On the Billboard Chart Water Escapes Forest Kindergarten Body Image Ariana Grande A Mother’s Help Dream Houses Fasting and Food for Ramadan ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Dancing in the Streets A Comic Take on the News The N.B.A. Finals ‘Wonder Woman’

What do you think this image, chart or cartoon is saying?

In Your Head Money and Happiness Moving and Sitting Policing Large Man Speech Bubble Above and Below Lady Liberty #2 Across the Fence Blue and Red Map, 2012 Red and Blue Map, 2016 Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Lady Liberty #1 In Case of Emergency Break Glass The American Dream ‘Check-In’ Norman Rockwell’s ‘Four Freedoms’ Hair-Raising Answers to an Open-Ended Question Shredding Blue and Red Mr. Olympia A Seasonal Scene 100 Days Social Media

What’s your opinion on this issue?

Device Addiction? Self-Driving Cars An Invention the World Needs Creepy Clowns Beyoncé at the V.M.A.s Parenting Robot Greeters Arriving at Ellis Island Colin Kaepernick’s Protest Pennies Feminism An 18-Karat Throne Mandatory Voting? Tattoos A Hug Seen Around the World Mermaid School Anger Rooms Dabbing in Congress Hitler and History Gender and ‘Genderless’ Solving Global Problems Fashion-Show Diversity The Role of Public Broadcasting Children and Cell Phones U.F.O.s ‘A Man Needs His Nuggs’ Parenting Skills

Images for STEM Classes: Questioning, Explaining and Solving

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A Fire Hose of Lava Math Problem Fall Foliage Basketball Dreams Insect Mysteries Goats in a Tree

Want more writing prompts?

We also have over 1000 Student Opinion questions we’ve asked over the years, gathered together in two lists: 650 prompts for narrative and personal writing and 401 prompts for argumentative writing . Plus, we have a collection of “ 40 intriguing images to make students think ,” taken from four years of our weekly “What’s Going On in This Picture?” feature.

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Imagination Soup

Picture Books You Can Use for Writing Prompts

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Picture Books You Can Use for Writing Prompts

This list reflects recently published (2017) books that I’ve been reading. Of course, you can find many more picture books that also are wonderful writing prompts. Please leave any favorites in the comments!

2017 picture books to use as writing prompts

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Melissa Taylor, MA, is the creator of Imagination Soup. She's a mother, former teacher & literacy trainer, and freelance education writer. She writes Imagination Soup and freelances for publications online and in print, including Penguin Random House's Brightly website, USA Today Health, Adobe Education, Colorado Parent, and Parenting. She is passionate about matching kids with books that they'll love.

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This is a favorite of ours https://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Pamela-Zagarenski/dp/0544416864/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491658303&sr=8-1&keywords=the+whisper Thanks for this list. I’m off to add some to me wish list 🙂

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How to Use Images to Teach Creative Writing

Landscape paintings can inspire elementary students to use their five senses and incorporate imaginative details in their writing.

creative writing using a picture

As soon as my elementary students have learned how to string words together to form sentences, I have them writing paragraphs and essays. To me, teaching writing is about passing my love of the creative process on to my students—and I have yet to meet a child who was not born to write.

When I was a new teacher, my students were fascinated by my daily calendar, which featured landscape paintings. They would stand by my desk between classes and tell me stories about the paintings. From there, the leap was natural: I could use art to teach them how to use their imaginations to write. Over time, I’ve refined the approach by having them pair paintings with prompts rooted in the five senses.

Back then, I saved the landscapes as I tore them off each day until I had enough for every student in my class. Each student first shared their painting with the class and then wrote, “What I see in the painting,” at the top of a sheet of paper.

Next, I had the students use simple sentences to list what they saw in their picture. I walked around the room helping them to grow their sentences. Sentences such as “I see a cloud ” became “I see a big, white, fluffy cloud.” As the students added adjectives to their sentences, we discussed other ways to grow sentences with similes, metaphors, and personification; with a little thought, the sentence became “I see a big, white, fluffy cloud that looks like cotton candy and I would like to eat it.”

