Sketchbook Project I

When the Sketchbook Project Mobile Tour was in town a couple of weeks ago, I had a grand old time nosing through some of their collection. The set up is pretty cool – you get a library card to the Brooklyn Art Library at Window 1…


Pop over to the online catalog at Window 2…


And pick up your books at the Main Window.


You get one from the category you choose (organized by theme, medium, format, color, profession of artist, etc.) along with a “mystery book” each time.

The first book I picked by “color” – blue. The only blue element of the entire thing were some lines on the cover, and the story and illustrations (tiny color photos of food printed out on an inkjet printer and pasted in), didn’t really grab my attention. The mystery book, however, had some very detailed illustration!  Katherine Jones from Beverly Hills, CA (S99601) – I took a few shots (below), but you can see the whole thing online as well, since hers was a digitized copy.




I didn’t really understand the whole “digitized” concept at first – some Awesome books were not digitized, while some mediocre ones were…but then I realized it had zero to do with subjective values of “quality” and was just an option you pay for when you buy your sketchbook.

The second book I picked by “format” – cut-outs. This was a cool one. Claire Heminsley (S101290). Again – a few highlights below, but check her out online at her own site too!





As I was finishing up my second set of books, another woman flagged me down and said YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THIS! How on Earth did the artist give this up after so much WORK? COME SEE!!  (This was kind of a trend on Day 1, when fewer people were around – someone would see a really cool book and just have to share it with another person, so if they came alone it tended to be another lone reader. I did it too eventually.) Here’s what she was so amped about – Sharlena Wood from Kingston, Ontario (S99150) and her creatures (this woman was an art teacher and was looking exclusively at books filed under the “Creatures” theme).  What imagination! Love the leopard-snake (which you actually can’t see because there’s some strange glitch on the site where some pages are missing from the scans…now that I see it, I remember them mentioning this at the tour…)

The third book I picked by “medium” – collage. There wasn’t anything truly collage-y about it…but again the mystery book saved the day, captured my attention, and – coincidentally – was very collage-y!  I went back to “format” – windows/compartments. Meh. Then “format” – case/cover. Meh. Then “format” – interactive. Finally, hit pay dirt with that one. A circular fan of carousel horses by Arlene MraZ (the label says it’s been digitized, but I couldn’t find it online…)



The last one of the day was by Sophia Lee (S95948) – not digitized. This is the one that made Me accost strangers. She took the blank sketchbook and wandered all down the Main Street of her community, inviting shopkeepers to contribute a drawing each. She then told a little story about each person/store/etc. and also included a picture of them in the act of drawing. Then she illustrated it herself with embellishments around the edges. Such a cool idea, so in spirit with the project itself – draw in (oy, not intended as a pun) the community and bring people together through art by everyday people, not just professionals. Great concept.





More to come on Day 2 of the tour soon!


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