The Sketchbook Project World Tour
What you need when the whole world draws you in
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
11:00AM, Tue. Jun. 2, 2015
You don’t have to go all the way to Brooklyn to get a good piece of this thing.
Sure, that storied, hipster-ridden, rapidly gentrifying borough of New York is the only place in which you can experience the entire project all at once – we’re not denying that. As Chris Jobson, editor-in-chief of Colossal, puts it:To set foot inside the Brooklyn Art Library is to be surrounded by a phalanx of floor-to-ceiling shelves containing thousands upon thousands of artists’ sketchbooks. With plenty of chairs and tables for reading, discussion, and unexpected discoveries, the library is warm and welcoming. It is the bustling home of The Sketchbook Project, one of the most fantastic global art projects I have ever been involved with.
Which means that 1) there’s a Sketchbook Project World Tour compilation from Princeton Architectural Press, and 2) you can acquire a copy of the gorgeous volume yourself.
We’re not writing this to suggest that acquiring a copy isn’t worth your time or money: We’re writing this to suggest that it is, totally.
We’re writing this because our own eyes are still, days later, grateful for having perused the 256-page, full-color, oversized paperback. Because the book is filled with page after page after page of examples from those myriad, diverse sketchbooks from people all over the world, and it’s like getting a guided tour of some Global Museum of Indie Illustration and Creative Graphic Expression right there on your favorite coffeetable.
You want us to pick a nit, here? To provide some negative comment, the better to support our otherwise positive exhortations? Okay: There’s no index. There’s no section at the end of the compilation that lists each artist and the page on which their sketchbook is excerpted, and we would’ve liked that, especially if a sketchbook of our own or the sketchbook of a friend had been included here; because then we could easier guide people directly to those pages when they’re looking at the thing.
And that’s it: That’s the only, like, “fail” that we can find. Because the book’s already got a context-providing set of introductions and is nicely divided into geographical sectors – continents, actually – the better to get a sense of region-specific graphic trends, and all the excerpts are credited by name and location, and so we’re only wanting that extra bit of convenient ego-satisfaction in addition. Because we’re all suffused with, what, a relentless sense of entitlement or something?
We’re checking ourselves here, now. Because we’ve got this copy of the Sketchbook Project World Tour compilation from Princeton Architectural Press, and it’s giving us a wealth of visual wonderment and a renewed appreciation for how the impulse for vivid personal expression is (of course) beyond all borders.
Verdict: This book provides a good long look at the grass-roots-level creative world, and it’ll reward repeated perusals for years to come.