Blog Pick :: The Sketchbook Project

Blog Pick :: The Sketchbook Project
By: Phil Reville, M.Arch Candidate

By now, if you haven’t heard of the Sketchbook Project it’s important that you read this. The Sketchbook Project has been around since 2006 and is a “ crowd-sourced library that features 33,818 artists' books contributed by creative people from 135+ countries.” Founded in Atlanta in 2006 and moved to New York in 2009, the Sketchbook Project has grown exponentially and now operates out of the Brooklyn Art Library in Williamsburg where you can find the entire sketchbook collection on view for the public.  In addition, the entire collection has been professionally photographed, page by page, and is digitally available on their website. The Sketchbook Project also brings their collection on the road via their Mobile Library, which transports thousands of sketchbooks all across North America for pop-up events at museums and galleries.

Every year the Sketchbook Project invites artists to create their own sketchbook for submission, now available in two formats. For $28, you can order a sketchbook that will eventually be cataloged in the Brooklyn Art Library, and for $63 you can order a sketchbook that will be both manually and digitally cataloged, with a custom URL for share-ability. If you’re interested, you’ve got some time, but note that the 2016 deadline is March 31st, 2016.

The digital catalog available for view is incredibly extensive, with 17,038 sketchbooks searchable by artist name, locations, mediums, interests, or tags. You can also browse by theme or sift through random books. I searched ‘architecture’, which of course brought up thousands of entries. This sketchbook entitled “Fiddle Sticks” by Hannah Snow from Belmont, MI was a 2015 entry and includes 36 pages of quirky and fun pen and marker drawings, like this manipulated dollar bill sketch. I’ve spent hours browsing through sketchbooks, many of which have given me inspiration for my own sketchbook and some techniques for drawing and compositional layout I’d like to emulate.

Check their Events tab to see where the Mobile Library will be next around the country.  Right now, the Mobile Library is in Atlanta, GA, and after that, Miami, FL. And if you’re not looking to travel far this summer, maybe a quick trip to New York will bring you to the Brooklyn Art Library, where you can view the full collection. Also, check out the Challenges page for free weekly creative prompts and medium-specific swaps and exchanges. The Sketchbook Project might be just the challenge to get you to practice your drawing skills and push yourself to sketch outside of the classroom. If nothing else, browse through the digital catalog, perhaps you’ll recognize the work of some familiar faces...