My fascination with community art projects has found a new object! It is called the Sketchbook Project. The book that introduced me, The Sketchbook Project World Tour, was recommended to me by a customer who loved it. I always love hearing what my customers have enjoyed reading, and even better when I have the chance to look into their favorites, as I did with this one.
The project this book is based on is a really neat thing. I don't know how to not understate it. And although it reminds me of other community cultivating projects I've posted about, such as Storycorps, Humans of New York, and PostSecret (links are to my posts), I'll try not to do it disservice by just repeating the super cool similarities. The book is a sampling of sketches from the crowd-sourced Brooklyn Art Library, which houses 33,868 sketchbooks by people from 135 countries who paid an entry fee to participate in the project and received blank Sketchbook Project notebooks (currently priced at $28 for non-digitized or $63 for digitized) to fill with their art and send back to become permanent pieces in the library. Each piece of art featured in the book is only one spread from the sketchbook that it came from, but if you visit the library in Brooklyn, you can browse all of the sketchbooks! You can also search for and check out sketchbooks online, and when you do, the artist whose work you are viewing is notified.
In reading about the Sketchbook Project, I discovered that the founders started it because they did not like the way that normal art places were so exclusive. Therefore, anybody of any age or experience can join in on the project - it is not just for professional artists. That being said, most of the art in The Sketchbook Project World Tour could've fooled me. The creative capacity that we've been endowed with and how much breadth and depth there is in the variety of art that we can create, even as novices, takes my breath away.
Just in case anybody decides they are going to enter the Sketchbook Project and needs some inspiration or instruction, I'm tacking on to this post another fascinating book that I found - Zendoodle: Oodles of Doodles. (By the way, please let me know if you do enter, I would be so excited to hear about it!) This book offers unique approaches to Zentangle® and it, too, includes examples of artwork in many types of media and with lots of unique approaches. Even if you don't pick up pen (colored pencil, paint, or chalk) and paper to try it out, this book is beautiful and great fun to browse through.
10 Incredible Journals From the Brooklyn Art Library
A Home for Sketchbooks of the World
Inside the Brooklyn Art Library and the Sketchbook Project 2012
Inside a Stranger's Sketchbook