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Warm-up Lists and Activities

warm-up runnersSubmitted by Becky Aranyi (see note)
Warm Up List

  • Draw an imaginary room

  • Draw yourself as you will look when you are 80 years old (or any other age)

  • Draw a flying frog

  • Draw a clock cooking a meatloaf

  • Draw the monster that hides under your bed.

  • List 10 things the color BLUE (or other color: list color) reminds you of.

  • Draw your greatest fear.

  • Draw things that float.

  • Draw things with wheels.

  • Draw things that roll.

  • Draw things that close.

  • Draw things that come from eggs.

  • Be an ant. Draw what you would see in the cafeteria.

  • If you had a candy bar named after you, what would it look like and what would it be called.

  • If you had been a pilgrim, draw what you think you would have looked like.

  • If you were a flower, what kind would you be? Draw a picture of yourself as this flower.

  • Express in your drawing, your happiest time that you've had in the past year.

  • Draw something that you are good at doing or playing.

  • If I could be a color, I'd be _______because…. Direction: Write Your Answer in Words then draw a picture.

  • Draw a picture of something you'd like to become better at doing.

  • Using any type of line or shape, create a picture with only the 3 primary colors.

  • An alien spaceship has landed in the schoolyard. Draw a picture of it.

  • High in the Himalayan Mountains lives an abominable snow-person. Draw what the snow-person looks like.

  • You have made a startling discovery while skin diving. Draw what it is.

  • Have you ever been to a circus? Draw a picture of your favorite act with yourself as the ringmaster.

  • Draw a picture of one of your family members at work.

  • Draw a picture of your shoe (or hat.) Draw it again from another view.

  • Draw your hand.

  • Draw a picture of your pet or the pet you would LOVE to have.

  • Fill your page with drawings of bugs, seashells, or something that you collect.

  • Draw a family member or a friend.

  • Draw a picture of yourself as you think you might look in 10 years.

  • Have you ever had a daydream instead of doing your work? Draw a picture of your daydream.

  • Draw a picture of your house and yard with a BIG, HUGE, dinosaur in the yard.

  • What is the best story your grandmother/grandfather tells about the olden days? Draw a picture of this story.

  • Draw a picture of your favorite (or least favorite) part about school.

  • Draw a picture of your dream car.

  • What does the boogeyman look like?

  • If you could cast a magic spell, what would it be? Draw a picture of it.

  • The famous American Pop artist Andy Warhol said, "Everyone will have at least fifteen minutes of fame in a lifetime." Illustrate your 15 minutes of fame.

  • A new musical group has asked you to design a CD COVER for them that illustrate their music. Be sure that your design is original and does not use any other group's design. Draw this NEW CD cover.

  • Draw a picture of your dream house.

  • Design your own bedroom floor plan.

  • Think of 3 different animals. Draw the head of one, the body of the second, and the legs of the third one. Give it a name and write the name under the picture.

  • Draw yourself screaming because you are scared.

  • Draw the silliest thing you ever saw.

  • Draw a monster truck.

  • Draw a spider that nobody has ever seen before.

  • Draw what you would look like if you received a MEDAL at the US OLYMPICS.

  • Draw your shoe

  • Draw a character from a book you like

  • Quickly sketch out an original design of a soda can label. Make a brand name, an image, and a slogan to create a market identity, Write a catchy slogan

  • I always like to start with "what-if" questions. What if it got bigger? Smaller? Bolder? More subtle...? Etc...

  • What I have been doing for my warm ups is to write a quote... any that will make a difference in my students and even myself and I make them draw something out of it... wonderful visual art comes from this quotes! Just don’t let them use too many symbols like hearts and stars or else they will just decorate the quote with too many of them...

  • Draw a vase and a beautiful arrangement of flowers

  • Draw a picture of the inside of your stomach and the food in it after a big meal

  • Draw your idea of Paradise

  • Draw a picture of someone you would like to kiss (your boyfriend/girlfriend, a baby, your cat, etc.)

  • If animals could draw, what would their artwork look like? Draw their artwork.

  • Why are people afraid to visit cemeteries at night? Draw it.

  • Draw a necktie and design an interesting pattern on it.

  • Draw a medal for yourself. It must be designed for the thing you do best.

  • Draw a city on another planet.

