The Sketchbook Project, in case you haven’t heard of this ingenious and inspiring undertaking, is a collection of creative works in the form of art contributed by people from around the world. (Kind of like Illustration Friday, come to think of it…) In this case, the art is in the form of sketchbooks – more than 22,000 of them and counting – created by some 70,000 artists in more than 130 countries. Wow! The really cool thing is that since its inception 6 years ago, the project has shared the wealth by sending the art around (more than 40,000 miles so far), spreading inspiration and creative collaboration all over. And, just this month, they launched a brand new, reinvented Sketchbook Project, with the goal of making participation easier and more engaging.
Co-Founder Steven Peterman summed it up thusly: “We knew it was time to evolve. The idea of a yearly, traveling project was just not sustainable. We wanted something that would be more accessible to our participants and easier for us to visit more cities and reach more people.”
With that in mind, The Sketchbook Project staff created The Mobile Library — a custom-built 16-foot trailer that will travel the country, year-round, reaching as many as 45 cities a year. (It already has a schedule of 20 cities for 2013.) Here’s how they describe the new process: creative-minded people can head over to the website and order an official Sketchbook Project sketchbook. Once you get your sketchbook, you can register your book for one of six tours.
“We wanted to allow our participants more options and a chance to ‘curate’ their own tour in some way,” said Peterman.
With each tour, you not only get to select a theme for your book, but you get to select the 3 to 4 city tour your book will go on. Pick a city near you, or pick a whole different part of the country! It’s all up to you. Once your book goes on it’s tour, it will be come part of the permanent collection at The Brooklyn Art Library in Brooklyn, NY. There, visitors can search and look through all 22,000 books in the collection. Want your book to be seen even more? Select the digitizing option when getting your book. The Sketchbook Project digital library has had over 1.3 million books viewed and more than half the books have had over 100 different views.
As Peterman explains, “By selecting the digitizing option, you will open your book to a whole new audience. The digital library receives over 1,700 views a day from people all over the world. It will also allow us to select your book for curated and alternative exhibitions.”
Not only will The Mobile Library take the sketchbooks on tour, contributed art will also be used for curated exhibitions using the Project’s past sketchbooks. Just this past month, The Mobile Library brought 1,100 books from the collection to Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor and Cleveland on its inaugural 3-city tour curated by Christopher Jobson from thisiscolossal.com.
Final words from the founders: “It’s never been easier to join The Sketchbook Project, and we want the Illustration Friday community to get involved! Collaboration, participation and creativity are what The Sketchbook Project and Illustration Friday are all about. Put it down in drawing, painting or any medium. Fill a sketchbook and send it out on the road.”