31+ Notes Re: Doing Art Every Day for 31 Days

"After all, one knows
one's weak points so well,
that it's rather bewildering
to have the critics
overlook them
and invent others."
Edith Wharton

186 3x3" inked cards by Tammy Garcia, https://daisyyellowart.com

If you're a long-time reader [thank you 🦋 for that] you already know that I work in my own little world called Tammyland. I go upstairs to my art desk and my shoulders instantly relax. I watch the squirrels scurrying up tree branches, defying my understanding of gravity. And I draw or paint or collage or whatever strikes my mood as a good idea on that particular day.

Nothing beats an obsessive dive 
into a daily art challenge.

I don't do this every month - if I did I would truly do nothing else. My favorite two global art challenges span 3/12 of my year. That keeps ideas flowing throughout the entire calendar. 
CliffsNotes Version: In June + July I facilitate + participate in Index-Card-a-Day; in October I participate in Inktober.

186 3x3" inked cards by Tammy Garcia, https://daisyyellowart.com

But what do I know about daily creative challenges? turns out, I know A lot!

I've done ICAD for 7 years and Inktober for 4 years. And before that? More challenges. And a 365-challenge. Attempted NaNoWriMo twice. And two Novembers in a row, two concurrent 30-day art challenges. I'm kind of into this whole daily-art-thing. 

So this is my official wrap-up, my lessons learned from creating a series of 6 cards per day every day for a month. 

The value of a small daily art project by Tammy Garcia, https://daisyyellowart.com

When a heck of a lot of creative people all over the world are making and sharing creative things, there's a domino effect. Yummy art takes over my insta-feed and that global energy encourages|motivates|energizes me to create more stuff. 

But my FAVORITE THING about a super intense daily art challenge is to try things that are outside my typical "style" or frame of reference. It's especially engaging to see artists taking risks and sharing stuff that is OUTSIDE their norm or traditional style.

186 3x3" inked cards by Tammy Garcia, https://daisyyellowart.com

Each day I pulled out my stash of ink [I've got two types, Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay india inks and J. Herbin fountain pen inks], plus mark-making stuff like pencils, brushes, dip pens, chop sticks etc. and got to work. 

186 3x3" inked cards by Tammy Garcia, https://daisyyellowart.com

31+ notes about Creating 186 Inked Cards

1. Each day is a tiny victory; over the years I have built confidence by DOING. You learn how to do art every day by DOING art every day. What's that saying -- build your wings on the way down? I am optimistic that I CAN do this because I have DONE this. There's no magic formula. 

2. A daily challenge forces me to make the most of my time because I've got to make it feasible, possible + doable. I cannot set out to do a challenge that will take 2 hours per day. It won't happen. 

3. Next time I'll cut all of the cards in advance. I don't like having to go back to paper-cutting when I'm in creative mode. I don't like cutting paper. But it's part of the process.

4. It's good to invest so much time in one medium. I sometimes gripe at myself for working in too many mediums, because progress is slower. Everything evolves sideways. I need to be OK with that. 

5. I love that today's series doesn't have to "go" or "match" or "jive" with yesterday's series!  

6. Art is a great escape from stress. We are in college-application-land in our house and man, is that stressful in 1,000 ways. 

7. Abstract work is either not for perfectionists or perfect for perfectionists! 

8. Some series flowed more intuitively than others. Some cards felt clunky. Others felt like good friends. 

186 3x3" inked cards by Tammy Garcia, https://daisyyellowart.com

9. I enjoy drawing abstract shapes. My mind just lets go and my pen goes for a ride.

10. My lines are more interesting when I take a deep breath and relax my shoulders before I start. 

11. Fall is busier than summer. So doing a fall challenge means NOT doing other kinds of art. During a summer challenge {aka ICAD}, I can still have the bandwidth to work in my journal, etc.

12. The more I play with ink, the more I "get" it. Ink is a fascinating thing. It's not acrylics, not gouache, not watercolor. And different inks are... well... different. 

13. I did some super strange illustrations; when I posted on ig/fb, I asked folks what they could see in the shapes. So where I saw a chipmunk, cave or a KitchenAid Blender, others saw a camera or suitcase. 🐿💜✂️✳️🍄🚧✈️📽⛺️🌳🔌🌈☮️⛓✅🔭🛒❣️ It's fun to hear what other people SEE in your work. 

14. Working in two short sessions per day has a lot of potential. I could play with layering by allowing stuff to dry before moving forward. 

Inked card by Tammy Garcia, https://daisyyellowart.com.

15. Photographing my art allows me to see it through a different "frame" and distance myself from the work. 

16. To evolve my process; I go on tangents. Otherwise I would get bored. 

17. I'm fairly particular about green ink. I do not adore any of my green inks. 

18. I overworked some sets and underworked others. 

19. Love the vibe of having LOTS of art in different stages of completion. 

20. Ideas drive ideas. I started with a batch of watercolor paper cut into 3x3" cards plus a bunch of ink. One thing leads to another and another and after about 10 days I was building multiple series simultaneously. 

21. The starting point each day does not matter. 

Inked cards by Tammy Garcia, https://daisyyellowart.com

22. My drawing mood is different than my painting mood. 

23. I named each set, that turned out to be part of the fun.

24. A daily art challenge is a fabulous way to trick yourself into doing more art. I did 10x more art in Inktober than I would have done otherwise!!! 

25. Simple ideas can develop into really wild designs. 

26. With daily challenges, I'm actively engaged in documenting the work day-to-day and posting and staying accountable to my commitment. So it's not a light decision to just jump into a daily challenge. 

27. Be super careful where you put the bottle of ink [or jar of water] when you are working. Watch those elbows. See next point.

28. There is a lesson that I have to learn over and over again: let the ink dry. Or the paint. Like so much in life, your art will look different in the morning or after a chance to refresh your mind. Then make a decision. I pulled one full set out of the trash and altered it after I thought I'd ruined it the day before with a white ink spill. That was set No. 14: the accidental set

29. I like making art that's happy + visually interesting.

30. I didn't sweat every single card like it had to be perfect. 

31. Switching the dimensions of your substrate allows you to "see" it differently. I usually work on rectangular paper, whether index cards or journal pages. So I chose to work with square format because I wanted a different experience this month. 

32. Approaching 6 blank white cards each day got easier and easier as the month went on.

Inked cards by Tammy Garcia, https://daisyyellowart.com

The Daisy Yellow zine: writings about the creative process embellished with colorful artwork!

PS. I never fail to underestimate what it takes to do the logistics {beyond the art}: photographing, editing, documenting {series number, date, story of that set, title}, blogging {in timely fashion}, plus keeping track of what I've posted to instagram + FB.

So I am really proud of myself because I blogged the entire series! 

by the way... what on earth is ICAD?

ICAD is my annual festival of index cards, a 61-day creative challenge known as Index-Card-a-Day. The 8th annual challenge runs June 1 - July 31, 2018. The fun begins in mid-May with warm-ups and general exhilaration about office supplies. Get details about the Index-Card-a-Day Challenge including a FAQ, tutorials, zines & oh so much more.