Journeys are a great source of inspiration for art, design and media students.


Journeys are a really interesting basis for creative projects. Students can explore all sorts of aspects of movement, time, place, transport, narrative, stories and experiences.

Journeys can be as small as a few steps between places, or trips around the world. They can take the space of a few seconds or months and years.

The media can be static or moving, a single image or multiple. They can include images, objects and words. So there should be something for everyone.

Journey project ideas

Students just starting an art, design or media course or lower level learners may need some constraints on what the journey is, for example:

  • Actually taking a field trip to a location and recording the experience and using the records of photographs, objects and notes to create the work itself.
  • Responding to a specific client needs that requires the illustration of a specific journey, i.e. public transport brief.
  • Using a holiday experience as a basis for homework done between terms.
  • An actual short story of a journey that an author has written (such as Jonathan Livingston Seagull).


Here are some examples of a journey project

These ideas could be used as different exercises in the journey. Each was used as the basis for a lessons to build up skills.

Working on different surfaces

Its a great idea to use a sketchbook that relates to journeys such as a map or guide to experiment on. This gives depth to experiments and forces students to work with the background and capitalise on its textures and images. Its best to use a book that doesn’t have glossy pages, or media wont adhere to the pages. Older books with less obvious connections are also useful.

Layout and image shapes

A lesson on trying different shapes of borders and layouts on a page, using different media.

Speech bubbles lesson

Speech bubbles can act as voices, sounds or the narrator. There are many ways these can be presented and each gives the words a different meaning.

Using photography and mixed media

Taking a series of photos of a journey and then exploring opportunities for manipulating them through mixed media.


Images can be cut up and organised together to show movement or different perspectives of the narrative.

Replacing parts of an image

Characters, backgrounds or objects can be replaced in images to make them relate more closely to the narrative.

Drawing parts of images

Views through windows or aspects of the photos can be drawn.

Adding maps or graphics to images

Images can be contextualised through graphics or drawings around them, such as the lines of a map here.

Drawings scenes on surfaces

Just drawings images from photographs on surfaces gives a very interesting texture.

Combining lines in an image

Images can be distorted through carrying on the line into another image.

Layering line drawing

Whether it is traced or done freehand, layering lines is a great way of demonstrating the dynamism in an image.

Connecting images

How images are connected can really add to them. For example, these are connected through string. Other media such as wires, lines, objects would work well.

Drawings and maps

Using layout, drawings and maps is a great way to contextualise part of the narrative.

Only drawing parts of an image

Its easy to think that the whole image has to be filled, but leaving things out can be equally as interesting, focusing attention on specific aspects.

Combining different images

A flight experience can be portrayed by different relevant images layered together such as sounds, thoughts, experiences and views.

The final paintings

These are A1 scape acrylic paintings the student worked on. The interesting aspect is that many details are deliberately left out and the spaces and places become a metaphor for anywhere. The student was curious as to how all airports just looked like each other and instead of feeling like they were in somewhere new, they felt they could be anywhere.

Daniel Freaker Daniel Freaker Educational Consultant, Painter, Writer, Designer