My Chat with Steven Peterman of The Sketchbook Project


Have ya’ll heard of The Sketchbook Project? If not, then let me give you a brief introduction: it’s a Brooklyn-based company that organizes collaborative endeavors. They gained fame with The Sketchbook Project, which is a crowd-sourced library that features over 31,000 (!!) artists’ books contributed by people around the world. Currently, they have that and other challenges for you to participate in.

I had the opportunity to chat with Steven Peterman, the co-founder and director of The Sketchbook Project, about it and their newly-launched website. It allows you to connect with artwork and artists in a more digitally engaging way.

the sketchbook project

The Sketchbook Project was first started in 2006 while Steven and his friends were in collage. He said they were trying to come up with ways to make “gallery space less intimidating and more accessible,” and this idea was the one that stuck. It also became insanely popular, growing from 2,000 sign ups at the beginning to 20,000 in 2010 (it currently has between 8,000 and 10,000 people participating). The gain in numbers was organic, as Steven explains that people want to be apart of a community.

Digital-and-In-person-SearcIf you want to view the sketchbooks in person, you can do so at the Brooklyn Art Library; it houses the collection in physical form. But, what if you can’t make it all the way to Brooklyn? Have no fear – this is where the website redesign comes in.  With the extensive digital library, you can browse the books from anywhere in the world. Steven was telling me all about it – you can create collections, share work that you like, and even search by theme. It’s a way to promote creatives that you love and even find new people to collaborate with.


the sketchbook project

So, check it out! One thing that Steven mentioned was the similarities you see among books and projects from disparate people. It’s interesting how trends – colors, imagery, patterns, and more – permeate culture and are expressed throughout the world. This is expressed with as simple as the same fabric on the cover or the same thematic images.