The Commuter Challenge

1 April 2014

The April 2014 Challenge

by CC @ 17:00

Create an artistic rendering of the alphabet. This could be a display of a font that you create, but you needn’t limit yourself to something so utilitarian. The letters don’t need to be designed for legibility (though recognizability, at least in context, is desirable). The final result can be starkly simple or obsessively elaborate. The goal is to create a cohesive single illustration out of 26 discrete parts.

To be specific, your creation should consist of the twenty-six symbols representing each letter of the familiar Roman alphabet. The letters must appear in order, and in a single line. You can choose to use either capital letters or lowercase letters (but not both).


2 March 2014

The March 2014 Challenge

by CC @ 11:10

Write a minimum of three funny headlines for fake news stories in the style of the Onion. Do not write the full fake news stories; only submit headlines that should speak for themselves. If more explanation or further elaboration would improve the entries, sub-headlines are allowed. Accompanying photos/illustrations are also allowed but not required.

The only other constraint is that at least one of the headlines must be timely, referencing a news event current to March 2014.


2 February 2014

The February 2014 Challenge

by CC @ 20:11

For the first part, simply take a photo. Just one. The subject matter is wholly up to you, but it should be an authentic snapshot — i.e. nothing posed, or set up by you beforehand. Preferably, it should be of people and/or events not connected to you personally. Submit your photo by February 8th.

You must then compose a poem to accompany each photo submitted (including your own). There are no requirements as to the poetic forms, other than that they be at least 8 lines long. As with the photos, the subject matter of the poems is up to you, except that it should be clear how the accompanying photo serves as an illustration of the poem.


1 January 2014

The January 2014 Challenge

by CC @ 21:38

The January 2014 Commuter Challenge is to write a short story with a twist ending. The story must be between 500 and 3,000 words long.

The story and twist can take any form: it can be a Twilight Zone fantasy, a gruesome Hitchcockian theme, it can be a more homespun O. Henry-type twist, or whatever you want.


1 December 2013

The December 2013 Challenge

by CC @ 22:17

Purchase a newspaper this month. This newspaper will provide the raw material for two pieces of visual art.

The first piece is the collage. For this, you can use as much or as little of the newspaper as you choose, but you cannot introduce outside pencil, ink, or any other source of marks or coloring other than what you can gather from the newspaper.

The second piece is the transformation. For this, feel free to color and draw on a newspaper page as much as you wish. However, you cannot include material taken from other pages, nor can you introduce any other source of paper.


1 November 2013

The November 2013 Challenge

by CC @ 10:40

The November 2013 Commuter Challenge is to draw (or paint, or sculpt, or photoshop, etc) an extreme caricature a la Ralph Steadman or Gerald Scarfe. You do not have to copy the style of Steadman or Scarfe, but you should make the caricature so extreme that the subject is nearly unrecognizable (or even completely unrecognizable). The subject of the caricature should be a specific person, but it can be anyone: politician, celebrity, fictional character, historical figure, or even yourself, or a friend or family member.


2 October 2013

The October 2013 Challenge

by CC @ 00:53

The Commuter Challenge has explored poetry in many different forms over the years. One form that we’ve never looked at, however, is the sestina. Just writing a sestina is too tame a pursuit for us, though. To keep ourselves interested, an extra obstacle has been added: We will not be choosing our own end words. They will be assigned to us, using the technique of electronic bibliomancy. In other words, they will be chosen randomly.


2 September 2013

The September 2013 Challenge

by CC @ 11:20

Create and submit an optical illusion. You may submit it in any format you like (drawing, photo, video, etc). There is no extra specification/constraint. A completely original optical illusion is preferred, but derivative and/or homage submissions are also acceptable.


1 August 2013

The August 2013 Challenge

by CC @ 12:54

For this month, it’s back to the drawing board, because this month’s challenge is to produce a diagram. What kind of diagram is up to you: it could be anything from an anatomical diagram to a scatter-plot, or even some kind of gussied-up infographic. The only constraint is that it has to have a mention, or some kind of link, to a mineral (or the field of mineralogy).

There are no requirements as to how the diagram is produced. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out, or search for “diagrams” on, or for a different approach, google for “xkcd infographics”.


2 July 2013

The July 2013 Challenge

by CC @ 23:59

The July 2013 Commuter Challenge is to write one or more poems related to Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and/or “Through the Looking-Glass”. Write a poem in any format about one or more of the characters or themes. Try to focus on the less ‘famous’ characters and/or less obvious themes from the books.

If you prefer extra constraints, pick format and character combinations at random from the lists below:

  • Formats: Sonnet, Ottava Rima, Rubaiyat, Triolet, Double Dactyl, Lento.
  • Characters: Mock Turtle, Dodo, Duchess’s Cook, White Knight, Knave of Hearts, Humpty Dumpty.

(If you choose the random format/character route, please say so in your submission.)


2 June 2013

The June 2013 Challenge

by CC @ 12:05

Traditionally, summer is the time for reruns. So for this month’s commuter challenge, pick a challenge that you’ve completed before and re-run it. This can be an opportunity to explore a new aspect of the challenge, or to follow up on an idea that you had but ultimately didn’t use. Or it can be a chance to do yourself one better, or to make use of new skills or experience that you’ve acquired since that time. Or it can just be a chance to spend some more time on a challenge that you really enjoyed.


1 May 2013

The May 2013 Challenge

by CC @ 14:46

The May 2013 Commuter Challenge is to write an ottava rima poem using as much archaic, obsolete, and dated terminology as possible. Really go for it — don’t limit yourself to “ere” and “betwixt”; use words like “sweven” and “eft” (or even “mimeograph”, if you want to go that route). For extra credit, make it an ottava rima poem of two or more stanzas.

The ottava rima stanza is eight lines (usually iambic pentameter) with three alternate rhymes and one double rhyme, in the a-b-a-b-a-b-c-c pattern.


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