  • You are a toy designer; draw your new toy.

  • Draw a logo for a TV. show.

  • Draw a picture of yourself the way you will look 20 years from now.

  • Draw a picture of the perfect garden for your house.

  • Draw a scene from your early childhood.

  • Draw a parade.

  • Draw a cover for a CD of your favorite singer

  • Draw a picture of where you would like to fly to.

  • Draw a poster to advertise your favorite movie.

  • Draw a construction site.

  • Draw your view from an airplane window.

  • Draw a scene on another planet and include another kind of being.

  • Draw a picture of an ideal wedding ceremony.

  • Draw a picture of someone you would like to visit.

  • Draw what you think a garden would look like from the view of an insect.

  • Draw a sandcastle.

  • Draw a house built underground.

  • Draw what a spaceship commander would see on his video screen.

  • Draw a view under a magnifying glass (include the magnifying glass).

  • Draw the boat you would like to travel in around the world.

  • Draw a scientist's top secret project.

  • Draw a new piece of sculpture for the museum's sculpture garden.

  • Draw a picture of yourself if you grew flowers instead of hair.

  • An imaginative architect has changed the look of the skyline with an innovative new building; draw the building.

  • Draw a modern house which would still look good in a neighborhood with older houses.

  • Draw an idea that came into your head by thinking of food.

  • Draw an idea that came into your head through your ears.

  • Draw an idea that came into your head through your fingers.

  • Draw an idea that came into your head through your feet.

  • Take any one of the ideas you have already drawn and revise it - - redesign it.

  • Write a large number in the middle of a page. Turn it into a person/animal.

  • Make a design using your address.

  • Combine a plant and an animal to create a new life form.

  • Add a machine to a shape (square, circle, etc.) to create a new invention.

  • Draw a picture. Cut your pictures into squares. Paste the squares into a new design.

  • Draw a picture. Fold your picture into a fan. Cut little shapes out of the fan (like cutting snowflakes). Open the picture up and glue onto a second sheet.

  • Illustrate a famous saying/quotation.

  • Draw yourself in a mood.

  • Draw things that make noise and illustrate the sound.

  • Draw things that float.

  • Draw things with a flavor.

  • Draw your greatest fear.

  • Draw things that close.

  • Illustrate "the way things were".

  • Draw the world from the point of view of a frog/toad.

  • Draw your own game board.

  • Draw a "how to" poster.

  • Draw yourself with wings.

  • Draw things that come from eggs.

  • Draw a comic strip with your own characters.

  • Draw your dream room.

  • Design an advertisement for yourself.

  • Design a new license plate for North Carolina.

  • Illustrate words such as up, upside down, apart, crazy, sane...

  • Design new methods of transportation.

  • Design an ad for your favorite music.

  • Design a new map.

  • Create an imaginary alphabet.

  • Draw a Bulldog in an historical outfit.

  • Design a costume for 2090.

  • Draw old-fashioned puppets.

  • Illustrate: If you were the tallest person in the world.

  • Draw a view of the jungle.

  • Draw a lost dog.

  • Draw the trail of an imaginary insect.

  • Draw how you would be if you were the last person on earth.

  • Design a new CD cover.

  • Draw yourself dressed in clothing from the 1970's.

  • Draw your best friend.

  • Draw your birthday wish list.

  • Draw an illuminated letter for your best friend.

  • Draw yourself in the style of your favorite artist.

  • Draw your "dream car".

  • Draw a "fantasy" house.

  • Draw a bubble.

  • Draw a leaf.

  • Draw the sky.

  • Draw a mirror and all it reflects.

  • Draw your favorite animal with a human face.

  • Draw yourself as a robot.

  • Draw your favorite song.

  • Draw your favorite photograph.

  • Draw your favorite person (from life).

  • List 10 things a color such as red reminds you of.

  • Look at Van Gogh's bedroom. What objects can you find?

  • Express in a drawing your happiest moment in the past year.

  • Express in a drawing something you are good at.

  • If I could be any color, I'd be____ because...

  • Draw a picture of something you'd like to become better at.

  • Using any type of line or shape, create a picture with only the 3 primary colors.

  • Draw one of your shoes

  • Draw a picture of your shoe, overlapping three different views on the same page.

  • Draw a picture of your pet.