My students quickly caught on, and their sentences became more imaginative. At the end of class, I had them turn in their picture and paper to me to keep for the next day.

On the second day, I passed out the paintings again, with a second sheet of paper. When I had students write at the top of the paper, “What I hear in the picture,” they were confused: How could they hear a picture?

“Imagine the painting is real and you are standing somewhere inside it. Point to where you are standing.” The students studied their pictures carefully, chose their spots, and pointed.

“Now close your eyes and imagine you are there,” I instructed. “Can you see it in your mind? Tell me what you hear.”

The students scrunched up their faces as they concentrated. “I hear a bird,” one finally said. “I hear a fountain,” another said.

Suddenly they were all chiming in. As they wrote down their sentences, I moved around the room as I’d done the day before, helping them grow their sentences. This time, the students were much quicker. “I hear a bird” quickly became “I hear a mama bird yelling at her kids because they made a mess of the nest.” At the end of the class, I again collected their papers and pictures.

The third day’s prompt was “What I can touch.” Once they’d chosen a spot in their painting, I asked them to close their eyes and imagine the weather within it. “Can you feel a breeze? Is it hot or cold?” This time, the students told me they were running through their painting on the warm grass, splashing in the cold water of the creek, climbing the scratchy bark of the trees, and touching the soft petals of the flowers. This time, I didn’t have to help them with growing their sentences; their creativity was running wild all on its own.

Taste and Smell

We explored the last two senses together. I first explained to my students how smell and taste are linked and started off by asking them what they could smell in their paintings. The students talked about the scent of the roses in the garden and the freshly mowed grass in the yard; one of the students said that the house in the picture reminded him of his grandmother’s and he could smell and even taste her fried chicken. Another said that they were having a picnic with delicious lemonade, and yet another told me that the American flag in the painting reminded him of July Fourth—he could smell the fireworks.

Putting It All Together

On the final day of the project, I passed all four pieces of paper back to the students along with a fifth, with lines organized and indented into six paragraphs. In the first paragraph, I had the students introduce themselves and share the name of their painting and artist. Then they used their notes from earlier in the week to write a paragraph for each day. They ended their essay with what they liked best about their painting. (For older students, try some of these strategies for revising a final draft.)

Then they mounted their picture on construction paper and drew a frame around it. I gathered their paintings into a notebook; students took turns reading each other’s essays for the next week. A local art gallery displayed the notebook, and seeing their work being read by others inspired my students to keep writing. Now, because I no longer use a printed calendar, local art galleries donate postcards that we use in exchange for exhibiting the notebook.

As an international teacher, I’ve seen art bridge gaps that diplomacy could not. Once a seventh-grade English language learner wrote that she could hear the sound of freedom in her picture. When I asked her about it, she pulled out her picture of a painting of an American soldier walking toward the light. “I don’t know what freedom sounds like,” she said as she reverently touched the soldier, “but I know he’s hearing it.”

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Pictures to Inspire Creative Writing

July 19, 2021 by ami 1 Comment

Do you use pictures to inspire creative writing ? I do!

I taught creative writing lessons for several summers at a local enrichment program, and I used various artists such as William H. Johnson with bold, bright pictures to provide ideas for my students.

I keep an eye out for interesting artwork and pictures that would cause my students to consider and ponder.

creative writing using a picture

When looking for the right pictures to provide writing prompts, I look for something unusual or something with an interesting perspective.

Mysterious Pictures to Inspire Creative Writing

One of my favorite set of pictures to use to inspire my writers is the set found in The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg. Every time I use this creative writing activity, it is a hit with my students.

creative writing using a picture

The introduction of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick explains why this book is mysterious.

A children’s book publisher was visited by a man named Harris Burdick. Burdick claimed to have written and illustrated fourteen stories and had one picture from each story with him. The book publisher was interested in publishing the stories, so Harris Burdick left the illustrations and told the publisher that he would return the next day with the stories. But he didn’t return the next day. He never returned. No one knows who Harris Burdick was; he could not be found. His disappearance was a mystery. The other mystery is the illustration. Each one has a title and a caption, but no one knows what Harris Burdick actually wrote.

