Monday, May 6, 2013

The Sketchbook Project Benefits

I love sketchbooks. I work in one of mine every day. So a couple of years ago I signed up for The Sketchbook Project.

An inside page.

This is the front cover. It's acrylic paint on thick brown cover stock.

I am impressed with the Project's increasingly creative scope--it's grown so much, even in the past two years. I don't spend enough time looking over their site, but every time an email notice arrives from them I get intrigued by a new creative challenge.

I tell myself that sparing the time for another one of their projects is impossible, so haven't taken up one of their proposals since Coffee and Cigarettes (my chosen theme). It didn't generate attention or financial gain--I mailed it away and it sank soundlessly into the sea of other sketchbooks at the Brooklyn Art Library, probably never to be seen again. 
But I need to do another! Why?

Because it was an intensely creative experience totally free from thoughts of profit. I LOVED THAT!

The dichotomy of creativity/selling art has been discussed countless times, so I won't go into it here, but committing to The Sketchbook Project ended up being a total gift. How? 
Among many things, it resulted in:

1. Pure imaginative play
2. Total freedom to experiment with media
3. Fresh ideas that spawned many more artworks
4. Stretching my creative brain like a balloon
5. Accelerating and firming up my increasing (and valued) ability to make what I want and ignore the "money" thing that lurks in one corner of my mind
6. Some discipline (even though I hate that word and concept, I do need a bit of it)

Was it a pain? Sometimes. But most times I looked forward to the relief of drawing in the book after spending the day working at paintings for sale. I managed, in about three months, to fill the sketchbook's 40 pages by the deadline.

If you haven't checked out The Sketchbook Project, do it! The people who conceived the idea and continue to grow it are geniuses, and their projects are varied and exciting.

 The inside-back cover.

I'll post more of the inside sketches next.
Thanks for the visit--and do yourself a favor; click the link:


  1. Thanks for the idea/ inspiration

  2. Was it hard to give away for you? That would be the toughest part for me!!

    1. Not really--I scanned it all before I sent it off anyway. I think knowing that it was going away helped me to mess with it more freely. Maybe?

  3. Awesome Awesome Awesome. Tom. I love this. I want to do this. I just don't know if it would become another "should". btw - I'm guessing you are familiar with the Workshop spaces in Glendale for artists. Small Art studios at reasonable prices. Just in case you are hunting around :). Kelly Doak

    1. Hey Kelly. I hear you about the "shoulds". It was like that a bit, but in retrospect, very worth it. (Plus they seem to have more and more smaller/shorter projects going these days--might be worth a try first.)Thanks for the studio tip, too!

  4. such a fun post, Tom! Zach and I signed up to do the sketchbook project again this year :)

    1. Nice--And you'll post them again I hope?


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