Art Prompts from Pinterest Part 1

When I started sharing artwork on this site, eventually I decided to create social media profiles for Amdall Gallery on any platform I could think of. I haven’t gotten traction on any others near the level I have on the WordPress Reader, Facebook, or Twitter. But I figured I should at least try to have a presence on elsewhere, just in case somehow I could drive some traffic to the Gallery. This website is a fun experiment for me in many ways, particularly because I can learn more about topics I only had surface-level knowledge of previously (fascinating stuff like web analytics, traffic referrals, advertising, etc.).

Aside from being part of the learning process, some of these social media profiles that I made for Amdall Gallery have actually proven to be fairly useful. I’ve found that one of the more useful ones, particularly for artwork, is Pinterest. Pinterest’s organization is a bit different than most “profile and news feed” oriented services; your content is grouped by “boards” and materials that you share are called “pins.” You can share other peoples’ content or your own, and it becomes a very efficient way to save things. For example, my wife uses it to save recipe ideas, travel ideas, exercise tips, and many other things. I ended up creating four boards; my artwork, cool art by other people, art tips, and art prompts.

If there’s a common theme about Amdall Gallery, it’s probably that I never know what to draw. I’ve talked about it many times, but I’m sort of unimaginative when it comes to art. Usually the main thing that I actually get inspiration to draw is my family; and that’s good, especially sketching the kids as they grow. But outside of that, I’m pretty much always out of ideas. That’s where this art prompts Pinterest board might help! There are hundreds (thousands?) of images that are provided specifically to be used as artist prompts. Essentially, these models pose with different expressions or motions, and they’re shared with multiple shots on a page. When you click on an image, there’s a sidebar that says “Tried this pin? Add a photo to show how it went.” Basically, when an artist draws it, they’re supposed to link how their attempt turned out.

I think this is a pretty fun concept, and seems well-suited towards artwork (as well as cooking, crafts, woodworking, and other things). Although I have collected about 30 art prompts on my board, I hadn’t tried one yet. I decided to remedy this weekend! I tried three prompts to varying success, including one random non-celebrity person, basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, and actor John Malkovich. The original plan was to try out a few small, varied expressions for each, then do a large portrait for each. I’ll talk about it more in the second post, but I bit off more than I could chew here. I probably should have tackled them one at a time, but instead I sort of worked on them all at once. Let’s start with this person (a professional photographer and model named Jessica Truscott):

Artwork derived from photos by Jessica Truscott.

As I mentioned, this first sketch was a multi-figure planning page. I tried a few different expressions/poses from the prompt, which were mostly successful. I captured the left and middle expressions pretty accurately, but the right expression was totally wrong. She was supposed to be rolling her eyes with a look of disbelief; I messed up the eye-roll, so I had to change the expression to some extent. The model’s hair was an almost pinkish/magenta red, so I had to experiment a bit to see if I could match it. That’s where this practice page was valuable; fine-tuning colors and looks. I also consider it a success that all three sketches look like the same person!

Artwork derived from photos by Jessica Truscott.

The next step was to do a full-sized portrait, which I think also turned out well in this case. Once again, this does look like the same person as the previous three. Because it was larger, I was able to capture more detail than in the other sketches. The practice paid off with the hair, and I believe it turned out to be a decent match to the original colors. In the larger portrait, I think the mouth could have been better; I drew the graphite outline too darkly, and it forms a border line that doesn’t look very natural. I wasn’t sure if I could erase it without causing damage, so I just had to take that as a lesson. I’m also not entirely sure I got the nose right, but I can’t figure out from visual inspection what I should have done differently.

Of course, I also created some progression .gifs as this collection of sketches came together. Here they are, group shot followed by large portrait:

Bright Hair Test Sketches Amdall
Bright Hair Progression Amdall

Since this post is so large already, the Shaq and Malkovich artwork is going to be shared separately. They’re both done; like I said, these were all worked on concurrently. I’ve done two at once before, and enjoyed being able to switch off…but three larger portraits plus multiple small sketches? Yeah, that’s definitely too much for me at once. Stay tuned for part two of the Pinterest series!


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  • This is excellent work, and such a coincidence as I literally just posted up a drawing using… Pinterest… as the source.

    I wasn’t aware of that Board so will take a look.

    It sounds a bit like an App I had on my work phone, it’s an iPhone and the app is called Sktchy and was pretty good. I say “was” because as mentioned it was the work phone, so not really for me to start loading random apps onto. My own phone is Android and for some reason they don’t have a version of it for that.

    However Pinterest I do have and I quite like, in some ways I’d say that it’s probably my favourite of the social media bunch (well, least disliked πŸ˜‰)

    Anyways, well done again. These portrait drawings are very good, they remind me of drawings you’d see in a book, or leaflets on how to administer medical assistance, etc.

    In other words, professional πŸ€“

    • Ohhh yes Sktchy – I think I’ve heard of this before, possibly from your website? I can’t remember, but I feel like it may have been from you. I’ve got an Android phone, so I recall being disappointed that it doesn’t exist on that platform. Actually, that reminds me; have you ever heard of the sub-Reddit “RedditGetsDrawn” ( At some point, as I was looking for decent Sktchy alternatives, I came across that. I’d like to try a prompt, but I’ve had some less than enjoyable interactions on Reddit. Just curious if you’ve ever had any experiences drawing from there.

      Do you have a Pinterest board (or page? Am I getting terminology mixed up?)? I’d like to follow you on there if I can find you. Sometimes I try to find WordPress artists on other platforms too, but haven’t had much luck. By the way, speaking of your art – I love the Simpsons mash-ups you’ve been doing! They’re really entertaining, man. You’ve got a knack for Bart…wait, are you a Matt Groening pen name?

      And, thank you for saying so about these sketches! I don’t feel professional, but that’s good to hear that I can sometimes do a reasonable imitation.

      • Yes, I did the same of registering on every platform I could think of after coming up with the cunningly stunningly imaginatively titled “Steve Kidd Art” – Pinterest included. (Wish I’d gone for “Steve K Artworks” incidentally) πŸ™„

        I don’t know anything about Reddit though, that one’s slipped me by.

        Bart was just for Inktober, as it culminated in him karate chopping my pencil in half he won’t be back in a hurry. Never say never though, he was quite fun to do as an aside from the attempts at serious art making.

        Yes, I think in terms of imitation your drawings are spot on. In terms of recognisable artworks they’re distinctively yours, no-one is going to recognise a “Kidd” but I’d be 90% sure of an “Amdall Artwork” (another good name πŸ˜›)

      • I appreciate your comments on the sketches! I’ve always had a goal in mind to be as true-to-life as I could manage – I’m not all the way there, but I do feel like I’m getting closer to that goal. If I came upon a style, it was definitely by accident! I happened to read something on about “colored pencil painting”, and decided to give it a shot. As I figured out how to make thick/heavy pencil work for me, I guess it came to look a certain way.

        Speaking of that, I do think you have a recognizable style too. Leaving aside the actual cartoon sketches (Simpsons mashups), some of your drawings have almost a cell-shaded look with deep shadows. Like “My Precious”/Gollum, the Vegan Boxer, etc. You can mix it up too (Gandhi scribble style), but there are commonalities in your work! I wonder if all artists naturally develop a distinctive style, whether they intend to or not? I think most of the WordPress artists that I check out the most I could probably recognize in a blind art test (am I overestimating my Artistic Eye? ha ha)

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