Chris Van Allsburg took the illustrations and created his own reproductions. You can use the pictures to inspire creative writing.

How to Use Pictures to Inspire Creative Writing

I purchased a used copy of the book, and I used a box cutter to cut out the fourteen illustrations. I know. I know. It seems blasphemous to do this to a book. But I did say used copy.

I photocopied the titles and captions. I put the title and caption page PLUS the corresponding picture in a page protector.

creative writing using a picture

Review basic story elements: setting, character, and conflict.

Put numbers 1-14 in a hat. Let each student draw a number. If you have more than 14 students, pair them up before they choose a number. Pairs can collaborate for this creative writing activity.

Based on number, let the students choose an illustration.

Encourage students to write a short story using the picture prompt. I usually give my students a word minimum and maximum, but I will let you create your own rubric for this one since it can be used with a variety of ages and ability levels.

creative writing using a picture

This excerpt is from a story composed by one of my students (based on one of the Harris Burdick illustrations):

Long ago, an old carpenter lived in a small cottage in England. All who met him described him as strange and mystical. One eerie Halloween night, he went to the Wisdom Woods and chopped down the oldest, biggest tree. Then, right there in Wisdom Woods, he carved seven beautiful chairs out of the tree. He delivered one chair to each of his seven worst enemies. This is the story of the fifth chair—the one that ended up in France . . . by Abby W.

The story doesn’t stop there; the writer continued to craft an amazing tale. This is a student who declared to hate writing and believed she could not write anything of value.

Giving students a picture prompt is a way to inspire them. It helps them over the hurdle of writer’s block.

More Pictures to Inspire Creative Writing

Many of my students respond well to this writing prompt; they succeed in writing something that shocks them, and I succeed in turning around their “I can’t write” and “I hate writing” attitudes.

Because the picture prompts have been successful in my creative writing classes, I decided to put together an additional file of interesting and unusual images. They are probably best suited for older elementary students (and beyond!), but you know your students better than I do.

creative writing using a picture

The file of pictures to inspire creative writing includes 25 images:

  • A road winding through an enchanted forest
  • A hot air balloon landing in a stone hand
  • A young woman on a quest
  • A tricycle being taken by a spaceship (or UFO)
  • A house being lifted by balloons
  • A tiger parrot

creative writing using a picture

Some of the images have word prompts while a few do not (because I’ve found that some students prefer to use their own imagination for every part of the creative writing process).

creative writing using a picture

You can use these pictures in the same way that you would use the Harris Burdick illustrations.

Download the Creative Writing Pictures

Inspire your students!

Subscribe to the blog using the form below in order to receive your set of printable creative writing pictures. (Be sure to check your spam folder if you don’t see it!)

creative writing using a picture

July 19, 2021 at 12:01 pm

Thank you for these! They are awesome!

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22 Creative Writing Picture Prompts

22 Creative Writing Picture Prompts

Subject: English

Age range: 11-14

Resource type: Worksheet/Activity

underthedesk

Last updated

20 January 2019

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creative writing using a picture

A set of 22 vivid photographs to be used as inspiration for descriptive, narrative or discursive writing. The pictures are open to interpretation and can be used in multiple ways.

The resource includes a brainstorming template for students to use to organise their initial ideas.

The download includes both a PPT and PDF version of the images and student template.

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Very helpful - thank you

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Lovely prompt ideas

Great resource. Provided students with a good choice of prompts for their creative writing.

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Images to Inspire

Morning surprise.

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ENOKI TALES

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JUST VISITING

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ABOVE THE SKY

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YOU CAN (NOT) REPLAY

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MAGIC RABBIT

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WHO’S THERE?

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GIRL AND DRAGON

creative writing using a picture

A Picture Can Tell a Thousand Words. These UVA Today Illustrations Prove It

February 22, 2024 • By Jane Kelly, [email protected] Jane Kelly, [email protected]

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(Illustrations by Alex Angelich, John DiJulio, and Emily Faith Morgan, University Communications)

Their designs are inspired by geometry, pop culture, psychedelia and more.

