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.


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.

visual picture prompts for creative writing

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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.

Thursday 9th of May 2024

I love this website because I was using it with my kindergartners and it work so so so well!!!!

Monday 20th of May 2024

That's wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

Tuesday 5th of March 2024

I LOVE these! My daughter has always struggled with written story prompts and an internet search this week convinced me of the value of picture prompts for reluctant readers/writers ( if you're interested!). I'll definitely be using these to help improve her writing skills. Thanks so much!

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.

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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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  • Image Prompts

85+ Picture Writing Prompts For Kids (+ Free Printable)

A picture is worth a thousand words. So how many words can you write for these 85 picture writing prompts for kids and grow-ups alike! Pictures, whether something as simple as an apple or as complex as an action scene can spark the imagination in more ways than one.

Of course, when looking at pictures you can take the literal route, and describe whatever you see in front of you. Or you can explore your imagination, and think about the ‘What Ifs..’ of a picture. What if that person is actually upset? What if this picture is of a broken family? What if the world looked like this years ago? A picture can have so many hidden meanings and can hide so many secrets. The slightest detail could mean everything. Just imagine you’re a detective solving a crime from one picture alone. Examine every detail, write it down and think why? Only then can you fully understand a picture.

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.

Picture Prompt Generator

In this post, we have included a mix of simple pictures, story picture prompts, photographs, fantasy images and even some action-packed images.

You can find the complete list of our picture writing prompts below. We’ve also created a smaller PDF version that includes 30 random picture prompts. Download the printable PDF here .

You might also be interested in the following posts:

  • 30 Christmas Pictures To Get You Writing ‘Tis Jolly Season
  • 25+ Halloween Image Prompts For Mastering Horror Stories
  • How to Use Image prompts To Inspire You

150 Picture Prompts To Inspire

Over 85 picture prompts for creative writing, story-telling and descriptive writing assignments:

picture writing prompt 1

How to Use these Prompts

Picture prompts are the perfect writing stimulus especially when you hit writer’s block . Here are a number of ways you can use these picture writing prompts to spark your imagination:

  • Descriptive Writing: Directly describe everything you see in extreme detail. You could even go beyond the physical appearance of things, and explore your other senses, such as smell, hear, feel and taste.
  • Story-Telling: Pick just one image, and tell a whole story based on this one image.
  • Story Starter: Similarly you can pick one image, and use it as the starting place of your story.
  • Collaborative Story-Telling: In a group of 5 – 7 students, each student can have a random picture. The first student uses their picture as the story starter, and then the next student continues the story based on their own image. Keep going until the final student ends the story.
  • Idea Generation: Pick one image and try to think of at least 3 story ideas related to that one image. 
  • Daily Writing Challenge: Give your students 7 images, and tell them to write a description for each image every day. 

These are just some ways to use images as writing prompts. You can also check our post on 8 fun story-telling games using image prompts for more ideas.  Did you find our picture writing prompts useful? Let us know in the comments below!

picture writing prompts

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:

visual picture prompts for creative writing

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Tree House Island

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Kayak Trip Into The Unknown

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Lake Swing Jump

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Dog In Disguise

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Hot Air Balloon Convoy

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Waterfall Adventurer

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Monkey Guard

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

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?

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Boy’s Jungle Hut

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Awkward Swamp Bird

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Ancient Ruins

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Underwater Adventure

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Strange Little House

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Cow Close Up

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

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

visual picture prompts for creative writing

100 Picture Writing Prompts to Spark Your Creativity

visual picture prompts for creative writing

What is picture prompt writing?

100 pictures prompts for creative writing

Nature and Landscapes

Urban settings, fantasy and sci-fi, everyday life and emotions, mystery and intrigue.

