How would you like to take part in a globe-trotting mobile library—a collection of thousands of handmade sketchbooks? Brooklyn-based Sketchbook Project is preparing for its next annual road trip and your doodles could hitch a ride.
Founded in 2007 by The Art House Co-op’s Steven Peterman and Shane Zucker, The Sketchbook Project curates sketchbooks from artists hailing from more than 130 countries and takes the work—anything from doodles, to patterns, to short stories to charts—on a cross-country (and, at times, cross-continental) road trip. "The Sketchbook Project is a worldwide creative experience," say the founders. "Together, thousands of regular people from around the world will form a traveling library of handmade books."
The most recent Sketchbook Project 2012 World Tour had a total of 19,439 contributors and became a pop-up library in Melbourne, London, Toronto, Portland, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other cities. In 2013, thousands of sketchbooks will travel with the project and spread their creative wealth.
For $25, anyone can participate. The Sketchbook project will send a 32-page blank sketchbook (made by Portland-based Pinball Publishing) with encouragement from the founders to fill and adorn. The only restriction: absolutely no glitter allowed. Suggested sample themes include 'Dinosaurs,' 'Mystery,' 'Diagrams,' and 'Lists.' The project’s other perks include archiving in the Brooklyn Art Library, showcasing at every exhibition along the road trip, and the option for the book to be digitally archived.
"We created the traveling aspect because we found that so many of our participants were from other parts of the country and we thought that it was important for us to be able to reach them and not stay stationary," says project manager Eli Dvorkin. "We hope to make the project more mobile so we can travel to even more places. Right now it's still difficult to carry 7,000 plus sketchbooks around the country."
To keep the work attached to its creator, a special barcode on the back of the sketchbook is used to send emails or texts informing participants about their book's location and checkout history. Each tour’s ultimate stop is the Brooklyn Art Library, where the well-traveled and thumbed sketchbooks find a new home. The public can borrow or browse through the Library’s permanent sketchbook collection, which currently houses over 22,000 sketchbooks. With the project’s upcoming 2013 tour, the count will grow even further.
The project is currently accepting submissions for its 2013 tour, with stops already scheduled for Portland, San Francisco, Toronto, Atlanta, Chicago, and Austin. Artists, designers, authors, and creative thinkers interested in sharing a glimpse of their minds can sign up online by October 31, 2012.
Photos courtesy of Blue Windows Creative