Magpie’s Shiny Things: February 19, 2011

This weekend will bring some much needed rest and relaxation my way and some artistic fun. Today, Art House’s Sketchbook Project 2011 tour begins. I heard about this event a few weeks ago and it really got me excited. As a stick-figure-drawing person who wishes she could translate what she sees in her mind to canvas or paper, I am always impressed with artistic ability. The Sketchbook Project features over 28,000 artists from 94 countries.

“It’s like a concert tour, but with sketchbooks.”

For the artists who entered, the rules are simple. They are sent a blank Moleskine sketchbook. They must use the book in some way without changing its original dimensions. Each book is given a barcode and catalogued into The Brooklyn Art Library system. Whenever someone checks the sketchbook out during the event, it is scanned and the artist can track online how many people have viewed the book.

The tour begins in Brooklyn, New York this week and then moves on to other cities around the country. Following are a few samples that caught my eye. Click here to view others.

Note: Art House sponsors other projects throughout the year. The next project open for entry (just 9 days left to sign up) is the Fiction Project.

By KamikazePilot

Click a graphic to go to the corresponding webpage.

By Sasha_Kiseleva



By Brushmarq


By Linsart




  1. February 19, 2011 at 6:04 am

    My favorite here is the one by Linsart. I adore color and pattern so this speaks to me. I’m trying to understand the project…do you have one of these sketchbooks at your house and you’re adding a drawing or two? Sounds cool.

    I am taken by these projects that collect people.

    • February 19, 2011 at 10:23 am

      No, I don’t have a sketchbook. I wouldn’t know where to begin. But I’d like to get to this event to check out some of these books in person. Maybe it will loosen up my brain.

  2. girlboxing said,

    February 19, 2011 at 7:26 am

    What wonderful and whimsical collection! Enjoy the day!

    • February 19, 2011 at 10:23 am

      Thanks, GB.

      • girlboxing said,

        February 22, 2011 at 8:45 am

        How was the show? I wanted to get over there, but was “snowed under” with a paper.

      • February 22, 2011 at 8:47 am

        I haven’t gone yet. It’s on till next weekend. Sunday was too brutally windy and cold to venture out. I wanted a day when we could walk around outside a bit, too.

  3. Mommarge said,

    February 19, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Interesting pictures. The Kremlin brings back memories of my recent trip there, also in the rain, but that doesn’t lessen the beautiful colors of the buildings and churches.

  4. Linda Lewis said,

    February 19, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I do believe my daughter is one of the 28,000. That’s a lot of sketchbooks! It was a fun project for her and one she could work on while babies were sleeping.

    • February 19, 2011 at 10:26 am

      Oh, that’s great! Has she posted her work anywhere on line?

      • Linda Lewis said,

        February 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm

        She will be listed as Holly Hudley or HL Hudley when the site is up and running.

      • February 19, 2011 at 4:06 pm

        Great! Thanks for letting me know. I stopped by her blog today, by the way. Loved the “story book” about her relationship.

      • February 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm

        Linda, I take that back. I visited your other talented daughter’s website today. 🙂

        I just took a peek at a few pages Holly has up at Sketchbook. I love that she collects things that belonged to other people and creates a new story out of them. Very cool.

  5. Richard said,

    February 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

    It’s a great idea. I wish I’d entered. I love that killer carrot! 😀

    • February 19, 2011 at 11:04 am

      There’s always next year. In fact, I think I may put it on my “things to do” list. Now I just have to learn how to draw.

  6. Val Erde said,

    February 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I just missed this project by about a week, having seen it on an artist’s blog I read – before that I’d never heard of it. I am hoping that I might remember to do it next year. Now how on earth to remind myself?! Thanks Margaret for this post, I love the examples you’ve chosen to show in your post.

    • February 19, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      I will remind you, Val. I am creating a handy dandy Outlook task with reminder. 🙂

      I think I heard about this from a blog I found on your links page.

  7. bronxboy55 said,

    February 19, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    I find it both humbling and inspiring to see such a collection of talent. Thank you, Margaret. Are you thinking of participating in the Fiction Project?

  8. Zahara said,

    February 19, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I love it, but I don’t get it yet. Does one artist fill the entire sketchbook, or does it get passed around? And then, do you check the book out like a library book and keep it for a while to look at?
    Thanks for sharing this fun project.

    • February 19, 2011 at 10:40 pm

      Each artist gets a sketchbook to complete. I’m not sure if you can check the sketchbooks out of the building or if you just view them there. I guess I’ll find out when I go.

      Note to self: Do not write blog posts after midnight. Clarity takes a nose dive.

  9. February 20, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    If I had an artistic bone in my body, I would do that. It looks really fun. Mine would have macaroni and glitter glued to the pages 😉 I love the colors in the last one. I love purples but I have to avoid them because my husband grew up with The Purple People and has developed an aversion to the color. My in-laws entire house is purple, the car is purple and as kids they were all dressed in purple all the time. I laughed so hard that I cried once when we were looking through Steve’s old schoolwork. He had drawn his family in Kindergarten as purple stick figures. Everything in the pic was purple, even the sun.

    • February 20, 2011 at 9:27 pm

      That is so funny. I’m going to assume it’s your MIL who loved purple. Did you ever find out why she was so obsessed with the color?

  10. February 24, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    UPDATE: We went to the Brooklyn Art Library today for the Sketchbook Tour. It was nice. I would have preferred being able to browse through the sketchbooks and picking the ones I wanted to view.

    The way it actually works: You tell them which theme you are interested in and four books are selected for you. I selected the theme “Mystery Maps” but the sketchbooks I viewed didn’t have much art in them. They were more like journals.

    However, my son selected “It’s raining cats and dogs” and he viewed two books that were really cute–one was in the style of a children’s book about a little girl who is bored on a rainy day; the other featured sketches of cats and dogs on pages that had increasing numbers of raindrops cut into the pages.

    After viewing the sketchbooks, we had to stop next door for a quick look at the chocolate factory that was blowing the most awesome scent into the art library. They had all kinds of interesting chocolate samples to taste. Pure heaven.

    Had it been a warmer day, we would have taken a long walk up Bedford Avenue to peer into shops and find an interesting restaurant. As soon as spring officially arrives, I’ll be heading back that way for further exploration.

  11. Ahab said,

    March 2, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    I’m especially fond of the rabbit-eating carrot picture. Thanks for sharing!

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