The Magical Traveling Sketchbook Project:
An Inner Circle Sisterhood Adventure in Creative Magic
It’s time for another enchanting community project!
This one was inspired by Linda Ogier, one of our Inner Circle Sisters, who posted a link to the official Sketchbook Project by the Brooklyn Art Library (BAL) in our Facebook group. (Thank you, Linda!) It immediately got my imagination going about how we could participate as a group! I’ve been waiting until the BAL launched the next official round of this project and that happy day has arrived sooner than I’d hoped. Woohoo!
What is it about and how will it work?
Our Magical Traveling Sketchbook Project will be a group contribution to the official Sketchbook Project hosted by The Brooklyn Art Library (BAL). I’ll purchase the project sketchbooks from the BAL and officially register us in the project. Each of you who participates will get a 2-page spread to fill out in one of our community sketchbooks and once you’re done, you’ll mail the sketchbook on to the next Inner Circle Sister your group’s list. I checked with the BAL and asked if we can do this as a community project since it’s normally done by individuals filling up an entire sketchbook on their own. BAL gave an enthusiastic YES! So we’re in.
Read through the info I provide below and if this sounds like something you’d love to do, there’s a button near the bottom of this page to register.
Do I have to be a member of the Inner Circle to participate?
Yes, but membership in the Inner Circle is free. If you’re not already a member, when you sign up for the project you’ll automatically become an Inner Circle member. You’ll receive issues of Field Notes, the newsletter I email to Inner Circle members, and will have access to our lively Facebook group and the Inner Circle membership group here on the Mojo Lab (it’s all free).
What goes into the sketchbook?
Ah, that’s the delightful part. Just about anything you want! The BAL offers several themes to choose from each year and I’ve selected “Connections” as the theme for our sketchbooks. It captures the enchanting connections we’re developing in the Inner Circle, as well as the connections we cultivate with Mama Nature, Spirit, creative magic, the Universe, our own communities, and the world at large. Yum!
Here are some ideas of what you could create on your 2-page spread (but you’re certainly NOT limited to these):
- a sketch! (pencil, pen, colored pencils, pastels, pastels, whatever you want!)
- a hand-written poem of your own creation
- a collage! You can use any images you want and embellish to your heart’s content with washi tape, glitter pens, flat emphemera, etc.
- a hand-written journal entry (maybe paired with a photo you took?)
- a whole page of your doodles
- a quote you love surrounded by collage, sketches, or other background of your choice
- an essay you write
- fold-outs, cut-paper creations, and such are also fair game (the outside sketchbook simply needs to retain its original 5″ x 7″ dimensions and no bulkier than 1 inch when when closed).
- Stamping and multi-media creations are also fair game.
- Pressed-flower and botanical art (as long as it isn’t bulky and lays pretty flat)
What if I’m not an “Artist” (with a capital “A”)?
No worries! This is NOT about “fine art.” This is about creative sharing and community. All that’s important is that whatever you put on your 2-page page is heart-felt and your own work ~ and uses our theme of “Connections” as the starting point. Participants in the official BAL Sketchbook Project range from elementary school kids, to doodlers, to art students, to scrapbook enthusiasts, and all the way up to professional artists and illustrators. All levels of skill and modes of expression are welcome. This project is about the delight in creating, not about perfection or artistic merit. None of the sketchbooks are judged or juried. Each is valued and accepted for their unique contribution to the collection at BAL. The same rules and creative freedom applies for our group sketchbooks.
How big are the sketchbooks?
Each sketchbook is 5″ x 7″ with 24 pages of 70# text-weight plain paper and bound with 18 pt chipboard made from recycled materials. Since there are 24 pages in each sketchbook, I’ll reserve the first and last pages for group info, leaving eleven 2-page spreads per sketchbook. That means one sketchbook will be filled by 11 of you. I’ll order as many sketchbooks as needed for everyone who signs up to participate.
Can I paint in the sketchbook?
Since the paper is 70-lb in thickness, direct watercolor or other wet media could buckle the pages you’re working on. So if you’d like to include a little painting (and it would be fabulous if you did), I’d recommend creating it on separate paper of good thickness (140-lb is a good weight to avoid buckling) and then glue it into the sketchbook on your pages. Very lightly applied watercolor washes directly on the sketchbook pages may work fine as background for other elements.
How long will I have the sketchbook before I have to send it on to the next Sister on the list?
You will have 10 days to create your 2-page spread in your group’s sketchbook before you have to mail it on to the next Sister. But I encourage you to jump right into it when it arrives and get it mailed out ASAP when you’re done. We also have transit time between each participant to consider and some of our Inner Circle Sisters live in different countries. I want to be sure to keep the sketchbooks moving along to the next person at a reasonable pace so when they’re finished they all come back to me on time.
