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10 Notes

Its beautiful here in Brooklyn today… unseasonably so!  In response to the current weather conditions in NYC, we couldn’t help but share some other unearthly occurrences depicted in our Digital Library.  Check out these spreads showing some bizarre futures, weather predictions and other interesting takes on our place in the world.

7 Notes

The Final Leg of Tour 2012, Part I: Philadelphia and Atlanta


This last part of the Sketchbook Project 2012 Tour has been such a whirlwind that we have barely had time to sit down and write an update!  We’ve got a lot of stories to share, having been to Philadelphia, Atlanta, Orlando and Austin, so let’s break it down:

Here’s part one of our journey, from New York to Philadelphia and Atlanta …

The morning of our drive to Philadelphia had a very relaxed air. We had been back in New York for almost a month after our previous stop in Toronto, and had taken plenty of time to get ready for the next part of the journey. The drive to Philadelphia would be short compared to the many we’d already taken (San Francisco back to New York, for example), so we were in no rush as we packed up the trailer, hitched it to the van, and prepared to hit the road. All there was to decide was who would take the first driving shift!

One catch - our battery was dead and couldn’t hold a charge. After sitting on the curb for a moment and forming a plan of action, the tour crew headed right over to Salerno’s auto repair in Brooklyn- they got us a new battery and alternator within the hour, AND did all the work with the trailer filled with sketchbooks still attached - it was amazing! 

After that long morning, the three hour drive to Philadelphia seemed like a breeze! Just a quick jaunt through New Jersey, and there we were! The Painted Bride Art Center in the historic district of Philadelphia is an inspiring sight to pull up to - the entire exterior of the building is covered in a mosaic of ceramics and glass. 

Our time in Philadelphia was unforgettable - besides checking out hundreds of books, we got to experience the city by taking in some of the historic sites and some delicious cheesesteaks, thanks to the spot-on recommendations of local Philadelphians. I think the entire tour crew had in mind to make another day trip out to Philadelphia from New York the next time we got the chance! 

We were also excited to set up the Drawing Table once again and get back to swapping all of the Tour Mail that had been waiting to be delivered! The Drawing Table even got it’s own loft above the gallery for everyone to hang out in and make some art, take some art, and take home the amazing Prismacolor markers to continue creating at home.

The next destination was bit of a longer trek, heading south to Atlanta, the city where the Sketchbook Project began. We did a drive around town to see the original Art House gallery in Atlanta six years ago - we’ve come such a long way to having our current space in Brooklyn!

MASS Collective was hosting us in their brand new space - The Sketchbook Project was one of the first major events to take place there, and everyone had worked so hard to get things ready for the show (installing electricity, for example). We certainly had plenty of room inside the brick walls and wooden floors of the huge, old industrial building where MASS had made it’s home. 

We had a great turnout from the Atlanta community far and wide. Many people remembered the old days of Art House when the Sketchbook Project was just starting - it was amazing to reconnect with people who had been there from the get-go. As usual, we also got a chance to share the Sketchbook Project and the unique collection of books with people who were experiencing it for the first time. We also had a visit from a school group who had worked on some books that were in the tour! 

Well, that brings us only half way through the final leg of tour… we’ll bring you up to speed on Orlando and Austin soon!

8 Notes

Stories from the Road: Heading Home

The Sketchbook Project: Stories from the Road Video #2

Tour Diary: Oakland to Brooklyn

The 2012 Sketchbook Project is heading home! The tour crew is currently chugging across I-70 in Ohio, with the smell of bagels and the glint of skyscrapers urging us on to NYC.

It’s been a week to remember. Last Friday, we hosted the closing reception for the Sketchbook Project Pop-Up Library in Oakland, CA to bring together as many contributing artists as possible for one final gathering. Curious patrons streamed into the space as the evening cool descended on the East Bay, checking out hundreds of books by 10pm. It was especially rewarding to meet such an interesting mix of first-time participants, long-time vets, and complete newcomers drawn by the local buzz.

