and will be UPDATED by APRIL 2016.

The 6th annual challenge starts June 1, 2016.
\\\stuff to do while you are waiting///
Do the Prompt60 Prompts.

The Official List of Frequently Asked Questions
The 2016 Index-Card-a-Day Challenge
June 1 to July 31, 2016

The challenge is about the DOING and not the
It is the process of creating each day that matters.

An annual creative challenge
Facilitated by Daisy Yellow
Buy a pack of index cards
♥ draw ♥ doodle ♥ write ♥ collage ♥
♥ paint ♥ haiku ♥ stamp ♥ stitch ♥
61 DAYS : 61 CARDS

and will be UPDATED in APRIL 2016.

What on earth is ICAD?

Starting June 1, Create something on a 3x5" index card every day for 61 days. On the back of each card, add a number to keep track of your progress. ICAD #1, #2, etc. Whatever day you start, it is your own official ICAD #1. Motto: You do not need to catch up, just start.

Do we have to use index cards?

YES. Simple materials push you to think in new ways. Index cards are without a doubt "not" the perfect substrate. But they are abundant, so we do not hesitate to pitch them when the work turns into a catastrophe!

Maximum size = 4" x 6"

What do we do with our index cards?

This is up to you. Anything goes. Make flash cards to teach yourself Russian. Paint with acrylic paints. Drip india ink. Dye with espresso. Practice origami folds. Stitch. Sketch. Doodle. Stamp. Collage. Cut up weave the pieces back together. Write Haiku poems. Document your paint collection. 

How can I participate?
  1. Bookmark the {new} ICAD Index. The index will be updated with links to prompts & challenge info.
  2. Share your cards in the ICAD Facebook Group
    A fresh group will open in May 2016.
  3. Hashtag #icad2016
  4. Start scheming and brainstorming about what you can do with an index card!
  5. Get an 2015 ICAD badge. [new badges April 2016]
  6. Get the DY blog feed in your favorite feed reader or via email.
  7. Yes, there's an Index-Card-a-Day: Kid Version. My daughters do the challenge each year, in their own way. Get the kids involved!
Are there prompts?

There are THEMES and PROMPTS. Prompts are 100% optionalAbout half of the participants typically follow the prompts. Prompts are posted at Daisy Yellow each Friday during the challenge. More about the use of prompts and constraints in ICAD.

How much does it cost?

ICAD is FREE. If you find value in the content, prompts, tutorials & challenges at Daisy Yellow, please contribute to the Tip Jar. Any amount is appreciated! Contributions are like a little pat on the back, and help support the endeavors here at Daisy Yellow. The Tip Jar is located on the top right side of the blog. Thanks!!!

How Do I Register?

There's no registration required! 

What is the history of the index-card-a-day challenge?

I started index-card-a-day in 2011 on a whim. I was sitting in a cafe and wanted to draw. I happened to have a stack of index cards in the pocket of my backpack and drew some mandalas. I thought that it might be fun to draw a bunch of cards over the course of the summer.  Trivia: In 2011 ICAD was 92 days! In 2012 - 2015 the challenge was 61 days.

Help! I need something to do as I count down the days until ICAD starts again!

While you are waiting, start the Prompt60 Prompts.

Please respect the work that I have put into developing the challenge, supporting materials & prompts. Do not copy/paste the prompts or Tammy's index cards to your blog or website or distribute in paper or electronic format without permission. The challenge is a labor of love but the content and copyright are that of Daisy Yellow.

Design, content and images © 2011-2016 Tammy Garcia.

What Can You Do With an Index Card?

What can you do with an index card?

  1. Design a quilt block
  2. Draw at the beach
  3. Write a list
  4. Take notes at university
  5. Draw a repeating linear pattern
  6. Create textures with acrylic paints
  7. Make a collage
  8. Stamp with alphabet stamps
  9. Write a haiku
  10. Attach to your journal page
  11. Test your inks
  12. Do a blind contour drawing of your face
  13. Make a map of an imaginary island
  14. Add as a tip-on to your art journal
  15. Draw a mandala
  16. Draw patterns from curtains or wallpaper
  17. Cut into a stencil or mask
  18. Draw teeny tiny designs
  19. Paint a rainbow
  20. Stitch or embroider around the edges
  21. Draw little people
  22. Write a word on the front and the definition and part of speech on the back. Expand your vocabulary.
  23. Design a word search or mini-crossword puzzle
  24. Create a monogram or a logo
  25. Sketch a building facade
  26. Practice hand-lettering skills by writing quotes
  27. Stamp with bubble wrap & acrylics
  28. Write a story
  29. Plan a workshop or a tea party
  30. Paint with watercolor over a wax resist
  31. Write the alphabet in block letters
  32. Cut up two cards and weave back together
  33. Fold into an origami crane
  34. Cover with strips of washi tape
  35. Fold it into a teeny tiny envelope
  36. Add a tiny pocket
  37. Poke holes and practice embroidery stitches
  38. Document moments of your vacation
  39. Glamorize your word-of-the-year
  40. Sketch whimsical faerie faces
  41. Write the recipe for olive & rosemary mushroom quiche
  42. Marble paint
  43. Practice drawing faces
  44. Motivate yourself
  45. Invent fonts
  46. Create your company or blog logo
  47. Write a monogram
  48. Use it as a bookmark
  49. Recycle into an art journal page
  50. Do a mind map or brainstorm

Index-Card-a-Day Challenge: Kid Version!