Ever find yourself staring at a blank page, the cursor blinking mockingly as your creativity takes an unexpected hiatus? I get it, we've all been there. But what if I told you there's a magical portal to a realm of inspiration, where a single image can set your imagination ablaze? Intrigued? I know I was when I stumbled upon the transformative power of picture writing prompts. 'Can a simple picture really unlock a floodgate of ideas?' you might wonder. The answer? A resounding yes! Join me on a journey through 100 captivating visuals that will not only jumpstart your writing but might just redefine your creative process altogether. Let's embark on a quest to turn images into stories, one prompt at a time.


If you're new to the concept of picture prompts, they serve as a unique form of writing stimuli employing images to initiate storytelling.

Students are tasked with crafting a narrative, utilizing the image either as the backdrop for their tale or as a creative springboard. The advantage of these visual prompts lies in their ability to provide a solid starting point for students. Not only does this method offer guidance, but it also fosters the use of vivid adjectives and the construction of more intricate sentences.

While students often require more direction than a generic "write about this," bombarding them with excessive details can be overwhelming. Picture prompts strike a balance, offering just enough information to serve as a stress-free launchpad. Subsequently, students can weave their own narratives.

Although not indispensable for every writing exercise, picture prompts inject an element of enjoyment and simplicity into the process, igniting creativity and prompting students to think (and write!) beyond conventional boundaries.

100 picture prompts for creative writing

  • A serene sunrise over a mountain range.
  • An ancient, mystical forest with towering trees.
  • A secluded beach at sunset, waves gently kissing the shore.
  • A vibrant, otherworldly waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation.
  • A desert oasis with a lone camel resting in the shade.
  • A snowy wilderness with footprints leading into the unknown.
  • A vast field of wildflowers stretching to the horizon.
  • A moonlit night over a calm lake, reflecting the stars.
  • A city skyline viewed from a rooftop during a thunderstorm.
  • A meandering river through a peaceful countryside.
  • A group of hot air balloons floating over rolling hills.
  • A tropical rainforest with colorful birds and exotic flowers.
  • A thunderstruck landscape with a rainbow breaking through the clouds.
  • A serene pond surrounded by weeping willows.
  • A canyon bathed in the warm hues of a setting sun.
  • A mysterious cave entrance with a soft glow emanating from within.
  • A futuristic city on another planet, with alien architecture.
  • A serene Japanese garden with a stone bridge over a koi pond.
  • A dense fog rolling over a tranquil lake.
  • A field of sunflowers stretching towards the sun.
  • A bustling marketplace with diverse characters and colors.
  • An abandoned amusement park with rusted rides.
  • A futuristic cityscape with hovering vehicles.
  • A hidden alleyway filled with street art.
  • A crowded subway station during rush hour.
  • An old bookstore with dusty shelves and hidden corners.
  • A rooftop garden overlooking a city skyline.
  • An antique clock tower in the heart of the city.
  • A vibrant street festival with food stalls and performers.
  • A quirky, colorful neighborhood cafe.
  • A neon-lit cyberpunk street with holographic advertisements.
  • A dilapidated industrial district with overgrown vegetation.
  • A retro diner with checkered floors and red vinyl seats.
  • A contemporary art gallery with avant-garde installations.
  • A bustling harbor with ships coming and going.
  • A street musician performing in a busy city square.
  • A skyscraper under construction with cranes in action.
  • A trendy coworking space with people collaborating.
  • A vintage cinema with a marquee displaying classic films.
  • A serene canal in a European city with historic architecture.
  • An alien landscape with strange flora and fauna.
  • A magical door hidden in a tree, leading to another realm.
  • A steampunk-style airship soaring through the clouds.
  • A dragon's lair filled with treasures and mysteries.
  • A time-traveling device with intricate dials and buttons.
  • A futuristic space station with advanced technology.
  • A hidden portal in an ordinary-looking wardrobe.
  • A wizard's library filled with enchanted books.
  • A floating island in the sky with gravity-defying landscapes.
  • An underwater city inhabited by merfolk.
  • A mechanical golem standing guard in an ancient city.
  • A celestial observatory on a distant planet.
  • A futuristic cityscape with flying cars and neon lights.
  • A mystical potion laboratory with bubbling concoctions.
  • A parallel dimension where gravity works differently.
  • A cyberspace landscape with digital structures.
  • A mythical creature market with vendors selling magical items.
  • A space explorer's ship floating in the vastness of space.
  • A cosmic library containing knowledge from across the universe.
  • An enchanted forest with talking animals and sentient plants.
  • A child's messy room with toys scattered about.
  • A moment of joy captured in a family photo.
  • An old suitcase filled with travel memorabilia.
  • A rainy day seen through a window with raindrops.
  • A pair of hands holding a handwritten love letter.
  • A solitary figure in a quiet library reading a book.
  • A crowded cafe with people engrossed in their laptops.
  • A broken mirror reflecting fragmented images.
  • A person staring out of a window lost in thought.
  • A worn-out pair of shoes with stories to tell.
  • A kitchen filled with the aroma of baking cookies.
  • A cozy fireplace in a cabin with snow falling outside.
  • A child's drawing taped to a refrigerator door.
  • A musician composing a song in a cluttered studio.
  • A couple dancing under a starlit sky.
  • A gardener tending to a vibrant flower bed.
  • A student studying in a sunlit library.
  • A group of friends sharing laughter around a bonfire.
  • An artist's studio with canvases and paintbrushes.
  • A parent teaching a child to ride a bike in a quiet neighborhood.
  • A vintage key with an ornate design.
  • A torn map with cryptic markings.
  • A closed book with a mysterious symbol on the cover.
  • A locked door with light seeping through the keyhole.
  • A secret passage hidden behind a bookshelf.
  • A message in a bottle washed ashore.
  • A vintage magnifying glass on a detective's desk.
  • A dusty attic with forgotten artifacts.
  • A moonlit graveyard with ancient tombstones.
  • A dimly lit room with a single flickering candle.
  • A mysterious coded message written on an old parchment.
  • A hidden treasure chest buried in the sand.
  • A detective examining a crime scene with clues scattered.
  • A conspiracy board with interconnected strings and notes.
  • A mysterious silhouette in a foggy alley.
  • A locked briefcase with unknown contents.
  • A secret society meeting in an underground chamber.
  • A haunted mansion with creaking doors and shadows.
  • A mysterious figure in a dark cloak leaving a cryptic note.
  • A forgotten diary with entries hinting at a hidden secret.

