Welcome to Illustration Friday

Imagine if  you were asked to create an illustration. Before you started working, you would probably expect to receive a wealth of information. What should be the focus of the illustration? Where will this illustration take place? What time of year will it be? The list of questions could go on and on. However, what if you were told you wouldn’t be provided any of that information. What if you had to create a work of art not based on a long description but rather on one single word? Welcome to Illustration Friday! Today I’m going to tell you how this cool website works as well as give you some ideas for how to use it in your classroom.
Illustration Friday

How Illustration Friday Works

Illustration Friday is a website where illustrators from all around the world gather to receive a one word prompt every Friday morning. Based solely on that word, hundreds of artists participate by interpreting and then painting, drawing or producing a digital work of art. These works are posted to their blogs which are then linked to the Illustration Friday home page.
Illustration Friday 1

The prompts are usually words that can have many interpretations. Previous topics include Trouble, Silence and Wish to name a few. Artists wishing to participate simply click the “Submit Your Illustration” button. This process allows the artist to easily link his or her blog to the site. Once linked, the illustration appears on the Illustration Friday home page which also contains a link back to the artist’s blog.
Illustration Friday Submit

Illustration Friday makes it easy to participate both through this submission process and also through weekly emails that update subscribers when a new prompt has been posted. Illustration Friday even has a submission process for accepting prompt ideas in case you think you have a great word suggestion.

Once posted, viewers to the site can browse illustrations based on medium, such as “colored pencil,” “mixed media” or “digital art”. It is also possible to search works by style, such as “abstract,” “children’s art” or “realistic.” However, if you prefer to see all the entries, you can always choose the “View All” link.


Illustration Friday in the Classroom

Illustration Friday can make a great addition to your art class curriculum in many different ways.

1. Use the weekly prompt as a warm up assignments to get your students thinking.

Ask students how many different ideas they can come up with for the week’s word. They should never settle for the first thing that comes to mind.

2. Use Friday’s prompt as a weekly sketchbook assignment. 


3. Suggest creating a piece of work for Illustration Friday as an extra project for students that finish early. 


4. Use Illustration Friday for a one-day Fun Friday project in any class.

Imagine what your Sculpture class would design in clay or your Computer Art class could create with a prompt like this using Photoshop.
Here are two examples of work done by my students in Adobe Illustrator using Illustration Friday prompts. The first came from the prompt “Journey.” The second came from the prompt “Summer.”
IF Student 2


IF Student1
You can find Illustration Friday on the web at IllustrationFriday.com. They are also socially networked on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Flickr.

Let us know- How do your students use Illustration Friday?!

Have you ever used it for your own personal work? 


Ian Sands


This article was written by former AOE writer and choice-based art education expert, Ian Sands.


  • Mary K.

    I have used a form of Illustration Friday for years. Students use 12″ x 18″ paper and divide it into 3″ squares. Words to illustrate in various mediums of choice are given as a “Do Now”. Sample words include road, opponent, window, etc. Originality, craftsmanship and effort are stressed. I do not have use of computers or a lab so we make do. I teach 7th grade so sometimes the words need to be a little more concrete than “smooth”. Thanks for the informative article.

  • Hope

    Is the art supposed to be posted the same day the prompt is given, or do you have until the following Friday to post it?

    • iansands

      Hope, you have all week to post. I have noticed that the people who post on the same day either had something already that fit or the quality isn’t up to snuff. However, I personally wouldn’t want to wait till late, like Thursday, because then your work won’t be posted on the site for long aka less exposure. Posting between Saturday and Monday might be best.

  • Meesh
    • Meesh

      For some reason my other post is not posting. I wanted to share how much my junior high students love Illustration Friday. Instead of submitting their artwork to the Illustration Friday site, we created our own using my class website and padlet. Students upload their work every Friday to share with their class as well as others. I don’t like giving my students homework in art so I make sure they have some class time to work on their entries. They get every Friday to work on this. Several are so invested into their work that they choose to use their time at home to work too!

  • Jennifer Day Martin

    I have used the idea of “Photoshop Friday” for years in my graphics 2 level class. They stop, take a fresh break from current projects, and have some fun with a challenge that might take one or two friday’s to complete. (Our periods are still only 45 min.) They love the fun freedom and whimsy of if. It is a nice break from the week. I love the idea of the Illustration Friday too. I might have to mix or alternate this idea! Thanks for the web info!

  • IllustrationFriday

    Thank you so much for featuring Illustration Friday as a resource for art education! We are so pleased to hear about teachers using it in their classrooms.

  • Sarah

    There’s also the idea of having especially high school students illustrate a word from SAT word lists. Those ‘big words’ they are supposed to know. It can really be challenging!