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Index cards are absolutely perfect art materials for children. And the annual index-card-a-day challenge is kid-friendly. Pop over and skim through the FAQ to get an idea of what ICAD is all about. Since the challenge began in 2011, kids have created 1000s of index cards! My daughters have participated in their own way each year. 

Kids are welcome to participate. 

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It is the act of creating {creative thinking, creative work} that matters. So cheer on your kids, your class, your grandkids, but please relax the requirement to finish one card per day. I bet you will find that kids prefer to work on their index card art in batches or series. They get on a creative roll and just keep going. Other days, they are busy making stuff with LEGOs and don't want to stop to do art. 

Please do not make it a hard and fast requirement that kids create one card each day. 

The best thing that you can do? Be a role model. Let the kids see you in the act of creating:) Let them see you smile as you work, happy with your experiments and happy with your cards. Art is joy!

Art materials for Index-Card-a-Day

  1. Stacks of index cards. Mix-it-up with lined, unlined, gridded, neon, dividers, etc. 
  2. Cups overflowing with markers. 
  3. Boxes of sharpened colored pencils. 
  4. Mugs of pencils. 
  5. Erasers. 
  6. Pencil sharpener. 
  7. Stapler. 
  8. Glue stick. 
  9. Tape. Washi tape. 
  10. Magazines. 
  11. Stencils, ruler, protractor. 
  12. Rubber stamps, stamping ink, alphabet stamps. 
  13. Kid scissors. 
  • Let kids have the freedom to do what they want on their cards. If they want to get messy, protect your table and the floor around the work space and provide old t-shirts. My kids started painting with craft acrylics when they were about two. 
  • Focus on the act of creating - the PROCESS - the experience - not the beauty of the FINISHED PRODUCT. 
  • Sometimes kids are hard on themselves {an errant line, an eraser mark, oh my!} so be gentle.
  • A snack and/or music can alter the mood of the day. Jelly beans go quite well with index card art. 
  • If the challenge coincides with a vacation or summer break for your family, bring along materials to draw/doodle in hotel rooms, at the beach, on a plane, etc. Many of our cards are created "on the road" each summer.
  • If the child doesn't have 61 cards at the end of July, celebrate the work no matter what! "Look at all of these cool airplane drawings! What a wide variety of colors + shapes, Jaynee!" Take a look at all of the cards on a dining table or large work surface.

Here's how my kids do the ICAD challenge.

  • A big-picture goal of creating 61 cards over the course of June & July has worked for my own kids, who have participated since the challenge began! They are now 13 and 15 and each year there's a different "twist" on their work. 
  • DD15 works on lined or gridded index cards; usually does 1-2 cards every few days. Like last year, she plans to draw doodles, patterns or riddles.
  • DD13 plans to do a third series of hand-drawn girls on half-sized index cards. This year, she wants to do 61 x 2 = 122 half cards. She likes to work on a bunch each day, often finishing before the end of the challenge because she gets immersed in her series.
  • My daughters have lots of markers and colored pencils and it just sort of happens - we'll be drawing or laughing about our cards or comparing notes on what number we are at. 
  • I post my kids' cards to my blog in batches, rather than one-per-day. It's really difficult to keep up with photographing and posting all of them each day.

Learn more about inspiring {and eroding} creativity.

Project-Based Homeschooling. Wildly informative array of reasources for inspiring creative & independent thinking.

Marvin Vartel's Ways Not to Kill Classroom Creativity highlights the role of the teacher in building or eroding creativity, including showing examples instead of defining problems. He notes that "image flooding" or showing too many examples can be intimidating and suggestive, creating slicker work but weaker creative thinking skills and unique ideas.

Leslie Owen Wilson describes 7 ways that we impact creativity in On Killing Creativity in Children, including surveillance, evaluation, rewards, competition, control, restricting choice and pressured expectations. 

About those Creative Prompts

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We each have a stack of cards or paper or a journal and must make a choice each day as to what on earth to do! Or to do anything at all. The reality is that it is all about choices. 

That's where prompts enter the picture! Prompts can be used literally, figuratively, specifically, sarcastically, intelligently, paradoxically, ridiculously, logically, magically or any other adverbish manner. Try using the prompt in another language, or related words, or  translating to Greek mythological figures. 

