Sketchbook Project 2013

For the first time I had a sketchbook project without a theme. When I signed up the themes were very generic such as “sketchbook,” “chap book,” or “travelogue”. I assumed “sketchbook” would be the most fitting, but since it was an option, I chose, “undecided” so I could decide later. Before I sent off my book, I noticed that they added several more options for themes that were more like the themes they’ve offered in the past. Some of these are “dwellings,” “creatures,” and “lists”. Of the options offered, “diagrams” felt like it would fit the most as an after-the-fact choice, but it also didn’t feel quite right. I wonder if they’ll let me keep it as undecided?

As with the Sketchbook Project Limited Edition that I completed in 24 hours, I was down to just a couple of days until the deadline before I had a chance to start my 2013 submission. As luck would have it, I decided to use block printing as my technique for January’s daily patterns, so the choice to use the same stamps in the sketchbook was an easy one! This technique was even faster than the collages I created for the Sketchbook Project LE, and over the course of 2 days, I leisurely filled my empty book with lots of color, pattern and texture.

The cover was created bit by bit as I worked with various colors on the main pages of the book. I feel lucky that the composition turned out as balanced as it did!

Sketchbook Project 2012 Cover

The inside front and back covers were embellished with paint marker since I didn’t have time to carve stamps with all the letters or words I would have needed!

Sketchbook Project 2013 Inside Front Cover

Sketchbook Project 2013 Inside Back Cover

I named the project “Block & Print” to match up with the title pattern that started with “Lines & Grids” and “Cut & Create” of my last two Sketchbook Projects.

The inside back cover shares a hint of things to come. Notice I direct people to check out There isn’t actually anything there at the moment, but there will be! More news to come about that soon!

Most of the pages feature several colors and two or three different stamps, with printing on both sides of the spread. Often I printed the stamps quickly and then smooshed the pages together to make secondary impressions on the opposite page. Sometimes those secondary marks were pretty subtle, but they lend another layer of texture to the overall composition.

Pages 3-4

Pages 7-8

A few pages seemed “just right” after I finished up using one stamp with one color.

Pages 15-16

Pages 13-14

There was really only one spread that I felt was a little less than successful, and yet it is also one of my favorites in some ways!

Pages 11-12

I really love the way the pattern on the right of the stacked triangles turned out, and the bolder yellow print on the left would have been a good fit as its pair, but oh how I wish I hadn’t smooshed the wet yellow paint onto the triangles. The yellow smudges are a visual distraction that muddies up the bright pattern, and it would have been stronger without that extra element. That said, I recognize that this entire sketchbook really was a collection of printed sketches and experiments, and although in my mind this isn’t exactly “perfect” I can still appreciate it for the overall experience!

Take a look at the video of the entire book, with a little explanation of my process and some of the stamps!

Art House Co-op is restructuring the way they are going to do the next installations of the Sketchbook Project, focusing on specific tours with a certain number of spots available for each. I’m not sure if I will participate again or not. Maybe if a tour title “speaks to me” or something.

Have you participated in this or other Sketchbook Projects? Do you think you’ll participate in the future? If you have your 2013 book online, I would love for you to share a link in the comments!

9 Replies to “Sketchbook Project 2013”

  1. So gorgeous! Thanks for putting the video together so we could see the whole book. I love the bright colors. What kind of ink/paint did you use for this?

    1. Thanks! I actually used gouache! I haven’t had a chance to get to the art store to pick up block printing inks, and was getting tired of my semi-dried-out pink and black, so I used what I had. I mixed it with some Golden Acrylics retarder and a little water to thin it out. Not sure it’s perfect, but it’s good enough!

  2. I loved seeing the whole thing, loved the diamond pages, the dark purple one that looks like rain and the pages with the yellow-pink circles across a fantastic pink and blue pattern!
    Love the different bright colors, great job 🙂

  3. Such a beautiful sketchbook, Anika! I love the cover so, so much. I pinned it on Pinterest, if you don’t mind! Keep up the fantastic patterns. You are so talented.

  4. Another great sketchbook, Anika! I’m impressed by all the hand-carved stamps you made. They look great. I love the “diamond gem” stamp and the cover is really fun. I didn’t participate in the 2013 Sketchbook Project. I was disappointed by the Limited Edition “art books” and having completed three projects I felt done for the time being. But I really enjoy seeing other people’s books, so maybe one day I’ll try again. Your book is very creative, and I’m looking forward to

  5. Hi. I’ve just foud your blog, and I loooove this project – the concept and the results! such beautiful patterns you got there!
    I am willing to start my own pattern month, you inspired me! let´s see if I can do it 🙂

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