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A Sketchy Experience in Los Angeles

MTM loves him some sketchbooks. Moleskines. Leather bound journals. Museum folios. Handmade pages bound in glass.

The last one in the list was a gift from me. To commemorate my Natchez Trace walk, I bought MTM a Donna Branch. We decided to use it on this trip to record memories and messages from our 10th anniversary.

photo 1

That’s why our first day stranded in Los Angeles was fitting. I perused the LACMA website and found this:

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The Sketchbook Project is a traveling library of art books. We got our library card and checked out dozens of sketchbooks. On moods. On architecture. On landscapes. On seasons. On stories. Random bits of the lives of those who created them, captured between two cardboard covers.

Anyone can buy a bar-coded sketchbook like the one pictured at Participants customize the blank slates however they like before mailing them to the Brooklyn Art Library for inclusion in the 2015 traveling show. Every time someone checks out a book, the creator gets a message that it’s been viewed.

I can’t wait to get started on my 2015 sketchbook submission. What would you put in YOUR sketchbook, Dear Reader? I’d love to have some company in the 2015 traveling show.


To view photos of the Sketchbook Project’s stop at LACMA, click here: Andra Watkins Tumblr

27 Comments Post a comment
  1. That is too cool. I am going to go visit that site now. I share MTM’s love of the notebook and sketchbook. Does he use only certain pens in them? We know in general he has prefered pens – does that hold true for these notebooks also? My current preference is for Lamy fountain pens with extra fine nibs.

    May 31, 2014
    • I hope you got one for yourself and one for Nancy. I’m really excited about what I’m going to do with mine. (And such an idiot for posting this as MTM this morning. I wrote it on his computer, and I’m just too whupped at this point to proof anything.)

      May 31, 2014
      • I ordered one. Once we see it and talk about it we may order another, or maybe we will just share this one. Seems like a thought provoking project. I want to see yours and MTM’s when done.

        Are you going to use a special writing instrument?

        May 31, 2014
  2. I am constantly in my journal. Instead of writing the date for every entry, I use my age and the number of days I’m into that year. For example, today, May 31, 2014, would be 64 + 70d. That’s a daily thing. A lot of it is pretty banal, but it’s also where I write my poems. If I could actually sketch something, I’d probably to that, too. But my gifts do not include drawing.

    May 31, 2014
    • That’s really cool, Jim. What’s interesting about this project is that you can do whatever you want with it: paint, draw, color, insert photographs, cut holes and shapes in the pages. There are no restrictions other than the journal cannot be more than an inch think when you submit it. I can’t draw either, but I already know what I’m submitting in mine.

      I wish I could write longhand, but my fingers keep up with my mind better when I type.

      May 31, 2014
  3. tarakianwarrior #

    As I’ve said many times. You inspire me.

    May 31, 2014
    • I hope you’ll get one and do it, Lori. It would be really awesome if several of us did one and had them touring together.

      May 31, 2014
  4. i love this and i like to write in my moleskin ) with pen.

    May 31, 2014
    • One of my random selections was a five year old’s sketchbook. I thought of you and your kindergartners. πŸ™‚

      May 31, 2014
  5. Hmmmm… I did not know about this. Now I do. I guess I need to get one of those sketchbooks and do something, hmmmmm? Don’t mind me – just talking to myself (again)… Hmmmm…

    May 31, 2014
    • I wonder if they have them at Brooklyn Art Library?? It’d make a nice little day trip for you.

      May 31, 2014
  6. How cool! Thanks for telling us about them.

    May 31, 2014
  7. That book is just gorgeous! What a thoughtful gift. So excited for the two of you to fill it with beautiful memories.

    May 31, 2014
    • I’ve tried to resist putting anything in until we get there. We got these incredible red paint pens as part of buying sketchbooks for next year’s Sketchbook Project. I hope to use those somehow.

      May 31, 2014
  8. Honestly, I’d put in portraits of my characters. Before I begin a novel I draw the main POV folks. Sometimes art is better than words:)

    May 31, 2014
    • I think that’s a PERFECT idea, Nancy. I hope you’ll get one and submit it.

      May 31, 2014
  9. Carlos Ovalle #

    You were stranded in Los Angeles? I would have loved to take you guys out for a drink, or a quick tour. Next time!

    June 1, 2014
  10. I have never heard of sketchbooks until now. How interesting….

    June 1, 2014
  11. hihohiho #

    Gordon did one a few years ago. Filled it with lovely little watercolors.

    June 1, 2014
  12. Very cool. I’ll think on it, since most of my time right now is getting down and dirty in the gardens, I guess I would put in GARDENS!

    June 1, 2014
  13. Feliz Aniversario to the two of you love birds! Maybe once my nest is empty, I will have time to do such a fun project! πŸ™‚

    June 1, 2014
  14. That’s really cool, but somehow I’d feel like I was betraying the stacks of hand bound journals I’ve made, all waiting for me to write something in them. Maybe I’d sketch though, and see where the wind takes me.

    June 2, 2014
  15. Whoa. That is so cool. Must go to the site right now, can’t take to answer questions. This is an emergency. Will tell you later what I might draw. Over and out.

    June 3, 2014
  16. That is seriously cool.

    June 4, 2014

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