Offbeat Library: Peek Inside Artists' Sketchbooks | NBC Southern California

Offbeat Library: Peek Inside Artists' Sketchbooks

A truck full of drawing-packed tablets'll pull up to LACMA, for two days only.

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    The Sketchbook Project
    The Sketchbook Project -- a peek inside the sketchbooks of myriad artists -- visits LACMA on Friday, May 30 and Saturday, May 31.

    Libraries are filled with books of all sorts, it's true, but one category of book you're not apt to see in profusion are artists' personal sketchbooks.

    Oh, sure, you'll find books filled with reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci's sketches, and a few tomes celebrating the early first drafts of famous masters. But what of the myriad modern sketchbooks that artists are currently drawing in as they wile away an hour in a coffeehouse or mall? Illustration-and-thought-filled sketchbooks are typically found in a person's bag, not a library shelf.

    There is an exception, though. It's the traveling Sketchbook Project Mobile Library, which is, in essence, a nicely tricked-out truck lined with an array of sketchbooks from thousands of different artists. "Library" is key here, as visitors may apply for a library card and "check out" sketchbooks to peruse, read, admire, giggle at, ponder, and return.

    The on-the-road library will stop at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art during the early evening of Friday, May 30 and the afternoon of Saturday, May 31.

    The library card? Free. So the looking/enjoying? Also free.

    The project, which started in Atlanta in 2006, now is based in Brooklyn. Over 31,000 artists are featured in the revolving library.

    Whoa? Whoa.

    "Each book is cataloged and searchable by theme, medium, geographic location, and unique tags the artists have created for their books... Imagine a food truck not stocked with tacos, but with artist sketchbooks filled with mixed-media drawings, creative musings, and personal histories!"

    We can imagine. And we know that this is a trip into a personal world. Consider that in films like "Ghost World" and "Titanic," where the sketchbooks of the main characters are figured quite prominently, sketches are a window into their imaginations and minds.

    Consider an hour spent with the Sketchbook Library a trip into a few individuals' personal interior landscapes.

    Really, you can only peek over so many coffeehouse artists' shoulders for so long. Best to sit with a sketchbook for awhile and savor.

    The Sketchbook Project Mobile Library from Art House Co-op on Vimeo.

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