Let's face it. Some people are promptish people and some are not!

  • Some like topical prompts {subjects, focus}.
  • Some like thematic prompts {themes, mediums, materials, techniques, over-arching ideas}.
  • Some don't like prompts.
  • Some feel constrained by a prompt.
  • Some feel like a prompt gives them a goal.
  • Some use a prompt as a creative spark that leads to an idea that looks nothing like the prompt.
  • Some intertwine the prompts in a creative way.
  • Many folks ignore prompts completely. 
  • Some prefer to devise prompts for others {that's me}. 

Prompts are a smorgasbord of creative ideas. 

Do whatever you wish with the prompts. Starting points. You can take what interests you and nibble on items from your plate over the course of the week. The prompts might launch an idea for an index card or art journal page. If you are creating, that's a good thing!

What if a prompt doesn't resonate with you?

So let's take an example of a prompt that might not speak to you. Let's say the prompt is "Harry Potter" but you aren't into HP. You can use a prompt as a launching point for almost anything. Allow your mind to follow the bouncing ball {or the magic wand}. You don't need to have read Harry Potter to follow a Harry Potter prompt. Time to put on your creative thinking cap. Look at the prompt/word/phrase from different angles or perspectives. It you are stumped, look in wikipedia, a dictionary, a thesaurus, etc. for a launching point that has something to do with the prompt. For Harry Potter, look at the book cover and the blurb about the book at Goodreads or Amazon and move in the direction of magic, wizards, wands or even a big pair of geeky glasses.

Looking for more creative prompts?

I love writing prompts! There are prompts in all of the Daisy Yellow Zines. Plus the Daily Paper Prompts. There are also colorful Creative Prompt Cards to use in your art practice. 

Index-Card-a-Day Countdown Begins


Depending on your time zone, your place on the planet, the phase of the moon, the sunspot activity, your origami expertise and your mindset, Index-Card-a-Day is coming around the corner either WAY too fast or not fast enough. 

An interesting tidbit? ICAD is NOT an art challenge. And not a competition. It is a personal creative challenge to add a bit of creative work to each day and patiently see what happens. I will ask you guys about this at the end of the challenge. 

This is the key question for July 31: Do You Feel Different About Creating?

Here's your handy guide to the 2015 challenge. 

1. Read the updated ICAD FAQ {frequently asked questions}.
2. Bookmark the ICAD 2015 INDEX page. This is the page I will update with links to the prompts and other ICAD-related stuff as we move forward. Prompts will be posted on Fridays starting May 29. More and more folks are managing their ICAD participation via their phone, so I am hoping that the index page will make it easier to quickly find what you need to find. 
3. Get the blog feed to get updates in your feed reader or via email.
4. Get a new ICAD badge for your blog. 
5. Join the NEW Facebook group dedicated to the ICAD challenge. The group is for index cards {max 4x6"} created for the 2015 challenge.

ICAD: Creative Warm-Up Exercise #2


Another 100% optional warm-up exercise for the index-card-a-day challenge is about writing poems. Here's a good resource for learning more about this art form: Poetic Form: Haiku. Please forgive the typo in the graphic - make that "poems" rather than "poem" please! The warm-ups do not fall within the challenge rules - so you do not need to work on index cards and can do the warm-ups any time before the challenge starts, even DURING the challenge if you need to get your mind in the mood to create. 

Go to the ICAD home page.

ICAD: Creative Warm-Up Exercise #1


Time for the 100% Optional ICAD Warm-Up Exercises! Yes, we need to stretch, flex our muscles and get our minds open and ready for all of the index-card-a-day action. The warm-ups do not fall within the challenge rules - so you do not need to work on index cards and can do the warm-ups any time before the challenge starts, even DURING the challenge if you need to get your mind in the mood to create. 

Warm-Up #1: Pick ONE of the items a) through e) and do it before the ICAD challenge begins!

Playing games is good for all of us, no matter what age. Per the New England Journal of Medicine (June 2003), in a study of Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly, stated, "Among cognitive activities, reading, playing board games, andplaying musical instruments were associated with a lower riskof dementia."

The benefits of playing games include use of critical thinking skills, logic & reason.

Go to the ICAD home page.

Daily Paper Prompt #67: Paint-it-Black

Doodling in bold black marker in my Art Doodle Love journal... making negative space interesting.

Making gelatin prints with cut-out-petals as masks.

An art journal page from 2010 {not the best photo, sorry} where I started with black gesso and then used a technique I taught in my workshop for 21 Secrets a few years ago called Urban Layer Cake. Find the video tutorial here. My journaling is in white gelly roll.

Stitching painted papers on black paper.

Art journal collage on a background of black gesso. Black acrylics work just as well.

Acrylics and ink on an index card.


Prompt #67 is to create an art journal page or other artwork on paper where black is the predominant color or the background color.

Check out the index to all of the Daily Paper Prompts!