Saturday and Sunday kept the tour crew busy, as sketchbooks seemed to leap from the shelves. When the dust settled on Sunday evening, we were ecstatic: 5,222 books viewed and 571 library cards issued — more than any other tour stop so far. Thanks to the incredible response from the local arts community, we reached an even better milestone: As of now, every single book contributed to the 2012 Sketchbook Project has been checked out at least once.

A distinctly bittersweet feeling crept over us once the doors shut for the last time on Sunday night. Transforming an abandoned office into Oakland’s own Sketchbook Project Library seemed like an impossible feat just three weeks ago, and yet there we were in the midst of it. We met hundreds and hundreds of funny, kind and creative people and carried nearly the entire 2012 collection in our hands, all while working together to breathe life into an empty space. One thing’s for sure — California, we’ll be back!

We left Oakland first thing Monday morning with 3,000 miles ahead of us and clear blue skies all the way across the West. After changing a tire (no mean feat on a 5,000 pound trailer!), the crew hopped onto Route 120 and headed straight up the Sierra Nevada to Yosemite National Park. After winding through the mountain roads, past glacial lakes and towering redwoods, we caught our breath by Mono Lake and trucked on to Nevada.

Highway 6 in Nevada feels about as far from New York City as it gets. There are just three towns across more than 250 miles of two-lane road, which made the extra fuel containers in our trunk feel like a pretty wise move. By the time night fell, we were more than an hour’s drive from a town in any direction — just the tour crew and 7,500 sketchbooks alone in the universe. At the remotest point of the drive, we pulled over to the side of the road, shut off the lights and gasped: Above us stretched thousands and thousands of visible stars, all but lost to us in the big city. It takes a truly awesome sight to make a 16-foot trailer, an Econoline van and 2 tons of sketchbooks feel infinitely small. But a clear night in Nevada did the trick.

The next day we set out early and continued east through the salt flats of western Utah and all the way across the state. After a brief break by the Sevier River, we met up with I-70 and continued on toward Colorado. A stop for gas in the tiny hamlet of Thompson Springs (pop. 37) led us to an intriguing detour sign for Sego Canyon. We ventured up a small unmarked road that dead-ended at the ghost town of Sego — a once-thriving coal mine that has fallen into ruin. We took a quick break to explore the abandoned village, which was eerily quiet in the punishing desert sun. After spotting a giant gophersnake catching some rays, we hightailed it back to Thompson Springs when a massive rock face caught our eyes. The smooth, flat expanse of cliff was covered with petroglyphs and pictograms — artwork from three different civilizations stretching back almost 5,000 years. Even a scrawl of graffiti that marred the stone canvas came with a surprising history: The vandal had signed his name and the date was 1873.

A bit humbled by our unexpected gallery visit, we gassed up and hit the road again with a lot on our minds. Of course, the entire Sketchbook Project involves bringing an archive of artwork with us wherever we go and watching strangers encounter creativity that they never knew existed. But we still forget that there’s no experience quite like exploring unfamiliar terrain and finding strange beauty there.

600 miles to go. See you soon, Brooklyn.

2 Notes

Is This Your Sketchbook???

Hi everybody! We have four Limited Edition and/or 2012 sketchbooks here without names or submission numbers attached to them. Please let us know if one of them is yours! If it is, please email us at









176 Notes

35 Sweet Sketchbook Cover Patterns

These 35 Limited Edition Sketchbook covers explore patterns in ways that wow us. Variety, color, line, repetition. We dig it. You will too.




