The Sketchbook Project


Post-Labor Day, I begin to dread the short, cold days that force me indoors come winter. (Bad things can happen when I’m faced with snow, an endless supply of hot chocolate, and my entire Netflix instant queue.) But after a recent visit with Chris Heuberger, head librarian at the Brooklyn Art Library, I sealed my winter project fate.

The art library is home to The Sketchbook Project, a traveling exhibition of artists’ sketchbooks. Sign up online and you’ll receive a blank sketchbook in the mail. Fill it up using any subject, style, format, or media you’d like. Return the sketchbook to the library via mail or in person, where it will be cataloged and taken on a tour of galleries and event spaces all over America. When the tour is over, the sketchbooks are permanently added to the Brooklyn Art Library collection. The best part? Anyone can participate.

The purpose of the project, in Chris’s words:

The Sketchbook Project is a communal art project. We believe in creating a public space, both online and in person, where people can express themselves, get back to handmade, tell their story, think visually, and most importantly, connect with each other. It reminds us that art is made by real people.

Who could say no to that? Here are a few sketchbooks Chris pulled for me based on my database search:

This sketchbook by Filmina and Star Lata came all the way from Spain.

Artist Amy Liebenberg incorporated embroidery into her work.

I love Jonpaul Smith's mix of patterns and discarded keys.

Adria Katz turned a sketchbook into a shadow puppet box.

You don’t have to visit the art library in person to get inspired. More than 10,000 sketchbooks are digitized online.

Interested in participating? You have until January to create a sketchbook for the 2013 tour, so sign up and get inspired!

Photos by Katrina Zook

Comments (2)

  • I just bought 2 sketchbooks last week to play with! I’ll definitely check this out. Thanks!

  • Love this! This would be an awesome project for some teachers to use to inspire and encourage children to create and hopefully become interested in art. Unfortunately a lot of our children don’t realize that art comes in many forms and these are perfect examples!

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