Still wondering how a simple image can be the key to unlocking a hundred different stories? Curiosity sparked? That's the magic of our 100 Picture Writing Prompts journey. Delve into landscapes that stir your imagination, explore urban settings bustling with stories, and venture into the realms of fantasy and sci-fi. Witness the beauty of everyday life and the emotions it evokes, or unravel mysteries that await your keen detective eye. Picture prompts transcend words, sparking creativity beyond limits. So, are you ready to transform a single frame into a hundred tales? Join me on this visual odyssey, where every prompt is a portal to endless possibilities, inviting you to weave your own narrative magic.

biology ia topics

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!

Picture Writing Prompts

100+ prompts for grades 1-6.

visual picture prompts for creative writing

Creative writing can be challenging to teach or introduce to children, but we’re here to help! Encouraging daily writing will unlock their creativity, improve their writing skills, and self-expression.

Whether you’re a parent looking for story ideas to share with your child, a teacher making fun lesson plans, or a homeschooler preparing for a new school year, our picture prompts have been created to get your child’s mind alive and kicking!

These visual writing prompts include ideas for short stories, descriptive writing, journal prompts, and much more! Aimed at young writers aged 6 to 12, this content is the perfect way to spark a love for writing in your child.

Two children, writing together.

Access our free printable picture writing prompts here:

  • Grade 1 Picture Writing Prompts
  • Grade 2 Picture Writing Prompts
  • Grade 3 Picture Writing Prompts
  • Grade 4 Picture Writing Prompts
  • Grade 5 Picture Writing Prompts
  • Grade 6 Picture Writing Prompts

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visual picture prompts for creative writing

20 Picture-Based Writing Prompts and Ideas for Kids

female student using a picture writing prompt

A picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s certainly the case with visual writing prompts! 

