Inspiring Creative Projects celebrating the Positives of Pandemic

Super free colouring downloads, posters for charity and general optimism in art.

We've been covering the effects of these strange new times on Digital Arts with in-depth reads on the impact on art publishing, stock imagery, signage and creative courses.

There have been all sorts of unique creative solutions that have caught our eye, too, like Animal Crossing exhibitions, virtual art shows, the need for illustration and AR in communications, taking photos of artwork at home, Coronavirus-themed picture books, CGI balcony GIFs, Slack communes and remote design tips.

With so much inspiration out there from the creative community, we thought it was high-time to round up the 16 best free colouring downloads, charitable projects and inspiring works that celebrate the pluses of people and playful lockdown life during pandemic.

Out of Line, an adult colouring book

Do good while being a perv with Out of Line, an adult colouring book to ease the boredom and horniness of lockdown.

The profits generated by this book will be donated to AKT, a charity supporting LGBTQ+ young people in the UK who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment.

We like that contributors include Simon Landrein and Marylou Faure, who we've both recently interviewed for our YouTube channel. There's also Alva Skog, Ana Curbelo, Bobbi Rae, Minet Kim, Shawna X and Jinwha Jang.

I don't know about you, but that roll call has made me horny.

19 Artists versus COVID-19

19 Artists versus COVID-19 is a limited-edition poster project by Italian paper manufacturer Fedrigoni and designer Alvaro Lopez, printed by PUSH London, in collaboration with 19 international artists including Noma Bar (above), to show support in the fight against COVID-19.

The posters are being sold online at 19vs19.co.uk for £19, with all profits going directly to NHS Charities Together. The first edition of each poster will be sold by auction at a later date. Once the lockdown is lifted and offices reopen, all 19 posters will also be exhibited in the Fedrigoni London Studio in Clerkenwell.

Erin Aniker thanks Skilled Keyworkers

A smashing series of prints, postcard, colouring in & activity sheets with all profits to 'Masks for NHS Heroes'.

Attempting to bring some much needed colour, joy and positivity to these tough times, Aniker’s vibrant and graphic artworks are perfect to stick in your window, gift to the keyworkers in your life and to send messages to loved ones on the colourful postcards. The colouring in sheet is a great form of relief from screens and stressful news updates, suitable for both adults and children. Acknowledging that the poster doesn’t include all the many skilled keyworkers we have, the artist has created an activity sheet to fill in with drawings of the keyworkers you want to thank.

NHS workers, Corner shops, Cleaners, Bus and Delivery drivers are just some of the keyworkers paid tribute to in Aniker’s poster. Filled with a bustling sense of movement, electrical wires interconnect with transport lines and wave-like patterns on food cans handled by food workers. The poster is made up of a series of frames which are teeming with patterns and a sense of movement that links them together, highlighting how vital and interconnected skilled keyworkers are to society.

Emmy Lupin's Lockdown Diary

Says Emmy, "this is a series I have been working on in lockdown, diarising the positives, mundane moments, highs and lows that are occurring right now. Illustrated in a decorative style, with pastel colours and patterns, they hope to bring a bit of joy and resonate with others who can see themselves in these moments. 

"The illustrations include depictions of scenes such as writing letters to my nan, running outside, sunbathing inside, staring out of the window at night time, longing for a hug from a family member, and reading up on how to stay calm in a crisis." 

An HeARTistic campaign to encourage organ donation

Heart at home is a project about donating and sharing #WorksofHeart to encourage people to share their organ donation decision.

There are some incredible artists and illustrators involved like All Good Co (above), both from the UK and internationally. You can see the list and artworks here: https://www.heartathome.org/portfolio-1

The campaign – run in partnership with the NHS and a collection of donation organisations - also offers support to those who’ve had or who need transplants, whom the government lists as the most vulnerable to the corona virus.

Hope & Love colouring sheets

Says Agency Rush, "we wanted to find a way to channel some Hope & Love and contribute in a creative way to bring, well, some Hope & Love to the stressful reality of living with and coping with the effects of the virus.

"Here you will find some illustrated Hope & Love – you can download to print, black & white versions to colour in and a blank template for you to create your own Hope & Love. So please download and post and send us your versions and your kids coloured in ones and we can build more and more Hope & Love. Remember to tag #hopeandlove and #agencyrush."

The banner above is by Asako Masunouchi.

The Collective Colouring Book

A 70+ page colouring book, from 30+ artists across the globe to offer some light relief to creatives during this time, featuring Genie Espinosa, Alex Gamsu Jenkins, Yeye Weller, Mr Misang and Choi Sungmin (Saio Comics, one of the Korean illustrators who contributed to this book of cute doggy art.) 

