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Comments for Sketchtravel

Sketchtravel: 10/19/14

cover art

Sketchtravel by Gerald Guerlais is a beautiful reproduction of an actual sketchbook that traveled for five years and was shared by 72 artists.

The idea was simple: one artist could draw on any page her or she wanted and draw any subject. Then the book would be handed off to the next artist at some agreed upon meeting place. This process took the sketchbook, carried in a specially designed wooden box, 35,000 miles.

Interestingly, as the artists weren't told to draw on the page that corresponded to the order in which they were given the book, the book itself has a nonlinear narrative — if these drawings can be said to be a narrative. Thankfully, all of the drawings include the date when they were drawn, the name of the artist, and a short description or paragraph by the artist about the experience.

As time progressed, it seems the drawings became more and more elaborate. More often the later ones also include the book, done in red, as a character in the sketch. What had started as almost off the cuff dare to see if a pair of artist friends could get artists they admired to draw for them became something revered. Even the most well known of artists who come late in the project report a feeling of not being worthy of such a grand project. Meanwhile, among the earliest artists, there's a sense of regret at not predicting how important the book would become — and an almost universal wish to go back and redo the early drawings.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in sketching or in collaborative work. Would it be interesting to see what other professions could create?

Five stars

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