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ICAD 2016

Amy Creative Journey | ICAD

ICAD cards from prior years

Note: This blog post is from 2016. Some of the logistics of doing ICAD have changed for 2017. Please visit the ICAD base (on the Daisy Yellow site) for more information and to sign up. 

Preparing for ICAD

I tacked on some info about ICAD 2016 in my notes on Episode 185, but I realize they might get lost there, buried in the show notes about teddy bears and stuffed things. And I don’t want ICAD to get lost. If by some unimaginable stretch of the imagination, you have ended up on this page and are not already a Daisy Yellow follower or already signed up for ICAD, let’s get you on board! (When you view this as a Venn diagram, the chances of that above statement being true are almost zero.)


As an outgrowth of the Daisy Yellow community, many ICAD participants are multimedia artists. These artists paint, make altered books, do collage, and use a wide range of multimedia techniques for print and background making. Following ICAD streams and browsing the group is almost always a colorful experience. As the challenge has continued to attract artists of all types in recent years, I have seen more and more people who sketch or paint in response to the challenges and prompts. Even so, I sometimes feel like I’m the only black and white ICADder out there. (I know that isn’t true!)

I often feel a bit uncertain sharing my cards in the ICAD community because my cards are rarely full-color, multimedia explorations. Sometimes, I waffle about uploading a simple sketch, a simple drawing, an ad-hoc self-portrait, or a graphic novel panel. I do know that I approach the challenge my own way. That’s just me!

Each year I’ve had some kind of plan for how I wanted to do my cards. Sometimes my plan has involved medium/materials (I want every card to include “x”), and sometimes my plan has involved content (I want every card to include “y”). Some years my plan has involved both a materials and a content constraint.

Generally, my plan has held steady through some of my early cards and then tapered off during my travel. And that’s okay! ICAD is what you make of it. There will be prompts every day. There will be challenges. But using these prompts and challenges is optional. If you want to, great. If you don’t want to, great. For some people, the challenge is simply creating 61 cards. For some people, the challenge is creating a card that somehow reflects or fills the prompt for the day. For some people, the challenge falls somewhere in between.

ICAD is flexible, and it should be your challenge. I believe, always, that the work you create should be work that matters for/to you. That is how I approach ICAD. I look forward to the challenge each year as a daily series… a challenge to create a sketch each day that somehow matters to me.

When I look back at cards from prior years, there is lots of black and white… but there is also color. One year I had a specific approach to using fabric on my cards. One year I had a specific approach to using paint on each of my cards in addition to a sketch/drawing. But always there is ink.

ICAD cards from prior years

I have not decided for sure what my plan is this year. I have been giving it a lot of thought, but I keep pushing it aside. I’ve even been warming up with a few drawings on cards… and I love the cards, the size, the sturdiness, and the boldness of black and white I see appearing.

No matter how far I stray from my sketching, I know myself when I return.

The great thing about ICAD is it doesn’t (have to) take much time, it doesn’t (have to) cost much, and it is open-ended enough to let you explore whatever you need to explore in a given year.

Basic Materials

  • Index cards (max size 4 x 6)– I prefer the 4 x 6 size myself, and I love the sturdy tabbed manila cards (also available in 3 x 5). (These are technically sold as “tabbed dividers,” but I use them as my cards.) But you can use any index card you have on hand, find at the drugstore, or like. Many multi-media artists do gesso their cards to make them sturdier and more receptive to media.
  • Pen/ink/pencil/paint/fabric/collage materials of your choice. It’s up to you!

What I Carry/Use

  • 4×6 tabbed manila index cards
  • Index card box (These plastic cases are great for storing/transporting your ICAD cards, especially if you do ICAD during periods of travel! [3×5 version])
  • Lamy Joy (or Lamy Safari) and Noodler’s fountain pens, trusty Pitt pens, mechanical pencil(s), and eraser. (Already, I am seeing that my fountain pens don’t love the surface of the manila card, but I am going to see where it leads. )
  • Stencils (I love to use alphabet stencils as part of ICAD. I need to pick up a circle one (or two).)
  • Glue stick (You never know what you might want to append or layer, including fabric!)
  • Magazine clippings
  • Source photos that I might want to sketch (I carry an assortment with me when I travel, just in case.)
  • Watercolor pencils (some years)
  • Portable watercolor set (some years)
  • Waterbrush (some years)
  • Stapler (possible; one-staple collages are very compelling!)

Jump In!

The challenge runs Jun 1-July 31, but the Facebook group is already busy and brimming with excitement.

To learn more about ICAD, visit the following:

I hope to see you there!

Note: links provided to books, tools, and other resources on the Creativity Matters Podcast website may be affiliate links for which the podcast would make a (very) small amount of money if the item was purchased. Links are provided for convenience to help you find/see/explore the books, tools, and resources I talk about. Using the library, when possible, is always my first recommendation.