Be it a simple object or a fantastical scene, a picture is all it takes to spark a child’s imagination. 

That’s why I love picture writing prompts for kids who are learning how to write. 

They help alleviate the burden of not knowing where to start while providing creative flexibility for students to pen their own stories.

I especially like to use picture prompts for teaching descriptive writing . They encourage children to focus, study, and evaluate an image with all its colors and scenery, which naturally sparks more descriptive text .  

Creative Writing Exercises

get this picture prompt printable for free!

What is picture prompt writing.

If you’re unfamiliar with picture prompts, they are a type of writing prompt that uses an image to start a story. 

Students then create a story, using the picture as either the setting or simply a jumping off point. 

The benefit of visual writing prompts is that it gives students a place to start. Not only that, it encourages them to use more adjectives and write in more detailed sentences.

Most students need some guidance beyond “write about this.” The again, too many details can be overwhelming. 

Picture prompts give kids just enough information to act as a stress-free starting point, and from there, they can tell their own stories.

They aren’t necessary for every writing activity, but they’re a fun and simple way to spark creativity—and they often prompt students to think (and write!) outside the box.  

How to Use Picture Writing Prompts

Students who struggle to write may naturally gravitate towards picture prompts. 

In fact, picture writing for kids is particularly helpful for reluctant writers who struggle with expressing themselves in words.

The prompts can be paired with any number of writing activities, from freewriting to journal writing to creative writing.

Choosing pictures for kids to write about will largely depend on the skill level and age of your student.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to use the most interesting pictures for writing prompts you can find.

As kids get older, their writing world expands, so their prompts can be more in-depth and structured.

You can even try using two unrelated prompts and have your students develop a story that incorporates both perspectives.

Here are a few more specific ways to use visual writing prompts:

1. Choose pictures that aren’t so clear-cut. Ambiguous images lead to more brainstorming, providing plenty of room for interpretation and creativity.

2. Give students ample time to look at and study the image. 

3. Give them 5-10 minutes to write everything they can think about when they look at the picture. 

4. Use the 5 Ws to start the conversation. This encourages young writers to look closely for clues about a possible storyline.

  • What? What’s going on in the image?
  • Where? Where is it taking place?
  • Who? Who or what is the subject of the scene?
  • Why? What caused the scene in the image? Why did it happen?
  • When? What happened before the picture? What happens after?

5. You can also give them a series of pictures for story writing . This is a great option for older elementary up to middle school students. 

As you can see, picture prompts are pretty open-ended. You can tweak and use them whichever way works best for your student. 

Want to try using picture prompts?

We’ve provided 20 creative, engaging visual prompts below.

Have fun! 

For more writing fun, try these fall-themed prompts , winter writing prompts , or one-sentence story starters .

20 Picture Writing Prompts for Kids

The icebreaker.

ice breaker picture prompt

  • Something mysterious caused the cracking.…
  • What do you think is underneath this sheet of ice?
  • How far will the cracks spread? What will happen?

The Gardener and the Magical Plant 

the magic plant picture prompt

  • It’s not an ordinary seed sprouting…
  • What do you think will grow?
  • Who is planting the seedling?

Adventures Of The Dive Club

adventures in the ocean picture prompt

  • Did they find treasure under the sea?
  • What did they capture on camera?
  • Where in the world are they? 

The Lion and the Lost Lambs

the lion and the lamb picture prompt

  • It was an unlikely friendship…
  • Do the lambs feel safe with the lion?
  • What is the lion thinking?

Runaway Cow

curious cow picture prompt

  • Why is the cow so far away from the rest of the herd?
  • What is the cow looking at?
  • What’s going through her mind?

Sunset at the Meadow

visual picture prompts for creative writing

  • The tire swing was still swaying as they left…
  • Who was playing here?
  • Where are the birds going?

A Kitty of a Different Kind

a special kitty picture prompt

  • Why does the cat have different eye colors?
  • It’s not just his eyes that made him different…
  • What is the cat’s name?

