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Side Projects

Sketchbook Project 2011: Things That Stick

Late last year I signed up for The Sketchbook Project so that I would have a fun extra-curricular activity to fill my spare hours with. The project is organized by Art House Co-Op, and the basic premise is as follows:

    • you buy a blank sketchbook (anybody can participate)
    • fill up your sketchbook according to the theme you chose when purchasing
    • send the sketchbook back to Art House Co-Op
    • all the sketchbooks that are sent in are taken on a national tour, after which…
    • sketchbooks are placed in the Brooklyn Art Library where they can be checked out

As these things usually go, my spare hours dwindled and I was soon left with a looming deadline to fill an entire sketchbook in 2 weeks. From the 20 or so pre-set themes, I had chosen “adhere to me”. So I titled my sketchbook “Things That Stick” and got to work.

Sometimes you just feel like a Label Maker Head.

Only a $5 ticket to get from Anthropologie to some foreboding mountains? Sign me up!

It's the in-betweens that are a stickler.

Grandma, get your gun!

Kind of Tetris-y, but that's not the song *I'm* thinking about.

Peanut butter Rorschach test. Mmmm, sticky.

It's true, I hate this page and almost covered it up, but then I didn't.

Ratty was followed by Ralph, Rufus, Rocky, and Rascal.

There are few things better than leftover campfire smell.

Boys and girls: wooden eyes and a fiery tongue.

Getting closer to that one song.

The guiltiest mosquito I ever did see.

I'm more of a mint person, but this will do.

Let's make this the new Rick Roll.

I knew that cop had somewhere to be.

I think this applies to everybody's experience of Junior High.

Well, duh.

I had to put my hand in traction after this page, and drink a tonic.

You know how it feels.

Thanks for reading "Things That Stick"!

After working so ardently on my sketchbook I was a little sad to see it go, but it was also a bit of a relief. I showed it to a few people who I thought would enjoy it before putting it in the mail, never to be seen again. It was a good exercise in doing something for the experience rather than the results.

Behind The Scenes & Making Of

Since I had procrastinated, the first order of business was to halve the number of pages in my Moleskin from 80 to 40 by doing a fake french-fold by double stick taping every other page together. After getting some basic pagination down, I had figured out that each left facing page would be found images from catalogs, stockbooks, etc., and the right facing pages would be accompanying text.

Tiny thumbnail pagination - good for helping keep all your thoughts in order.

Since I only had one sketchbook and therefore zero room for error, I sketched out most things before drawing or tracing it directly into the sketchbook. Some of the pages I like best (Grandma’s Gun, Boys & Girls, Dreams, A Good Book) were created on the fly with maybe just an outline of something that I then filled in without a plan. The sticky shadow page was inspired by a stint I spent filing at a previous job. After about 3 weeks, I felt like my own head had turned into the very same label maker I was using so diligently to organize an entire room’s worth of documents. I started drawing this poster in memory of what I called File-a-palooza, but never finished it. Here are few more in-progress sketches:

Most of the stock books I had were from Veer or House Industries circa 2003. I used my Whale of a Punch to punch out circles from various pages. The cover circles are from a hand holding a diamond ring, and the back side of the sheet gave me the little pink house on the Dreams page.

Punch, punch, punch.

If you’re interested in checking out the sketchbook project, the tour dates are listed on their website.

  1. Brendan commented on February 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm…

    This is absolutely beautiful!

  2. John commented on February 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm…

    Nicely done. Regretting not getting in on this…

  3. Gemma commented on February 15, 2011 at 3:56 am…

    Wow. Each pages is beautiful! nice work.

  4. Poisonberry commented on February 15, 2011 at 8:03 am…

    “Stick em up”
    Besides being utterly smitten with your handlettering …. that is my favorite one :D

  5. Shellie commented on February 15, 2011 at 8:45 am…

    LOVE it! Really wonderful work, MHR.

  6. Genevieve commented on February 15, 2011 at 9:13 am…

    You are more incredible with every project. I love this. Campfire smell is my favorite.

  7. Russ Horne commented on February 15, 2011 at 9:31 am…

    Love the type used on “Late Nights”, a fantastic collection of images. Sketchbook Project is a brilliant idea.

  8. Matthew Brown commented on February 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm…

    Wow… You’ve put so much time and effort into your sketchbook. Lots of planning too. It shows how neat, tidy and organized you must be! I was pretty happy how mine turned out, but after seeing your illustrations I’m inspired to do it all over again and push myself further next time!

    Your book is by far the best thing I’ve seen from the project so far. Congratulations!

    http://thingsfoundonrestaurantnapkins.tumblr.com/

  9. michelle commented on February 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm…

    So much talent!!! I need to go see it in real life!

  10. Mervi commented on February 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm…

    This is so beautiful! I’m a bit envious and a whole lot inspired.

  11. cali rezo commented on February 20, 2011 at 9:35 am…

    Very very beautiful! Thanks for sharing (:

  12. Smallx2 commented on February 20, 2011 at 9:04 pm…

    These are terrific!
    Love it!

  13. Amy commented on February 22, 2011 at 6:54 am…

    Amazing hand-lettering and your sense of design and humor are fabulous! I think Campfire Smell is my favorite: so true, especially in suede jackets. Also, you’ve inspired me to spend time planning my sketchbook project next time, instead of being all willy-nilly.

  14. Mette Hornung Rankin commented on February 22, 2011 at 8:11 am…

    @Amy – believe it or not, this project felt very willy nilly to me! Glad you enjoyed it; campfire smell is also one of my favorites.

  15. Melanie commented on February 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm…

    Wow, these are awesome! You have such a steady hand for linework :] I’m impressed that you planned out the sketchbook ahead of time; I feel mine would have been much more haphazard.