Sketchbook Project 2013

Jason and I just signed up to participate in the 2013 Sketchbook Project. I can't remember how I heard about it, but I saw the website and read the prompt and immediately thought it was an awesome idea. Basically, you sign up and pay a fee, and they send you a 32-page sketchbook for you to complete and send back by January 15, 2013 to be submitted to and permanently displayed at the Brooklyn Art Library. Pretty cool, right? 

Jason recently started drawing again, which I love, and it's been inspiring me to start painting and doing a little clay modeling– a project I'll share here soon– so I thought this project might be a good external motivation to commit ourselves to our craft. We both signed up that night and have already received our sketchbooks! 

Coincidentally, the project also does a national tour and they happened to be coming to Oakland for a few weeks. They'd rented out an abandoned warehouse right in the middle of Uptown Oakland and their closing show was tonight, so we checked it out right after work today. It was not what I expected!

They have you sign up for a "library card", which is a little business-sized card with a barcode that you scan in after inputting your info on a computer. Then, you go to one of two other computers where you scan your Library Card and and navigate through a fancy interface to choose what topic or category of sketchbook you're interested in "checking out". They actually confirm the name of the "author" of the book you're about to check out. I have no idea how they categorized and found the specific book, but there is a person manning the library with an iPhone, and as soon as you hit Submit, they get an alert and find the book for you, plus an extra one, and call your name. One minute tops and super high tech! 

As you can see in the photo below, there are double sided shelves of thousands of submitted sketchbooks from 83 countries worldwide. At first I thought it would be less cool to do a project with that many people, vs. a smaller sampling, but actually, the randomized system they've set up makes it so it feels like you have a good chance of being seen. We had a chance to peruse through 8 sketchbooks between the two of us, and were particularly pleased with some. Some from North Carolina, California, United Kingdom, London... all over! One of the two that I photographed had a theme of "treehouses" and was filled with double page spreads of beautiful line drawings of imaginary topiary homes and little people. Took me to a special place.

Sign up with us! Maybe someone out there will check out your sketchbook with mine.