  • Fill a page with one line that keeps going.

  • What is art?

  • Self-portrait?

  • Draw your window.

  • A Value scale with your favorite color.

  • Still life using as many of the grays as you can.

  • Design your own bedroom (a floor plan) what would you put in that room, where would you put it, how would you put it.

  • Camouflage something (a bug on a leaf, you in your room, a lizard on a rock) by texture or color.

  • Draw yourself screaming.

  • A vampire turning into a bat and flying away

  • three frogs playing leap frog

  • A frog falling into a hole.

  • A flower growing.

  • Draw yourself at 16 years old, 30 and 80 years old. Triptych 

  • Draw the silliest thing you ever saw.

  • Draw someone picking something up.

  • Draw the Thinker as an animal.

  • Distort something. A short fat pencil. A glue bottle, the thickness and length of a pencil. A ruler made with curved lines

  • What subject or topic are you really interested in?

  • Create a Dr. Seuss landscape

  • Draw the wind

  • Draw sadness

  • Draw happiness

  • Collections of objects: toys, books (opened, closed, stacked), kitchen utensils, art materials, contrasting texture items, knick-knack collections, crumpled paper bags, still-lifes of fruit or vegetables, clothing hung from hooks or chair backs, assorted balls, a collection of cans from the pantry or shampoo bottles from the shower. Stacks of shoes. Old hats. Spools of Thread..

  • Fantasy art: mythological interpretations, invented creatures from actual live creatures, fables and fairy tales.

  • Story illustrations: for stories they've read or written. To redo those they don't like, or to emulate or reinterpret those they do like.

  • Portraiture. Figures. Animals. Transportation forms. Functional object design, such as the book bag or wind suit they'd like to have.

  • Lautrec of the 90's poster designs for an event they are involved in. Formulate an

  • bookmarks for the school library

  • junk food with wrapper

  • part of a vehicle

  • instead of a hand... your foot ( no socks or shoe)

  • something not pretty (one of the 8th grades faves)

  • an interior of something (once a student did the inside of a jar of peanut butter)

  • inside of closet

  • 3 unlikely objects together

  • part of any object ( mystery draw)

  • a scene that depicts peace

  • Illustrate your favorite poem

  • Draw the contents of a trash can

  • Drawing of a house plant (real or artificial)

  • Draw an object with a surface texture.

  • Draw tools used in certain professions

  • Draw a tennis shoe

  • Draw your favorite shoe

  • draw a grouping of leaves

  • Draw something you might find in a department store display

  • Draw a large jar and fill it up with something (candy, toys, rock, etc)

  • Design a school desk

  • Draw your favorite snack food

  • Draw an object melting

  • Draw a bowl of fruit, shade it.

  • Draw hands holding something

  • Draw a mechanical object

  • Word picture: select a word that brings to mind a mental picture, Draw the word as the shape of the object. Such as the word apple in the shape of an apple, or apples spelling out the word.

  • Draw popcorn

  • Keyhole: what would you see through a key hole

  • Select an above or below point of view in a specific area (your room, kitchen, bathroom, outside, in a car, etc. Complete this drawing paying attention to details. You may complete the drawing in pencil, colored pencil, pen, etc.

  • Choose a portion of a magazine or newspaper picture. Glue that picture on a page in your sketchbook. Create a drawing that incorporates that picture into a story. You may use more than one magazine or newspaper image BUT the artwork should be made mainly from your added drawings. This artwork should span 2 pages. You may use color or shading. OR you could use a color scheme (monochromatic, etc.)

  • Choose an enclosed space- a kitchen cabinet, a television, an oven, a refrigerator, in a drawer or closet. What human qualities do the objects in the enclosed space assume when no one is watching? Do the mustard bottles dance? Do the socks play cards? This can be one page with details…be sure and show the interior of the space as well as the objects.

  • Draw an animal turning into a household object.

  • If you got a holiday card from one of these artists what would it look like?  Pablo Picasso, Berthe Morisot, Salvador Dali, Georgia O’Keefe, Vincent Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo

  • Arrange three related objects (3 kitchen items, 3 shoes, sports equipment, etc.) into a composition. Draw on one page using a light source and shading

  • Create an image using only found images (from magazines, newspapers, worksheets, etc.) The image should communicate a message or tell a story

  • Practice drawing anything from observation- the most common things is good practice

  • Look at yourself in a spoon- draw the distorted image

  • What happens when a 6-foot tall squirrel shows up in your yard?