The Missing Plane

the missing plane visual writing prompt

  • Where is the plane going?
  • How did it get lost? 
  • What happens next?

Best Friends in a Snowstorm

two birds in a snowstorm picture prompt

  • What are their names?
  • How did they become friends?
  • What are they talking about?

The Icky Sticky Ice Cream Cone

the icky sticky ice cream cone picture prompt

  • The person who dropped this ice cream was startled…
  • What made them drop their ice cream?
  • Describe the scene, the emotions, etc.

A Bug’s Life

bug's life picture prompt

  • What is the bug doing?
  • What is his name?
  • His friends made fun of him because he was green…

The Secret Spy Frog

the secret spy frog picture prompt

  • What or who is the frog watching?
  • Why is the frog hiding?
  • What is his secret mission?

The Surprise of a Lifetime

the surprise of a lifetime picture prompt

  • What is this little boy’s story?
  • What or who surprised him?

The Hidden House in the Woods

hidden house in the woods picture prompt

  • There is something very special about this house…
  • Could this be the house everyone in the village spoke of?
  • Who lives there?

Beneath the Waves

beneath the waves picture prompt

  • Who took this photo?
  • Where are all the fish going?
  • Are they running away from someone/something?

The Boy and the Giant Roly-Poly Pumpkin

the giant mystery pumpkin picture prompt

  • It was no ordinary pumpkin…
  • What’s inside the pumpkin?
  • What is the boy going to do with it?

The “Cat-tastrophe” Shower

the cat who didn't want to shower picture prompt

  • The cat made such a mess…what happened?
  • What is the cat thinking?
  • What does he do after getting bathed?

World-Famous PupStar

the world famous puppy picture prompt

  • What is the dog’s name?
  • What made this dog famous?
  • Why is he taking the photo?

The Sinking House

the sinking house picture prompt

  • What do you think caused the house to sink?
  • Where are the people who lived in the house? Are they still there?
  • Use your imagination!

The Dinosaurs and the Broccoli Forest

dinosaurs in a broccoli forest picture prompt

  • Why are these dinos eating broccoli? 
  • Where are all the other dinosaurs?
  • Are there other animals in the forest?

Download and Print FREE Picture Prompts (PDF)

No matter what grade your kids are in, they will love these fun (and often funny!) elementary picture writing prompts.  

The concepts are suitable for a wide age range and can be used by first graders all the way up to middle school students.

Now when you hear the dreaded, “ I have nothing to write about! ” just pull out these picture prompts, provide pencil and paper, and let your young writers create!

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Dystopian Creative Writing Picture Prompts for Narrative and Descriptive Writing

Dystopian Creative Writing Picture Prompts for Narrative and Descriptive Writing

Subject: English

Age range: 11-14

Resource type: Worksheet/Activity

Miss_literature's Shop

Last updated

25 May 2024

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visual picture prompts for creative writing

Enhance your students’ writing skills with these 44 dystopian-themed picture prompts. Explore the bleak and unsettling world of dystopian literature through these captivating prompts, perfect for narrative or descriptive writing exercises. Each polaroid-style prompt features a unique dystopian image, ideal for one-off lessons, cover work, extension tasks, writing challenges, filler activities, homework assignments, or independent writing activities.

Each prompt includes a handout for students to write their pieces.

Simply print, cut out, and laminate the prompts for reuse in your classroom.

The download includes: ★ 44 Polaroid-style picture prompts. ★ A handout for each prompt for students to write their pieces.

Unleash your students’ creativity and challenge their imagination with these thought-provoking prompts. Encourage them to explore the bleak and unsettling aspects of dystopian literature while improving their writing skills and descriptive language.

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Picture Prompts

Accessible, image-driven prompts that invite a variety of kinds of writing., introduction to ‘picture prompts’.

Want to learn more about this feature? Watch this short introduction video on using Picture Prompts to strengthen literacy skills and give students a voice.

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visual picture prompts for creative writing


visual picture prompts for creative writing

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