The Sketchbook Project: Transforming a Library into a Successful Business

The Sketchbook Project: Transforming a Library into a Successful Business


For the past decade, the libraries we knew as children with the Dewy Decimal System and the Card Catalogue have been approaching the brink of extinction. We live in an era where the Kindle and the iPad challenge the need for physical books, and libraries and bookstores face the daunting task of attracting the readers’ attention just to stay in business.

From the sketchbook of, Kelcey Beardsley Portland, OR, United States | "Things found on restaurant napkins"

Share this Post Pin It

Granted, those who are surviving have found some sort of niche to keep the interest going. For example, the bookstore Barnes & Noble has always had a sort of coffee-house atmosphere where people actually go to enjoy an experience. Amazon.com, already online and a threat to physical bookstores, quickly became a source for digital media along with its physical media. So, how about the local library? What has changed to keep it in the running?

From the sketchbook of, Kelcey Beardsley Portland, OR, United States | "Things found on restaurant napkins"

The Brooklyn Art Library is not exactly a traditional library, but more of a co-op gallery. It does provide a library-type experience, but with so much more. The library acts as a physical extension of Art House Co-op, a library featuring artistic talent from around the globe encompassed in sketchbooks.

Folding Sketchbooks - source

Art House opened its doors in December of 2006 initially as a pay-to-play gallery, but it didn’t do so hot. Scrounging for ideas to keep the business going, the co-op started the first ever, “A Million Little Pictures,” meaning a million photographs and one cross-country exhibition.

“A Million Little Pictures is a community-supported exhibition of snapshots captured around the world. By joining together thousands of specific moments to create a single immersive environment, A Million Little Pictures imagines a communal story from the images of our lives.” - arthousecoop.com (A Million Little Pictures)

The exhibition did okay, but it didn’t help fully support Art House’s gallery. The one thing it did do was give birth to idea of “The Sketchbook Project”—a traveling library of artists’ journals that is open to anyone around the world. The Art House gallery has had three locations and finally resides in Brooklyn, NY, as the Brooklyn Art Gallery—the home of many sketchbooks from around the World.

Art House Co-op & The Library

The library acts as the physical extension of Art House and is home to the Sketchbook Project. The walls are lined with shelves of sketchbooks from The Sketchbook Project. Visitors can check out a pile of books or simply peruse sketchbooks from around the globe. How amazing it must be to sift through so many varied mediums and talent.

The Brooklyn Art Library

Sketchbooks are individually catalogued and bar-coded so that they can easily be found (by artist name, location and theme). Authors can also choose to have their books digitalized, which means they are scanned and become available online at the Art House Co-Op online in their Digital Library.

The physical library is also a storefront for, you guessed it, sketchbooks, notebooks, art supplies, stationary and vintage trinkets.

From the sketchbook of, Jackie Mangione Williston, VT, United States | Storybook

The library’s purpose is to connect artists from all over the world and encourage the Art House community to interact with one another face-to-face, while showcasing members’ artwork to the local Brooklyn audience. The library hosts readings, discussions, workshops and performances. (source)

A West Coast US location may be opening up in the San Francisco area. Participants in the 2012 exhibition would be included in the launch of the West Coast hub.

The Sketchbook Project

When you sign up for participation in The Sketchbook Project you will get to pick from 40 themes. Themes are there to give you a little boost in the creative direction of your sketchbook and are not restricted to any specific rules. Basic participation costs $25 (USD). This gets you a sketchbook and helps in the expense of the entire project overall. Other optional expenses include requesting that your book be scanned for online viewing ($20 USD) and/or a Sketchbook Project t-shirt ($20).

From the sketchbook of, Gení§ay Aytekin Istanbul, Fatih, Turkey | 

From the sketchbook of, Jackie Mangione Williston, VT, United States | Storybook

I signed up for the Category, Monochromatic and plan to either stick with a single color in many different mediums to create my sketchbook artwork as a whole or use a different hue in single color creations for each page. I am considering a way to incorporate COLOURlovers color swatches.