[above: cover by Pigeon, from Bristol UK]

[above: cover by Melanie Philpott, from Torquay UK]

[above: cover by Sarah Perveen Rizvi, from Houston TX]

[above: cover by Anil N. Singh, from Toronto ON]

[above: cover by Amy Mullin, from Los Angeles CA]

[above: cover by Christine Schwanke, from Berlin ]

[above: cover by Kristie Ann Harris, from Sacramento CA]

[above: cover by Stephanie Cooper, from Toronto ON]

[above: cover by Hilary Lawler, from Laytown, Ireland]




[above: cover by Filmina&StarLata, from Grenada, Spain]

[above: cover by Rose Hope, from Portland OR]

[above: cover by Maria Luisa Sandos Cuellar, from Oaxaca Mexico]




[above: cover by Lucie Fergeson, from Baltimore MD]

[above: cover by Heather Scott, from Leven UK]

[above: cover by Dan Daulby, from Richmond BC]

[above: cover by Signe Nordin, from Tucson AZ]

[above: cover by Amy Lynch, from Dublin, Ireland]

[above: cover by Kelly Mills, from Hamilton ON]




[above: cover by Patricia Gendron, from Quebec QC]

[above: cover by Javier Poblacion, from Caceres, Spain]

[above: cover by Natalie Maurer, from Gold Coast, Australia]

[above: cover by Jon Procter, from York UK]

[above: cover by Catherine Schechter, from North Vancouver BC]

[above: cover by Sophie Morgan, from Marietta GA]

[above: cover by Kirsteen Harris-Jones, from Ellesmere UK]

[above: cover by Stephanie Chee Mei Cheng, from Nottingham UK]




[above: cover by Janika Regelin, from Kankaanpaa, Finland]

[above: cover by Kimberly Nguyen, from Garden Grove CA]

[above: cover by rObfOs, from Redland City, Australia]

[above: cover by Abbie Scott, from Aberdeen UK]

[above: cover by Marie Sullivan, from Bunbury Australia]

[above: cover by Becca Rose, from Bristol UK]

[above: cover by Sally O’Dell, from Ovapa WV]

[above: cover by Andrew Casano, from Elizabeth NJ]

[above: cover by Kate Palley, from Selinsgrove PA]


Ready to see more Limited Edition sketchbooks?

Join us this Friday at the Brooklyn Art Library for the Project’s Opening Exhibition.

More details & RSVP here.


And if you’re feeling inspired to make some patterns of your own,

don’t hestitate to check out the current project:

14 Notes

Meetup with The Sketchbook Project at home.

On June 3, 2012 dozens of communities all over the world organized through, and got together on a local level to celebrate Global Sketchbook Project Day. Yes, it’s a holiday that we invented, so that Sketchbookers all over the world could meet each other, share their sketchbooks and ideas, and get down with some good old fashioned creative fun.

Here are some highlights from a Sketchbook Project Meetup in New Jersey, organized by Sketchbooker Rob Jelinski:


Above: Welcome to City to City {Exhibition x Live Music x Sketchbook Project Gathering} (Photo by Edward Chan)


Global Sketchbook Project day is about sharing inspiration with the world, so Rob thought why not do an hour long, live street performance for everyone passing by!?


Rob showed off some of the tangible inspirations for his in-progress 2013 Sketchbook, entitled Revolutionary.  (Photo by Edward Chan)


We loved seeing these photos from Rob’s event, and hearing all about it. If anyone else has pictures or stories from their Global Sketchbook Project Day Meetups, be sure to send them our way so we can share them with the rest of the community!


*                           *                           *                           *                           *


Folks may wonder what the rest of the Art House staff members do when the Tour Crew is out traveling the country (and beyond) with the 2012 Sketchbooks.


Answer: We throw parties at the Brooklyn Art Library and work on our 2013 Sketchbooks, of course. 



For the inaugural Global Sketchbook Project Day this past Sunday, the Art House staff, local Sketchbookers, and neighborhood folks celebrated in style at the Brooklyn Art Library. It was a gorgeous morning and I (Caitlin) got up early to bake cookies for the event. I couldn’t imagine throwing a party without something homemade to offer around. By the time I made it down the the Library, Chris—our Head Librarian—was already there, busily setting up for what would be a whole day full of Sketchbook-related festivities.