Stick Together for the NHS

Artists and creatives bring some light to these dark times with stickers, including Fergadelic, Linder Sterling, NTS, Peter Saville and Joy Division.

All profits go to the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal, raising crucial funds for all the brave NHS workers and volunteers.

Spring of Hope

For Spring of Hope, agency Fine Acts partnered with hope-based comms, a new global initiative for change-makers who want to modernise the way nonprofits talk, based on the idea that people need hope if they are to engage in social change activism or have empathy for others. 

Participating artists like Kyle Platts and Cachette Jack were asked to read for inspiration the guide on hope based communications that looks at hope as a strategy for social change. See link above for free and uplifting illustrations below and enjoy new works every week until the end of May.

Designer Laetitia Rouget supports the NHS Charities

Laetitia Rouget has designed a new range of small gifts (including plates, artworks, cards and napkins) with 50% of the sales going direct to the NHS Charities. 

Inspired by some of the themes of social distancing, and in keeping with Laetitia's playful house-style, the range includes prints and plates with slogans such as 'No Snogging Allowed' and 'Keep Your Distance'. 

Cards Against Corona

Says design duo Oimachi, "we invited 55 designers from all across the globe to visualise the pandemic in their own creative way. Think toilet paper hoarding, video-hangouts, sanitiser-madness, social distancing, quarantining, Wuhan-bats etc. 

"We are now excited to introduce Cards Against Corona to the world – a pandemic-themed card deck, co-created by 55 creatives to form a diverse and visually amazing set of playing cards. The artworks are made by illustrators, designers and artists from more than 30 countries and features both young, new talents and internationally recognised visual magicians. All profits are donated to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO."

The World's Biggest Way of saying Thank You

To raise money for NHS Charities Together, Split’s creative director, Oli Bentley, has designed and printed some giant ‘thank you’ posters.

One and a half metres wide and a metre tall, they are hand-printed on the People Powered Press, holder of the Guinness World Record as the largest letterpress printing press of its kind in the world.

You can nominate someone to receive one of these massive messages of thanks through Split’s website, and they’ll receive their print in the post. All proceeds will be donated to NHS Charities Together.

Leo G Franchi's MTV ident

Says Leo, "I was commissioned by MTV to create an ID that says thank you to the heroes of the COVID outbreak, the first responders: public health workers, doctors, nurses, administrators and hospital cleaning staff who are on the front lines of this pandemic.

"These people, often dealing with limited or rudimentary resources, are risking their own health and facing many challenges as they tirelessly work to support us. While we are staying home, they are stepping up.

"This ID is part of a series, and it’s connected with the MTV campaign #AloneTogether launched around the pandemic."

Check out Leo's recent Saul Bass-esque branding for a film festival.

Michael Young's Quarantine Characters

A fab series of quarantine-inspired characters offering some humour and lightness to ease the heavy mood from COVID-19.

Stay Sane Stay Safe

Says Studio Lennarts & de Bruijn and Overdeschreef, "People need to stay the fuck home so our lifesavers can do what they do best: saving lives.
 This means that it’s our job as visual communication gurus to inspire people to stay at bay. And that’s where you’ll come into play.

"We want you to design posters to:
1 – Keep our lifesavers sane. Think happy and uplifting.
2 – Inspire the general population to stay safely inside."

Countless posters have been uploaded so far by the likes of Kris Andrew Small and Cachete Jack.

Breda poster takeover

“Stay safe, take care of each other, keep your distance, call your grandparents”, all frequently heard comments lately. Residents of Breda in the Netherlands can now also find them on the street. The Dutch city –  with the most cases of COVID-19 in the country – has been covered in hundreds of colourful posters as a reaction to the pandemic.

In the Netherlands, people are still allowed to go outside, albeit for a short walk or groceries. By spreading these posters throughout the city, Graphic Matters hopes to enlighten those valuable moments outside with a positive message in the form of colourful posters.

The posters were made by several designers and exhibited by cultural organisation Graphic Matters, with the aim of encouraging healthcare workers, grocery workers, postal workers, garbage men and residents of Breda. Graphic Matters selected 12 posters that depict the current crisis in a striking way and had them spread across the city in 275 poster frames – almost every single frame in the city, which are normally used for advertising – basically turning them into positive public service announcements.

Related: Best new illustration prints

Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn't affect our editorial independence. Learn more.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Read Next...