Don't underestimate the power of a simple idea

Kimberly Begeal's Sprinter Story

The reasons I participate in Creative Sprint seem to change each time. I'm a "slightly seasoned" Sprinter since I've now joined in three times. The first time, April 2016, I was intrigued by just seeing how I would respond to a daily prompt.  The second time, October 2016, was because I had so much fun being part of a creative online community. This April 2017 Sprint, I joined to challenge myself to see what I could create in the shortest amount of time each day while remaining true to how I want things to look. The next time around I am finally going to try my hardest to finish the whole 30 days.

    My favorite day for the April 2017 Sprint was Day 10, be inspired by a poem. I was vacationing that week at the beach. In typical "Me" fashion, I had been collecting (hoarding) random shells because I liked the perfection of their imperfections. I placed two of them together and it was the beginning of a dress. A few more shells and a piece of plastic garbage I caught blowing around on the sand and there appeared Annabelle Lee by Edgar Allan less than 10 minutes of work.

    The most challenging day was definitely Day 7, use something sticky to create today. I was traveling in the car for the whole day so resources were limited.  I pulled a small piece of gum out of my mouth to play with while I thought.  There in front of me was the beginning of a teeny turtle using my gum. Working very small is hard for me because of a frustrating hand tremor,  but I was in a Creative Sprint frame of mind.  This brings with it a determination that helped me through something that would usually force me to do another project.

    Participating in Creative Sprint often brings out many surprising and unexpected things.  Perfect example, I was cleaning out my desk and was going to throw away a bag of very old rubber bands.  Instead, they turned out to be the perfect medium for creating a real fast and easy face for that day's prompt.  Never underestimate the usefulness of anything when you're doing Creative Sprint!

    Something new I tried in this last Sprint that I would incorporate into future work was using multiple pieces of the same kind of item into one creation. A habit of mine is to gather quite a few pieces of a type of something that I like, so I found it very gratifying to find a use for the shells, jewelry pieces, leaves, or decorative paper clippings (to name a few) that I have stashed. It wasn't even anything intentional while I was working on things. I just happened to notice a pattern this time when I looked back over my work.

    Of course, I highly recommend joining in on Creative Sprint.  If you are new to it, my advice is to Not Overthink!  Make friends with the first ideas that pop into your brain after reading that day's prompt. Then, simplify them if necessary.  Some of my favorite creations/posts are pieces I spent the least amount of time working on!

    Since joining in on the Creative Sprint process, I notice that I have highly improved my ability to not underestimate the power of a simple idea.  Much can be done with just starting something somewhere.  From now on I will not look back at my bad habit of dropping ideas I thought unworthy.  Instead, I'm looking forward to what will happen when I just press on with determination...Thanks Creative Sprint!

Find more of Kimberly's work on Instagram.

Sign up here to join our global community.

Name *

It feels good belonging and participating in a community

Jim Johns' Sprinter Story

Deciding to do the Creative Sprint was a big decision filled with all of the emotions that I would have on the first day of school. Excitement and anxiety over the unknown. How will I do? What will the assignments be like? Will the other kids like me?! But this wasn't compulsory. I could opt out! I decided to jump in because I wanted to stretch out of my comfort zone. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I am grateful that my wife and daughter were willing to join too.

Looking back on the Sprint, it's hard to pick a favorite day out of so many memorable experiences! One day does stand out. The prompt was "create something using an old map or something that ends up looking like a map." My wife was sitting on the floor flipping through an oversized hardback atlas. She was looking for inspiration and I saw the images upside down as I was walking in front of her. The upside down image of North America and Central America looked like a ridiculous creature. That was my favorite day because I still enjoy looking at the picture I made.

The most challenging day was when we were asked to create something inspired by another Sprinter. Oh, how I struggled to choose from so many talented Sprinters! Ultimately, I chose my daughter's Sprint pieces and tried to do something like her. It was late and trying to make an image of a bird using Elmer's glue was frustrating and humbling. It was so tempting to hold it back, or keep working on it until I liked it more. Reluctantly, I posted it and went off to bed. That is the beauty of the Sprint, and something first time Sprinters should know: The prompts and opportunities to create are there every day. Make the most of the day, take the prompt and create!

As the Sprint continued, I was surprised how quickly I felt supported by the online community of Creative Sprinters! It doesn't matter if it's being accepted at school or Creative Sprinters from around the world, it feels good belonging and participating in a community.

Looking ahead I want to continue working with prompts because they offer me a much needed daily practice and without the self-sabotaging expectation to create the coolest thing. Letting go of high expectations was liberating and allowed me to approach the Sprint with a sense of play.

The Creative Sprint was such a rewarding experience because it changed the way I view myself and my ability to create. It feels like I was able to make use of potential that was waiting to be tapped.

Find more of John's work on Instagram.

Sign up here to join our global community.