We flung the doors wide to the bustling sidewalks of N 3rd St., home also to a slew of interesting boutiques, an architecture firm, the used book store Book Thug Nation (a seminal Williamsburg establishment), a yoga studio, and of course the Mast Brothers Chocolate factory (mmm, love them). Balloons bobbed in what had become a somewhat wily wind outside, and passersby stopped by to see what all the fuss was about. 



Most of the afternoon was devoted to hanging out around the Sketchbook Start-Up Table, where we began working on ideas for our 2013 Sketchbooks … a bunch of people even started the Project right then and there. The long wooden table was strewn with pencils, markers, and pens galore, as well as glue, stencils, paper of all colors and sizes, and cut-up print materials for collage. 

While getting a head start on this year’s project was a much needed creativity boost to all of us Art House staffers, the best part of the afternoon was getting to know everyone who stopped in. We got to catch up with local Sketchbookers whom we’ve known for awhile, and met others for the very first time. One woman had only just moved to New York a few days prior, and coming to Global Sketchbook Project Day was one of the very first things she had done in New York. So cool.






Next on the agenda for the day? Chris gave an amazing presentation on typography. Of course we know that Sketchbookers generally have an interest in all things visual and creative, but Chris really knocked it out of the park with this one. He covered a wide swath of typographical concepts and styles, all the while sharing ideas on how the novice typographer can explore different techniques or approaches in his or her own work. Afterwards, someone asked him what his favorite type face is. Answer: Gotham. We are in New York City, after all.







For the last few hours of Global Sketchbook Project Day, everyone at the Library enjoyed the sweet melodies of local songster Justin Allen. I can’t think of a better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon than with good people, making art, listening to live music.





Someone even drew on a cookie!






Already I can’t wait for the next Global Sketchbook Project Day, and also for the other upcoming Meetups at the Brooklyn Library. Big thanks from all of us at Art House to the folks who stopped by on Sunday to hang with us—that’s what makes events like these so much fun! We hope you join us for the next one:

July 5 - Sketching Salon #1

The Sketching Salon is the first installment of a new event series at the Brooklyn Art Library that welcomes artists of all backgrounds to come together for a communal sketching session. Each Salon will feature a live musical performance and an array of still life settings to inspire an evening of creativity. 6pm - 9pm. Free.

Want to participate in a Sketchbook Project event in your hometown? Just create or join a community on, then start an event! If you let us know about it, we’ll even help you promote it. 

Getting together with other local Sketchbookers is such a fun way to get started on this year’s project—it was so inspiring for us to hear and see other’s ideas and modes of creating work. So get those 2013 Sketchbooks ready, get together, and start making things! It’ll be fun. We promise.

24 Notes

A Pop-Up Library grows in Oakland…

The Tour Crew pulled into the Bay with a mission last week: Transform an empty storefront in downtown Oakland into a full-blown library of artists’ sketchbooks with just three days, three pairs of hands and an ocean of seriously strong coffee.



We’re really proud of the results — our once-empty room is now a hub of inspiration, complete with reading room, drawing table and nearly 7,500 sketchbooks from around the world. We feel lucky to share all of this creativity with the blossoming arts community here in Old Oakland, where our partners at Popuphood are busy incubating new local businesses and awakening street life in this diverse, historic neighborhood.



So, Oaklanders! San Franciscans! Alamedans! Berkeleyites! Cyborgs from Silicon Valley! Come and visit us at the Pop-Up Library from now until June 17th. We’d love to show you what our global community has been working on… along with hundreds of your neighbors, too.


The Pop-Up Library

483 9th St., Oakland, CA

  • June 6-10, 1-5pm
  • June 13-14, 1-5pm
  • June 15, 6-10pm (Closing Party!)
  • June 16-17 1-5pm


13 Notes

Breakin’ it down in Tinsletown

Your 2012 Sketchbooks and the Art House Tour Crew crossed back into the United States with minimal interrogation after an incredible show in Vancouver. We cruised past Oakland with a wave and a promise to be back soon, and headed straight for sunny Los Angeles.  

