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An illustrated guide: 5 easy art projects to try at home

LA Johnson

Updated July 31, 2023 at 3:58 PM ET

Sarah Urist Green is on a mission to change the way we think about creativity. "Creativity is overrated," she says flatly. What she means is that you don't have to feel creative in order to make art. You don't have to think of yourself as an artist to make art. You don't need a degree or fancy materials to make art. All you need is to just do it.

(Listen to an interview with Green from NPR Life Kit at the top of the page, or find it here.)

And in her new book, You Are An Artist, she hopes to take the elements of fear and decision-making out of art-making.

"Maybe you don't know what kind of art feels good or right," Green says. "These exercises can help you figure that out."

Green has spent years working with contemporary artists to highlight their processes and work through her PBS video series, The Art Assignment. Together, the artists and curator built a workbook of art projects derived from the artists' approach to art-making. "When you read about the artist's approach, it helps you understand deeper."

Whether you have a background in art or not is not important to Green.

"Making the most of what you have and being creative with materials found anywhere."

Here are five of the projects from the book that you can do today, whether you're 9 or 90, without any expensive materials or experience:

LA Johnson / NPR

Share your creation with us by sending an email with a photo to

You Are An Artist is coming out April 14 from Penguin Random House. You can preorder it now.

The audio portion of this story was produced by Andee Tagle.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

LA Johnson is an art director and illustrator at NPR. She joined in 2014 and has a BFA from The Savannah College of Art and Design.
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