Name *

Always looking for potential projects

Rosanne Hansen's Sprint Story.

In December 2015, I discovered 365: A Daily Creativity Journal: Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life! by Noah Scalin. It is filled with daily prompts to help guide your artistic journey. I thought to myself, ‘you could do this; make art every day for a year.’ 

After completing my first Daily Creativity challenge in January 2017, Creative Sprint has given me guidance to continue my creative journey.

My favorite day of this Creative Sprint was Day 20: Make 5 of the same object and leave them behind for others to find. I really liked this challenge because it was an easy way to share my art with multiple people. I hid small origami balls around the school I work at and a few other places in town. It was fun to go back later and see which balls other people found.

My most challenging day was Day 28: Collaborate with a fellow Creative Sprinter. I was going to be out all day dress shopping, so I decided to collaborate with friends instead. We ended up making a zoo out of straw wrappers at lunch. The creation part also ended up being a challenge as straw wrappers are hard to work with when you have a limited supply.

The most surprising thing that happened this month was that I only kept five of the projects for myself. During my Creative Marathon up to this point, I had kept nearly every project, as I looked back over my posts from this Creative Sprint, I realized that I had disposed of, eaten, or given away most of my projects. This turned out to be a great surprise for me; less to store!

I tried a few new things this month, but the one that stands out to me the most that I would like to try again is galaxy egg painting. Rather than dying eggs the traditional way, I painted an egg using a paint brush and food coloring. I loved how it turned out and can't wait to try it again.

My biggest piece of advice is to stick with it and share your work. Making a project everyday may be frustrating at times but the compliments you get from sharing your work are worth the frustration.

The Creative Sprint experience has caused me to be more aware of my surroundings, always looking for potential projects. It has also encouraged me to branch out and try new things.

Find more of Rosanne's work on Instagram

Name *

I Need to Create. Daily. Period.

Michele Ports Gargiulo's Sprinter Story

I decided to take part in Creative Sprint when a artist and gallery owner friend posted about it. Sounded fun and I had never done anything like this before!

My favorite days were the use something sticky, spirit animal, and recreate a favorite piece of art.

The most challenging day was the collaboration day, because I worked and couldn't get to it until late, so I used my one dogs as my Sprint collaboration partner.

The most surprising thing was to be featured on the Creative Sprint Instagram. It was really motivating and exciting!!

The thing I did that I'll continue to do is draw everyday, sometimes I would be 'too busy', but I am a artist. I need to create. Daily. Period.

I would tell whoever wants to complete a Creative Sprint to dive in! Have fun! Try new things!

I think the Sprint definitely freed me up somewhat; and to get feedback (and likes!) from other artists was just the best. I feel more confident with my art- so thank you for that!

See more of Michele's work on Instagram

Make some stuff you're proud of in just one day.

Carrie Donovan's Sprinter Story

I went to a talk by Noah Scalin at Louisville, KY's AIGA chapter in March, and heard him talk about Creative Sprint and encourage people to sign up on the website. I signed up thinking that I might as well get the emails, but I really wasn't sure that I'd do it. I started with Day 1, again, not sure I'd keep up with it. But I'm so glad I did! I got hooked.

I think the first day was my favorite, because I had this rush of "oh wow! I just made something!" I didn't spend a lot of time on that day's project, and it was really satisfying. (I later ended up spending much longer on future days, which was also good, but very different).

Day 23 (Make something inspired by all the places your shoes have been) was a challenge because I got stuck. I didn't have a good idea, and I'd been a little behind on the prompts for a couple of days. Finally I ended up making some typography out of Legos (inspired by the experience of stepping on Legos—ouch!). The end result ended up being one of my favorite things I made during Creative Sprint.

I got to collaborate with Mica Scalin, who wrote the book on Creative Sprint! Honestly, I hesitated a little bit to reach out to her because she helped start the whole thing! But she responded yes! And wanted to collaborate with me on Day 28. I've learned this many times in life, and I learned it again—it never hurts to ask.

I have been wanting to experiment with motion graphics, and I was able to try a few simple projects in AfterEffects as well as some stop motion animation projects. That is something I want to keep doing. I also started a map project based on the Washington, D.C. area where I grew up (on Day 15) that I intend to continue.

As an artist or designer, you already know how to make good work.  But you might be surprised that you can actually make some stuff you're proud of in just one day.

I do continue to feel inspired and confident knowing that making things isn't as hard as I sometimes make it out to be.

Find more of her work on Instagram.

Name *

Put my imagination to such good use

I was somewhat unsure and leery of how I would complete each task when I began the Creative Sprint. I think I felt this way because the challenge required that I use a skill I normally do not use…my imagination. However, after a few days, I got into the rhythm as I became more confident in my creative-self. 