  • Identify an object that relates to your identity. Create an artwork that uses the image of that object (or the actual object) as the SINGLE FOCUS of the artwork. Open media.

  • Fill in the blank… "I am a _________ in this world." Use the text of the completed sentence to inform the artwork. Open Media. This should be a 2 page spread

  • Answer these questions with an image:  At age six I was ________, At age twelve I was _______, Now I am ________, At age 25 I will be ______, At age 75 I will be ______

  • Arrange these images in a composition that communicates your identity. Open media. Should span at least 4 pages in some order that communicates the answers to the questions.

  • Illustrate a dream you have had using only 5 symbols (single images that communicate ideas) this may take one or two pages. You may use color or black and white to complete the image.  Consider what you know about composition, emphasis, etc. as you build the images.

  • Make a detailed drawing of your hand holding something related to the fall season OR related to school. Make the drawing large enough that it touches all the edges of the page. You may add color or use shading

  • Your choice- create a one or two page drawing that demonstrates several of your strongest art skills. This is your chance to create your own assignment as many of you have requested,

  • What does the holiday season really mean to you? Your image can be abstract or realistic; you may choose the media. AVOID common images- meaning if you choose to show holiday gifts- SHOW THEM IN A CREATIVE WAY!

  • Create a design using elements from magazine or newspaper images. Cut and paste the images onto the page in your sketchbook to create the design.

  • Practice observational drawing skills by drawing from the following list: Shoes, Corner of a room in your house, Create an arrangement of objects, use a lamp or other light to make dramatic shadows, your pet, Creative views of your car, bicycle, skateboard, etc., Make the image reach all the way to the edges of the page. Demonstrate what you know about point of view, emphasis, composition, positive and negative space, etc.

  • What would you see if you grew wings and flew over our town?

  • What if your big toe became its own person?

  • What if you suddenly became very, very small?

  • Draw a vase and a beautiful arrangement of flowers

  • Draw a picture of the inside of your stomach and the food in it after a big meal

  • Draw your idea of Paradise (Happy Place)

  • If animals could draw, what would their artwork look like? Draw their artwork.

  • Why are people afraid to visit cemeteries at night? Draw it.

  • Draw a necktie and design an interesting pattern on it.

  • Draw a medal for yourself. It must be designed for the thing you do best.

  • Draw a city on another planet.

  • You are a toy designer; draw your new toy.

  • Draw a logo for a TV. show.

  • Draw a picture of yourself the way you will look 20 years from now.

  • Draw a picture of the perfect garden for your house.

  • Draw a scene from your early childhood.

  • Draw a parade.

  • Draw a picture of where you would like to fly to.

  • Draw a poster to advertise your favorite movie.

  • Draw a construction site.

  • Draw your view from an airplane window.

  • Draw a scene on another planet and include another kind of being.

  • Draw a picture of an ideal wedding ceremony.

  • Draw a picture of someone you would like to visit.

  • Draw what you think a garden would look like from the view of an insect.

  • Draw a sandcastle.

  • Draw a house built underground.

  • Draw what a spaceship commander would see on his video screen.

  • Draw a view under a magnifying glass (include the magnifying glass).

  • Draw the boat you would like to travel in around the world.

  • Draw a scientist's top secret project.

  • Draw a new piece of sculpture for the museum's sculpture garden.

  • Draw a picture of yourself if you grew flowers instead of hair.

  • An imaginative architect has changed the look of the skyline with an innovative new building; draw the building.

  • Draw a modern house which would still look good in a neighborhood with older houses.

  • Draw an idea that came into your head by thinking of food.

  • Draw an idea that came into your head through your ears.

  • Draw an idea that came into your head through your fingers.

  • Draw an idea that came into your head through your feet.

  • Take any one of the ideas you have already drawn and revise it - - redesign it.

  • Write a large number in the middle of a page. Turn it into a person/animal.

  • Make a design using your address.

  • Combine a plant and an animal to create a new life form.

  • Add a machine to a shape (square, circle, etc.) to create a new invention.

  • Draw a picture. Cut your pictures into squares. Paste the squares into a new design.

