In the last post, I shared the powerful magic and science of artist dates (if you’re not familiar with the concept of artist dates, I recommend giving that post a quick read before continuing here). As an additional note, it feels important to clarify that artist dates are not just for artists. They for every single person who wants to honour and nourish their creativity.
In this post, I have 52 ideas for artist dates to help you get started with your own practice, plus a few ideas about how to create your own store of inspiration so you’ll never be stuck for artist date ideas in the future. At the bottom of this post, you’ll find a free planner you can use to plan, schedule, and rate your artist date experiences so you know which ones you might want to revisit in the future.
52 ideas for artist dates
If you’re brand new to the concept of artist dates, one of the biggest challenges is knowing where to start. This can be especially tricky if, like most of us, you were taught that play is for children and adults have responsibilities and serious things to do instead. If you’d like a little helping hand, here are 52 ideas for artist dates to get you started. Feel free to pick and choose the ideas that work for you.
Making and Creating
1. Create a vision board (Pinterest is useful for this!)
2. Organise your wardrobe. Bag anything you no longer wear. Arrange your clothes by category, colour, or however else you want.
3. Turn one area of your home into a creative corner. What could you do there? What can you add to make the space inspiring and inviting?
4. Enjoy an adult colouring session. I got this book for Christmas and it’s great.
5. Create a mini herb garden in your kitchen. What do you have space to grow?
6. Try your hand at a new kind of art. Look up a few tutorials on YouTube or book a local class. What calls to you?
7. Visit an art, bead or craft shop and browse, letting your imagination run away with you.
8. Make your own self-care kit.
9. Make your own journal or notebook.
10. Collage! Get some old magazines (if you don’t have any, charity and second-hand shops sometimes sell them in bulk) and cut out any images and words that resonate with you.
11. Spend an afternoon making part of your home as beautiful as possible. Choose an area that could use some TLC and go to town.
12. Make a meal with courses from different countries.
13. Set yourself a creative budget of £10. Visit your local craft shop and see what you can create within this constraint.
14. Spend a couple of hours taking self-portraits. Play around with light, colour, background, expression and image filters.
15. Try your hand at writing poetry. Stuck for where to start? Try creating a few haikus.
16. Buy a couple of plants for your home (make sure they are suitable for the environment and will survive!). Research how to care for them.
17. Make your own Christmas decorations. Instead of buying new decorations this year, make a pledge to DIY.
18. Create an upbeat playlist and hold your own solo dance party. Spotify is useful for this.
19. Try baking something ambitious. Stretch your cooking skills to their limit!
20. Spend an afternoon window shopping. Stop at stores you usually walk straight past and take the time to browse and notice what they’re offering.
Trips and adventures
21. Visit a local museum.
22. Visit a historical building and imagine what it must have been like to live and work there back in the day.
23. Visit a local (or not so local) park and sit for a while, people watching, reading and enjoying nature.
24. Walk through a new neighbourhood and take in the ambience.
25. Visit a local flea market.
26. Spend an afternoon in the countryside (if you’re a city dweller), or your nearest town (if you’re a country dweller). Change your scene for half a day.
27. Visit a local farmer’s market. Take in the sights, sounds and scents.
28. Research self-guided walks around a local area. Do one.
29. Take your camera for a wander, especially if you don’t consider yourself to be much of a photographer. Look out for interesting views, angles and subjects.
30. Spend a couple of hours at your local coffee shop. Use snippets of conversation you hear to create doodles or short stories.
31. Take a trip down memory lane. Return to one of your favourite places from childhood.
32. Find a couple of unusual “hidden” local attractions (for example Postman’s Park in London) and visit one.
33. Look up top-rated attractions on TripAdvisor in your local area. Pick one or two to visit today.
34. Copy random pages of a novel, or take yesterday’s newspaper, and create blackout poems.
35. Write a gratitude letter to someone who has had an impact on your life. You don’t have to send it (but you can if you want).
36. Spend an afternoon looking at beautiful homes on Pinterest. What is beautiful about them to you? How can you recreate some of that beauty in your own space?
37. Create a written vision of your dream life at your next -0 age (I.e. 30, 40, 50, 60, etc.).
38. Visit your nearest shoreline and spend a couple of hours watching the waves, noticing what thoughts dance through your mind.
39. Make a “love list” of activities you’d like to try in the future.
40. Watch a foreign movie. Pick a country whose films you’ve never seen before.
41. Go to your local library and pick out 3 books on a topic that sounds interesting.
42. Go shopping and try on 3 items of clothing that you would never, ever wear. What do you notice? How do you feel wearing them?
43. Go to a second-hand book store. Choose a book that catches your eye and spend a couple of hours reading it.
44. Look up lists of classic books and movies. Choose one you haven’t seen before and start watching or reading it.
45. Revisit a toy or tool you loved to play with when you were a kid (e.g. play dough, silly putty, lego). Get some and spend an afternoon indulging in this childhood pleasure.
46. Go for a walk in a nature spot (think beach, countryside) and pick up two or three nature souvenirs for your home space. My favourite? Quartz pebbles from the beach. Remember not to take anything that’s protected or could have an effect on the local ecosystem.
47. Create your own learning curriculum for the next couple of months using resources like Coursera, iTunesU, Open2Study and similar. Choose courses that pique your interest.
48. Take a trip down the Wikipedia rabbit hole. Look up something that interests you and see where your curiosity (and all those web links) lead!
49. Focus on learning (or relearning) a new physical movement, such as a headstand, handstand, cartwheel.
50. Try a new language. Duolingo and Memrise are helpful tools to start.
51. Start a new (and big) jigsaw puzzle. Notice how it feels to watch the pieces come together.
52. Write down 10 new things you’d like to have experienced before your next birthday. Plan to do the first thing now.
Want a done-for-you artist date planner? Head on down to the bottom of this post to grab your copy.
Creating an Idea Bucket for Artist Dates
Good ideas rarely arrive at opportune times. Even when they do, we need to have a system in place to capture them otherwise all we’re left with later is a vague sense of “I know there was something I wanted to remember…”
For quick inspiration, I recommend having one place you store all your ideas and making that place as easy to access as possible (I usually have my phone and/or computer with me, so having a single way to collect ideas that syncs between both these places keeps me covered). I use a tool called Omnifocus to manage to-dos and projects. It’s pretty complicated, but I keep most ideas about anything and everything related to work and life there so the artist date inspiration goes in with the rest. If you don’t use to-do or organisation software, you can use something free like Evernote, or carry around a few index cards if you’d rather stay offline.
The more artist dates you do, the more open to artist date ideas you will become. The more you honour your creativity, the more you’ll notice what you’re drawn to and curious to try. So create a place now to keep those ideas for inspiration later.
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