I found I could spend time with my family as well as accomplish a creative task. I told my family about the Creative Sprint challenge and asked that they give me their input on Day 18- take a walk outdoors and create something using exclusively the material you find along the way. To help get everyone’s creative juices flowing, we went for an evening walk and I explained to them what I was looking for. Everyone was excited and we collected various objects that we found interesting. After walking for an hour, we gathered around in the garage and analyzed everything that we collected. After careful thought and two hours of hard work, we had a picture. I could not have done all of this by myself, it was a team effort. We had created something wonderful and everyone was happy. We decided that we would continue to do similar fun projects together as a family. Now instead of watching a movie on Netflix, we engage in these type of activities which binds our family closer together.

Anyone who knows me can tell you that the kitchen is not my favorite place to hang out. When I opened my email on Day 20 and saw the challenge of the day, create using only materials you find in a kitchen, I was completely unsure how I was going to complete it. As I frantically searched through the refrigerator and cabinets, I received a text which contained an emoji. At that moment, I was pulling out a box of rice and setting it on the counter when it hit me! I knew what I was going to do. I decided to create emojis out of food products (e.g., rice, lentils). I would have never imagined that something like this could have been done if not for the Creative Sprint challenge.   

The Creative Sprint, awakened a part of me that I did not know I had, with so much energy and zeal. Now, when I feel tired or frustrated, I start working on a creative activity which allows me to relax. It makes feel as though a lot of weight has been taken off of me. Who knew that I could put my imagination to such good use just by giving me a daily task?

Rajsekhar Ganne

EMBA Student, Senior Manager for Capital One in Commercial Banking


Join Creative Sprint

Sign up here



Name *

Smaller and imperfect aren't bad things

At first glance, the Creative Sprint can appear like a simple art project. But after completing it for myself, I have learned, if used properly, the Creative Sprint can expand your way of thinking on a daily basis. 

On the second day of my Creative Sprint the prompt was to use your name as inspiration for what you create. This immediately inspired me because family is a topic that I am extremely passionate about. In search of what my game plan was for this particular prompt, I came across a photo of my family castle in Scotland. From the angle, I just saw my surname emerging from the lines of the castle wall. I imported this image into editing software and drew in the lines so I could share the same vision that I saw. I did not have advanced software or skilled hands to draw a straight line, so I used a ruler with a stylus. I had to set aside my perfectionist desire and accept my limitations. Once it was completed, I shared it via social media. I was so proud that several of my family members loved it; one even utilizing it as his desktop background. Two days into the Creative Sprint, and I already felt incredible!

I have learned that I actually get much better results when I throttle back on my perfectionist personality. Once that expectation has been curbed, I was able to actually produce better content when I wasn’t busy burying myself in the details. Smaller and imperfect aren’t bad things.

In my personal hobbies, this has allowed me to create better and more realistic model kits. I can now make a blemish intentional, or turn something bad into something amazing. Though, on a more humbling note, I have indeed learned to embrace limitations and accept other people’s help. It isn’t logical for me to assume I can do everything perfectly myself. Thankfully, the Creative Sprint was more than just an art project, it was an eye-opening experience. 

Stephen MacNeil

EMBA Student, Restaurant Manager

Join Creative Sprint

Sign up here

Name *

Rejuvenated an aspect of uninhibited fun

The Creative Sprint allowed me to be inventive, forced me to think differently than I’m accustomed to in my day-to-day life, and rejuvenated an aspect of uninhibited fun that I had abandoned.

Seeing everyone else’s interpretation of each day’s challenge alleviated some of the pressure I was feeling to be perfect and go above and beyond each day.  Some days it was hard to think of something.  Some days it was hard to think of something new and different.  Some days it was hard to fit it in and prioritize it.

One of my favorite Creative Sprint exercises was to recreate a famous work of art in your own way. I’m not sure how, but Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” came to mind.  I studied the painting in an art history class during undergrad and have seen it at the MOMA before.  It’s one of those paintings that’s often described as “haunting” and seems to stay ingrained in one’s memory.  I recreated the painting, with myself as the subject, in my own environment- in a “field” (i.e. grassy median) in front of my own home.  There’s more allure in the original than mine, but the contrast of rural 1940s to more urban twenty-first century is a fascinating juxtaposition.

The Creative Sprint was a terrific exercise as it allowed me to tap into my creativity and devote time to channeling creative thought at least once every day for the month.  It allowed me to let go of perfection and pre-conceived notions, and to interpret the exercises how I wanted to express them.  Once I realized that there was no right or wrong, and embraced the materials in my immediate surroundings, I was able to formulate the stories in my own way, with my own voice.  

Since the end of October, I’ve continued to look for inspiration in my environment and be encouraged by those around me.  It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and same-old same-old, and I’m trying to remember the creativity I tapped into during the Creative Sprint.  I think I learned that anyone can be and is creative; sometimes it just requires some coaxing, repetition, and attention.

Sarah Crews,

EMBA student, Finance Manager

Join Creative Sprint

Sign up here

Name *