  • Draw a picture. Fold your picture into a fan. Cut little shapes out of the fan (like cutting snowflakes). Open the picture up and glue onto a second sheet.

  • Illustrate a famous saying/quotation.

  • Draw yourself in a mood.

  • Draw things that make noise and illustrate the sound.

  • Draw things that float.

  • Draw things with a flavor.

  • Draw your greatest fear.

  • Draw things that close.

  • Illustrate "the way things were".

  • Draw the world from the point of view of a frog/toad.

  • Draw your own game board.

  • Draw a "how to" poster.

  • Draw yourself with wings.

  • Draw things that come from eggs.

  • Draw a comic strip with your own characters.

  • Draw your dream room.

  • Design an advertisement for yourself.

  • Design a new license plate for Kansas.

  • Illustrate words such as up, upside down, apart, crazy, sane...

  • Design new methods of transportation.

  • Design an ad for your favorite music.

  • Design a new map.

  • Create an imaginary alphabet.

  • Design a costume for 2090.

  • Draw old-fashioned puppets.

  • Illustrate: If you were the tallest person in the world.

  • Draw a view of the jungle.

  • Draw a lost dog.

  • Draw the trail of an imaginary insect.

  • Draw how you would be if you were the last person on earth.

  • Design a new CD cover.

  • Draw yourself dressed in clothing from the 1970's.

  • Draw your best friend.

  • Draw your birthday wish list.

  • Draw an illuminated letter for your best friend.

  • Draw yourself in the style of your favorite artist.

  • Draw your "dream car".

  • Draw a "fantasy" house.

  • Draw a bubble.

  • Draw a leaf.

  • Draw the sky.

  • Draw a mirror and all it reflects.

  • Draw your favorite animal with a human face.

  • Draw yourself as a robot.

  • Draw your favorite song.

  • Draw your favorite photograph.

  • Draw your favorite person (from life).

  • Draw something for the following quote "objects in mirror are closer than they appear."

NOTE: This list comes from a number of sources. Some of these ideas are Becky’s own, some come from members of Art Education list serve, some come from Internet resources. Publishing to the Web is not intended to violate anyone’s copyright to his/her published lists. If you see your original ideas here and wish to be properly credited, please send me an e-mail. Of course, I will remove your original ideas if requested to do so. I was originally planning to remove this list from the site so I would not be violating anyone’s copyright, but after I received this excellent suggestion from Marvin Bartel, I decided it should remain.

 

From Marvin Bartel (Getty TeacherArtExchange, February 11, 2007)

Thank you.  This is a great warm-up list.  I believe that using a regular warm-up ritual (starting every period with a brief warm-up) can be an extremely helpful and possibly a way to automatically get students settled and on-task.  It can give the teacher time to check attendance and get prepared and psyched for the main agenda.

 

Would it be helpful if our shared lists of warm-ups would be categorized according to various learning goals? Might this help teachers fill voids in learning and thinking modes being taught in our art classes?

 

The list has many great thinking ideas to practice using the IMAGINATION, some require MEMORY OF EXPERIENCE, very few are based on OBSERVATION practice. Does this say something about our prevalent art teaching practices?

 

Do any art teachers use categories of ACCIDENTS and Choice Making, or MISTAKES as new Idea Development as warm ups? Most of the ideas on the list use DRAWING.  Could teachers share their CLAY or COLLAGE warm-ups?  What other media and art process warm-up categories do (or could) teachers use?  Anybody use MEDITATION (or use a word like QUIET-DREAM-TIME that is politically less loaded)?  Does anybody teach LIST MAKING as a warm up? What kind of lists? Are there any studies of what professional artists do to prepare their minds or to find their muse? As artist-teachers, what do we ourselves do?

 

If the warm-up is a regular ritual, how can it be established as an automatic class starting expectation? Does it work to post instructions with supplies placed where they are picked up on the way into the room?  Does the class begin in a quiet and studious way? Do students save work in individual warm-up portfolios (providing a longitudinal growth record)?