From the sketchbook of, Jane Kim Los Angeles, CA, United States | Coffee & Cigarettes

Unique Folded Sketchbook - source

Take note that these sketchbooks are not restricted to the format of a regular book either. Creative foldouts, popouts and any type of mixed media is acceptable with a warning to adhere things strongly since these will be handled and viewed from people all over the world. Your book will be well traveled.

source

What a great outlet to work on your creative style and promote your name as a creative individual be it Graphic Design, Illustrative Design, Mixed Media Artist and any type of singular art such as drawing, sketching, painting, inking, stamping and so on. I am looking forward to participating and experimenting in varied mediums.

source

Apparently themes fill up fast with over 10,000 people in participation. You must sign up no later than October 31, 2011 in order to participate for the 2012 exhibition. Deadline to turn in your finished sketchbook is January 31, 2012 (postmarked by) and the Tour starts in April 2012.


Related Articles

18 Comments
Showing 1 - 18 of 18 Comments
ohhh I love this!
I toyed with the idea of signing up for this particular sketchbook library for a while. The concept has been around forever and I've done a few through other venues. It's a lot of fun.
Team
yeah this particular one has been around since 2006 with around 500 entries... I think they get well over 10,000 might even be 20,000 now... I saw it somewhere but can't find the # again.

I can't wait to get my sketchbook. I was thinking of ordering a second one in a different category. It's kind of a cool idea - to use a sketchbook in a themed manner as a project in it's entirety. I think I might make a few extra sketchbooks for personal practice. :)

let me know if you sign up and which category.

synthetic innocence wrote:
I toyed with the idea of signing up for this particular sketchbook library for a while. The concept has been around forever and I've done a few through other venues. It's a lot of fun.
Thanks for this very well written article, Molly. I've been creating altered books and have been thinking about doing a sketchbook/journal for far too long without actually doing it! This could get me moving!
Team
I didn't know you were doing this Molly!! I signed up for it a few months ago! I toyed around with the idea- if I had time, what I would do... etc. But, the "writing on the walls" theme really sucked me in! lol!! Great post!
This is a fascinating idea! Thanks for sharing!
Team
Your welcome! Are you signing up? If so, which category? :) Maybe we should start a COLOURlovers Group to follow COLOURlovers doing this project.

metaljey wrote:
This is a fascinating idea! Thanks for sharing!
Team
@canyoupixelthis HAHA! I had meant to ask you. have you done anything so far?
I'm signed up and my category is "Treehouse". Our second story deck is surrounded by trees so I feel I live in a treehouse. As you may guess I'm a birdwatcher/lover and I love trees of all kinds. I'm also going to incorporate a bit of my ethnic heritage to layer in the family tree idea. SO....can't wait to get my sketchbook and fill it up! Thanks, Molly, for directing me to this great worldwide project!
Team
HOW FUN! I can't wait to see your book come to life! What a great angle!

Carolhue wrote:
I'm signed up and my category is "Treehouse". Our second story deck is surrounded by trees so I feel I live in a treehouse. As you may guess I'm a birdwatcher/lover and I love trees of all kinds. I'm also going to incorporate a bit of my ethnic heritage to layer in the family tree idea. SO....can't wait to get my sketchbook and fill it up! Thanks, Molly, for directing me to this great worldwide project!
I'm really looking forward towards this next year! This year's tour ended at my school but I had class while they were being presented.
Team
I would have totally skipped class for it. ;)

MyCalories wrote:
I'm really looking forward towards this next year! This year's tour ended at my school but I had class while they were being presented.
I've already signed up for this year! I'm doing "uncharted waters."
Thanks for the info! I just signed up..."It's winter where you are..." So excited!
Team
@Trueflight and @mwdebutante excellent! I cannot wait to see your books!!
Hey Molly :)

I'm home! yay!!!

I joined too, gonna do inanutshell! lol

mollybermea wrote:
@Trueflight and @mwdebutante excellent! I cannot wait to see your books!!
this is my second one, it was lots of fun the first time around :D
and Molly, we have the same theme!

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Search The Blog

Subscribe & Share

Our Latest Tweets

Attention #colourlovers: @Oreo is supporting #MissingTypes campaign! How do you like what they did with the logo fo… https://t.co/f4REHt659H
about 5 hours ago
Tweet this ArticleFollow @COLOURlovers

Latest Blog Posts

//View More ›

Tags

Latest Colors

//View More ›

Latest Palettes

//View More ›

Latest Patterns

//View More ›