Color-popping and provocative, the illustrations in UVA Today play an important role in drawing readers into a story. On any given day, designers are tasked with creating compelling compositions, be they drawings or collages, on a short deadline, undertaking this challenge for the six issues UVA Today circulates each week.

We asked some of the designers to choose some of their favorite work and talk about how they made their eye-catching creations.

Related Story

Collage of some of the images from the article

UVA Photographers Share Their Favorite Photos of 2023

Swift mania.

A collage of a football field, Taylor Swift, and UVA alumna

(Illustration by Meredith Michael Smith, University Communications)

Meredith Michael Smith, the Office of University Communications’ creative director, said understanding the narrative of a story helps with design. “The first thing you’ve got to do is read the story and figure out that nut graph, or what the lead is trying to get at, so that you pull in the person as fast as you can,” she said, “so they understand what they’re looking at. But also it’s a tease.”

Smith made the above illustration for the story about University of Virginia alumna and NBC sideline reporter Melissa Stark . Stark had just worked a huge Sunday night football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets that was made even bigger because megastar Taylor Swift was in attendance to cheer on her new boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. 

Smith said her background in editorial design comes in handy when creating art to pull in the reader. 

“Trying to figure out a way to make Taylor Swift the biggest thing, but also make sure that we actually lead with our own connection was what I challenged myself to do with this one,” she said. “So, kind of using her like she’s a background image, even though she’s very prominent, and then putting Melissa on top was my way of making that compromise.”

“I didn't quite fade all of the lines across Swift’s face. I colorized her a bit, just trying to make her more of the texture, rather than the lead. So she’s the context; she’s not the headline.”

A fun Easter egg in Smith’s illustration is the photo of Swift. Taken by Mina Pirasteh, it was from her 2013 “Red” tour stop at UVA’s John Paul Jones Arena.

250 Illustrations in Two Years

Copperhead on an orange background

(Illustration by Emily Faith Morgan, University Communications)

Emily Faith Morgan was the digital designer for UVA Today for nearly two years and estimates she made about 250 illustrations in that time. Her first was for   a story on copperheads .

“That was the very first one I ever did,” she said. “I had to look up what a copperhead looked like, and I learned so much about how to identify a copperhead.”

A figure whose head is shrouded in fog

In November, Morgan was asked to create art for a  story on seasonal affective disorder . “This was an article that was a little bit easier for me to make a graphic for, because it was something that I was experiencing at the time where I was like, ‘OK, winter is coming. I know exactly how this feels,’” Morgan said.

When she started to work on the design, she thought about a day at the end of the summer when she noticed the temperature was starting to drop. 

“When I woke up and went outside and felt a little chill in the air, just a little nip, and it felt like this graphic with the clouds kind of impending on me, and kind of surrounding me a little bit,” she said. “And so that was really the main driver for this graphic. [It] was the clouds.”

Morgan added some Cavalier orange for visual interest. “The orange advances in space. It’s moving forward. This is the hope that warm days are going to come again,” she explained.

UVA Rockers

collage of musicians on an orange and yellow pastel background

(Illustration by John DiJulio, University Communications)

This illustration, by digital designer John DiJulio, was for a story teasing UVA Today’s new feature, the Music Beat .

“This one was pretty straightforward because it was featuring some musicians who played here at UVA,” he said. “So I wanted to find some of those bands and represent them using UVA colors.”

DiJulio searched the UVA Library database. “I found the most energetic ones that would all kind of work together like a puzzle, with a wide a range of different people and expressions, and then kind of put that together and then put in all these effects on top to kind of rock ’n’ roll.” 

The designer deliberately placed the different performers from left to right to “guide your eye through” the image. DiJulio said he only had a couple of hours to create the design. 

“It’s all built in Photoshop. All these images are masked and layered on top of each other. And then there’s a gradient map that’s applied to them, which is the blue and white filter on top. And then the orange background, with some kind of rough pastel colors and brush strokes. That to me is in the lane of historical rock kind of music.” 

DiJulio said he thinks a good piece of story art illustrates “the main idea behind the piece in one stroke that’s clever and instantly understandable.”

