Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Sketchbook Project?

For those who have never heard of it, The Art House Co-op in Brooklyn, NY, runs this thing every year called "The Sketchbook Project". Basically, as a participating artist, you sign up, pay your fee, and they send you a book that you then fill up with drawings or whatever, and send back to them. They take the collection on a "tour" around the country (this is the US, though I believe there is a stop in Toronto and possibly in Vancouver as well), and it is digitized into their online library. I have never participated in this... mainly because I hadn't heard about it until last year, but also because I don't consider myself to be an artist who "sketches".

I paint, I draw, I doodle, I record.... I don't sketch (there are exceptions, but for the most part, no). I was forced to keep a sketchbook for my art classes when I was in school, which I then had to hand in to be marked... and critiqued. The critique part was, to me, not only unnecessary, but completely defeated the purpose of keeping the book in the first place. I wanted to use it to explore ideas, not necessarily improve my drawing skills, though I'm sure having to draw daily did actually improve my drawing skills a great deal. The concept of having a deadline to fill up a sketchbook sounds like work. Yuck. And what I put in a sketchbook these days... well, not something anybody but me would want to browse through.

my version of a sketchbook...
After looking through what was posted from last years project, I think I have to broaden my definition of what a sketchbook is. It was the art journals I saw online that helped changed my outlook. Beautiful, handmade books of paintings, collage... even encaustic. Some had flaps and foldout pages, maps, photographs. Creative little books that really express who the artist is and what interests them. Something like that is a little more my speed. So, this year, I am going to participate. If you are interested, go check it out. There is a cute little video posted by the Art House Co-op, which explains the whole project in 96 seconds. It's worth looking at. And you might even want to add your name to the list.