When we arrived at the show venue, the crew at iam8bit was busy installing Notebook Nerd, a new exhibition of drawings in their front gallery. We saw immediately how The Sketchbook Project would pair perfectly with the pen drawings of Jim Rugg.

Rolling our shelves of Sketchbooks into the space, we quickly discovered the ENORMOUS room where we’d be running the shows over the next few days. It’s a good thing the space was so big—on opening night, the entire room was packed with people! In only two nights we checked out 2,062 books and issued 434 library cards—record breaking numbers. We had Neil on the road with us for the first time, and his fresh energy helped us power through all of those book deliveries.

In between checking out books like mad, we had a great time meeting locals from the Los Angeles area and picked up excellent tips on places to eat, including some of the best gelato we had ever tasted. Some of us tried not to be self-conscious during the shows, because of our still-fading sunburns and tan lines from an expedition to the beach the day before … good thing everyone was too busy looking at Sketchbooks or creating Tour Mail at the Drawing Table to notice! We hope to see LA again soon—next time with more sun screen!

11 Notes

TOUR MAIL & the Prismacolor Drawing Table

At the start of the day, the markers and colored pencils are arranged like flowers in glass jars, the paper carefully set out in stacks symmetrically on either side. Setting up the Prismacolor Drawing Table before a show has somewhat of the air of setting the dinner table as you expectantly wait for guests to arrive. Whether they came to look at Sketchbooks or were just passing by, visitors are inevitably lured over to the Drawing Table by the bright Prismacolor materials and the possibility of making a piece of art. 

When they ask, “What’s going on over here?” it just gets better as I explain Tour Mail, the art swap we’re running as we take the Sketchbook Project to cities across North America. The colorful creations folks make at the Drawing Table are put inside envelopes, and they then get to choose which subsequent tour locales the surprise pieces of Tour Mail end up. In exchange for “sending off” some Tour Mail, participants receive a piece of art that someone at an earlier show created and designated for recipients in that city.


It’s been such an amazing experience to watch people sit down and spontaneously  create the words and images they’d like to send off to a total stranger. It’s even cooler to watch people open a piece of mail and receive an inspiring hand-lettered message from Portland, a child’s doodle from the Chicago, a sketch of the view from a window in Brooklyn—all of these incredible words and images made along the way of our Tour. Someone in Vancouver described it as a way to capture the happiness that in is the air at the Sketchbook Project shows and pay it forward. 

By the end of the day, the markers are strewn around the table amidst colored pencil shavings and a few remaining pieces of paper … and you know that everyone had a great time.

6 Notes

To the Northern Land We Go …


Well, your sketchbooks are officially international travelers! After the amazing show in Portland we headed north, just over the border, to Vancouver, BC. It’s a pretty quick drive but we had to make a quick pit stop in Seattle to get some lunch at Macrina Bakery—you can almost smell that bread from the Interstate.




The toughest part of the drive was convincing the border control agents that we did, in fact, have thousands of sketchbooks in our enormous trailer. Not the usual cross-border haul, we suppose! After a search of the trailer, we were on our way. We arrived around 6pm Monday night in clean ‘n green downtown Vancouver. The crew got together for a delicious dinner, walked along the shore, and got a good night’s sleep.





Arriving at W2 Media Cafe, we were welcomed by the staff with open arms. We set up upstairs from the cafe, which meant having to wheel all of the books through a basement loading dock, squeeze each shelf into an elevator, and then unload up two floors. Even though we were short two staff members, we made it work! Must be all the coffee…





Tuesday started off with a bang as groups of people arrived early and we had a line by 2:55pm. At 4:10, Steven was whisked away to go do a live interview on CBC radio! He made it with just seconds to spare.




Wednesday was a  crazy day! We had just under 1000 books checked out in only 4 hours and we gave out 165 library cards. The crew met some really friendly northern neighbors and we all definitely hope to make it back sometime soon.





In total, we checked out 1588 books and issued 265 library cards! Thanks so much to our BC friends for making this a really memorable stop on an ever-more-exciting 2012 World Tour!