 

This site includes more ideas and rationale for warm-up rituals.
http://www.goshen.edu/art/ed/ritual.html

This warm-up uses list making, clay, and drawing.
http://www.goshen.edu/art/ed/Bird.html

A few other ideas described.
http://www.goshen.edu/art/ed/d-list.html
-------------
Marvin Bartel
Marvin Bartel, Ed.D., Professor of Art Emeritus
Goshen College
http://www.bartelart.com
http://www.goshen.edu/art/ed/art-ed-links.html
----------------
"Art is me when I am myself..." a kindergarten girl when asked, "What is art?"

"You can't never know how to do it before you never did it before..." a kindergarten boy working with clay for the first time.  Warm-ups can provide first-time experience as PRACTICE eliminating fear of failure.

 

Suggestion from Gerald Rojek

I've used to do a 5 minute warm exercise called Draw Now when I used to teach H.S. I found it was very effective for getting students on task. Plus it was useful to help students develop a project over time. For example, I had students develop characters for their comics through the warm exercises then return to them later for graphic revisions, narrative expansion and character development. They loved being able to return to their own work to develop new work from and it makes the teaching much more concrete and explicit. Now I do warm up exercises of short duration with my college and adult students too. It helps the students focus and avoid trying to analyze and create at the same time.

 

I think it could easily be done with clay, model making, project proposals, creativity exercises and even constructing rubrics.

 

Suggestion from Diane Davis:

My warm up activities start with journaling. Everyday students come in and have to answer a question on the board. They have five minutes a day, and two days to work on the same question. Some of the questions were posted here some time ago, under aesthetic questions.

 

They were things like:
Can an object be considered a work of art today if it was not a work of art when it was created? Must art be made by hand? Must art communicate something? Must art be beautiful? Who has the authority to say what is good or bad art?

 

Other questions I take right out of my curriculum:

How does technology affect the way we make our art? Does where we live effect how we make art? How do you tell stories without words?

 

Other questions were based on things I heard in the news:

Should the Greeks be given back the Pantheon art taken from them in the early 1800's? "We want our marbles back" Should neighbors have a say in the kind of art you put on your front lawn?(the resale rates are going down" Are "The Gates" that were put in NY city, art? Are the cows that are painted by different companies, organizations and posed around the city, art?

 

Other questions are built around the seasons: What would you give as a Christmas gift to the Mesopotamians? What color would you say Christmas is, if you couldn't use red or green? What color is hope?

 

And some are just spontaneous: If I picked up this driftwood off the beach, put a price tag on it and put it in an art gallery, is it art? Respond to this quote by Pablo Picasso: Is art made by a four year old better or worse than art made by  someone who says they are an artist, but has never had formal training?

 

They've been a lot of fun. I'm now using words from standardized testing to make sure kids are learning how to respond in specific ways. I ask questions with these words in them: Contrast, Compare, Explain, Support, Formulate, Evaluate, Analyze, Predict.

 

Suggestion from Barb Yaloff

I sometimes gave out materials with a random shape and the kids have to think what the shape could possibly be, and they could turn it at all angles. Sometimes paper, or pieces of scrap wood or foam core board, even that thin foam that comes in colors. They get all excited, and it absolutely translates into their work- for instance a drop of ink that fell is no longer a disaster... what does it look like? What could it be in this picture? or shapes that become cartoon heads and bodies... the kids see and point out to each other where the ear is, where the eye is, etc. and the others say "yes I see that now that you point that out." It's an enlightening experience and before long you do not have to instigate it; they do.

 

Suggestions from Judith Stenger

For Middle School--- I sometimes use warm up questions-- many from the book "Thinking through Aesthetics," which I project so the kids can come in and  get started. They write in their art journals. After they write, they discuss at their tables, then have a spokesperson share with the class. This is when I get out the microphone. Not necessary, of course, but it does help the other kids to focus on the speaker. I have an inexpensive microphone, which makes their pronouncements VERY important.

 

I find they are even more engaged if I project a painting or other work of art ( you could use a large print) and ask the questions (from ARTFUL THINKING website), I see... I think... I wonder... or:  If this is the beginning of the story, write what happens next. If this is the middle of the story, what do you think happened before and after? If you think this is the end of the story, write the beginning and middle.

 

Often, I will stand outside the door and hand them the questions as they come in. These are also discussed, shared, and saved in their art journals.

 

We are on an AB block, so I don't mind taking a few minutes of an 85-minute class to spend on this.  I think it has real value as higher order thinking.

 

 


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