Psychedelia

A collage of mushrooms and color

(Illustration by Alex Angelich, University Communications)

Alex Angelich, the director of digital content, volunteered to illustrate a story on a professor’s National Institutes of Health-funded research into whether or not the derivative of a psychedelic drug can help with chronic lower back pain .

The story focused on a derivative of hallucinogenic “magic mushrooms.” 

“A story about psilocybin and back pain – I was like, ‘Oh, I do a lot of psychedelic art in my personal life for bands that I’m in,” Angelich said. “This is right up my alley. I had a fully formed idea in my head of what I was going to do.”

Student Leaders

Drawings of student leaders

This one required a different approach. Angelich was preparing to create header art for a story about student leaders at UVA   and was in a quandary. She had photos of each of the students, but they were of varying quality, so putting those into a collage was out.

“I was trying to find a way to give the story some ‘wow!’ factor,” she said. “So I decided to print out all of the photos and do hand illustrations of all of them on paper.” Then she scanned the drawings and did the final coloring on Photoshop.

“I was fortunate at the time to have the time to do that,” she said. “It took a couple of days.”

Creepy Stuff

Various creepy things from collections laying together on a table

If it’s October, readers can be sure to be treated to some Halloween content. This past year was no different. Writer Alice Berry, who covers the University Library as part of her beat, visited the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library with photographer Erin Edgerton to capture some of  the creepiest objects in UVA’s collection .

Then the pair served up words and photos to Angelich to arrange into an eye-grabbing story illustration.

“When the story and photos came through, I thought it would have been weird to deliver the story with a header image of just one of the objects,” she said.

Angelich settled on a collage, and then applied all of the elements of the UVA brand . Once she’d cut out and arranged the images of the objects the way she wanted them, she applied shadows and textures to achieve the creepy effect. 

Is it fun doing this work?

“Oh yeah. It’s so fun,” Angelich said. “It allows me to really be creative. It allows me to come up with interesting design features. Working with a brand like ours is fun because it’s broad and has a lot of different elements that I can use at the same time. It’s also constrained, and working in design constraints and time constraints allows me to be creative and work quickly.”

Media Contact

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications

[email protected] (434) 243-9935

Article Information

February 23, 2024

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  18. Picture Books You Can Use for Writing Prompts

    Use a picture book as writing prompts to inspire creative writing. Use snippets of the story, the illustrations, the style, or the format and see what wonderful stories emerge. Writing prompt books are different from mentor texts, whose writing is so outstanding or interesting, that you want your students to emulate it for improvement.

  19. How to Use Images to Teach Creative Writing

    How to Use Images to Teach Creative Writing Landscape paintings can inspire elementary students to use their five senses and incorporate imaginative details in their writing. By Lori Brenneise April 30, 2021 Michael Morgenstern / The iSpot

  20. Sensory Imagery in Creative Writing: Types, Examples, and Writing Tips

    Auditory imagery engages the sense of hearing. This is the way things sound. Literary devices such as onomatopoeia and alliteration can help create sounds in writing. 5. Olfactory imagery engages the sense of smell. Scent is one of the most direct triggers of memory and emotion, but can be difficult to write about.

  21. Pictures to Inspire Creative Writing

    Put numbers 1-14 in a hat. Let each student draw a number. If you have more than 14 students, pair them up before they choose a number. Pairs can collaborate for this creative writing activity. Based on number, let the students choose an illustration. Encourage students to write a short story using the picture prompt.

  22. 22 Creative Writing Picture Prompts

    A set of 22 vivid photographs to be used as inspiration for descriptive, narrative or discursive writing. The pictures are open to interpretation and can be used in multiple ways. The resource includes a brainstorming template for students to use to organise their initial ideas. The download includes both a PPT and PDF version of the images and ...

  23. Images to Inspire

    Once Upon a Picture - Images to Inspire - Teaching Resources

  24. A Picture Can Tell a Thousand Words. These UVA Today Illustrations Prove It

    "It allows me to really be creative. It allows me to come up with interesting design features. Working with a brand like ours is fun because it's broad and has a lot of different elements that I can use at the same time. It's also constrained, and working in design constraints and time constraints allows me to be creative and work quickly."