I have to submit our sketchbooks to the Brooklyn Art Library no later than March 31, 2018. Before that deadline, I’ll need time to scan them all, load up the images to our private membership group to enjoy, register them with keywords and tags in the BAL’s digital catalog, and package and mail them off for curation. So I need to have all the sketchbooks back in my hands no later than March 1, 2018.
What if something comes up and I won’t be able to do my 2-page spread when the sketchbook arrives?
No worries! Things happen in our lives that we can’t always predict. Your group’s sketchbook could certainly arrive in your mailbox at a time when you’re sick or dealing with a life or work crisis. The key is to NOT hang on to it if you suspect you won’t be able to get your pages done on time. Simply mail it on to the next Sister on the list immediately with a note asking for the sketchbook to be returned to you at a later date (if that’s what you want). We’ll have a community forum for communicating and to keep track of where each sketchbook is at all times.
Also, if you know that you’ll be away from home on a trip when your group’s sketchbook is scheduled to come to you, you can simply request in the forum to have your name moved down your group’s list to a later date. Easy as pie.
What happens to our community sketchbooks at the end of the project?
Once each sketchbook has finished its travels to each of the participating Sisters, the last person on the list will mail it back to me. I’ll scan all the pages and post them in a special membership group I’ve created here on The Mojo Lab for all Inner Circle members to enjoy. Then I’ll enter all the details into the Brooklyn Art Library’s database and ship the sketchbooks to them for curation. They will become part of their permanent collection along with thousands of other sketchbooks from contributors all around the world! They’ll go on exhibit and can be viewed by visitors at the BAL. So so cool!
And no worries! Your address will NOT be public and will not be included when I submit the sketchbooks to the Brooklyn Art Library. Only the 10 other women in your sketchbook group and myself will see your address and only while the project is active.
What will it cost to participate?
- $3 (USD) to register, which covers a portion of the cost of the sketchbook and my shipping costs (each sketchbook is $30 a piece ~ which includes participation in the larger BAL Sketchbook Project ~ and will be shipped to me once I register us). This isn’t a income-earning project for me, just a big ol’ love bomb to each of you in our Inner Circle Sisterhood! So I’m only charging a small fee to cover the project costs and am donating my own time to coordinate it all.
- You’ll also need to pay postage when you mail the sketchbook on to the next Sister on the list. I’ll include with each sketchbook a list of the names and addresses of each participating Sister in your group. Please note: we have Inner Circle Sisters living all over the world, so you may need to pay international postage to send it to the next Sister on the list. Please be sure you’re okay with that before signing up. When shipping within the U.S. you are asked to mail the sketchbook (packaged to protect it) via Priority Mail (you can get free padded Priority Mail envelopes via the USPS website). Coast-to-coast Priority Mail postage within the U.S. for these sketchbooks typically runs between $6 and $8 (roughly), depending on packaging. If mailing to a Sister in another country, you are asked to pick the most reasonably priced option that will get the sketchbook to her in a timely fashion (usually delivery within 7 to 10 days is possible to most countries with regular Air Mail). Given the time constraints we will not be using USPS Media Mail or Ground Shipping options.
What’s the deadline to sign up for our Magical Traveling Sketchbook Project?
I’ll collect sign-ups until June 15, 2017.
When will it begin and when will the sketchbooks be sent out?
I’ll start sending out the sketchbooks on June 7 with the last one to be mailed on June 21, 2017. I’ll mail out each sketchbook to the first Sister on the sketchbook’s list (as soon as I have 11 women registered for that particular sketchbook). The last sketchbook will be sent out no later than June 21, 2017. Each sketchbook will circulate among 11 Sisters. I’ll compile the participant list for each sketchbook in order of registration. As one fills up, I’ll send it out to the first woman on the list and then begin a new sketchbook for the next group.
Sign up to participate!
This is a two-step registration process. In Step 1, you’ll set up a login and password for our membership group and pay the $3 (USD) participation fee, and then you’ll go to Step 2 to fill out a form to register for the project.
Will you join us in the Magical Traveling Sketchbook Project?
Just click the button above to get started!
You can find out more about the official Sketchbook Project at The Brooklyn Art Library here. And be sure to check out their rules here ~ we’ll have to abide by them for our sketchbooks to be curated with the project collection.
I’d delighted to help. Just send me a message through my Contact Form and include the subject “Sketchbook Project” with your message. I’ll get back to you pronto!