The Sketchbook Project

The Sketchbook Project in the Brooklyn Art Library is the world’s largest collection of crowdsourced sketchbooks and an incredible source of ideas and inspiration.

6 Sep 2017

The Sketchbook Project

Being a designer means being a very visual person, so discovering The Sketchbook Project – the world’s largest collection of crowdsourced sketchbooks - came as a very pleasant surprise. Founded in 2006 by Steven Peterman and Shane Zucker, the Brooklyn Art Library which houses the collection now boasts over 36,000 sketchbooks contributed from creatives in over 135 countries. Having an online digital library also makes it an always accessible source of ideas and inspiration.

The Sketchbook Project works by providing collaborators with a blank sketchbook and a choice of themes for their creations to fill the sketchbook with before returning it to the library. There are dozens if not hundreds of themes range anywhere from broad suggestions such as ‘Mystery’ to the quirkier ‘Science Project Gone Wrong’ making for a strong collection of unique creative experiments, doodles and masterpieces.


What’s more is the clear benefits to both readers and collaborators.

Being able to see inside a stranger’s sketchbook means having an insight into their thought process and seeing how they develop from one concept to the next, which is invaluable as a creative because it inspires new ideas, perhaps new ways of seeing and understanding things or learning from the artist or their mistakes. It’s refreshing and sometimes far more interesting to see raw ideas and sketches and the amount of content available when we get so used to seeing perfected illustrations and artwork on Instagram and Pinterest.


For collaborators, it gives you more purpose and direction for your sketchbook. This can motivate people who need direction to get started, inspire people who use their sketchbook for storytelling or help focus people who want to use it to learn and grow. Whatever the motivation is for wanting to take part in the Sketchbook Project, one of the biggest benefits for collaborators is in actually making time to use a sketchbook in their spare time. Being creative without any pressures or expectations means more experiments and ideas can be explored and pushed further, which means practicing unrestrained creativity to be more creative, which is always a bonus and something we strive for here at Icon.


To find out more about The Sketchbook Project or get involved, click here

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