It was unexpected, but irresistible.
The Brooklyn Art Library, “a free museum where you can touch the art,” regularly opens up the chance to submit new material to the collection via the Sketchbook Project. It works this way:
1. Purchase a sketchbook. Select whether you would like to add it to the digital, online version of the library. (Considering I don’t live very near New York, and we live in such a web-heavy society, of course I wanted my book digitized.)
2. Receive your sketchbook in the mail. It will be an adorable little thing with a brown paper cover (5″x7″, my favorite size), made of recycled materials.
3. Do something. As long as you can put it into that book, just about anything goes. (They advise against the use of acrylic paints because pages may eventually stick together.)
4. Register your book online. Give your masterpiece a title, then add tags, choose a theme, and write a summary or artist’s statement.
5. Mail it back. Your sketchbook will spend it’s life with a host of other creative works from around the world, in the Brooklyn Art Library.
I’ll admit, I had a hard time figuring out what to do with my sketchbook once it arrived. It was a cute, unassuming 5″x7″ (my favorite size) with a brown paper cover and a stapled spine. It might have had fewer than 30 pages altogether, front and back. But, blank pages, however few or unassuming, are an intimidating thing to mess with.
Luckily, I managed to get over that fear — for the sake of both the project and my mental health — and what came out of it was great fun.
Allow me to introduce you to a couple beloved characters: York and Talitha.
York and Talitha are Rick’s and my original live-action role play characters. They come from a somewhat Tolkien-esque fantasy LARP, and lately we’ve been revitalizing them in the tabletop realm of Dungeons & Dragons.
High fantasy adventures can be entertaining, but I wondered what it would be like to place these characters into different genres or tropes–classic alternate universe situations. Pictured above, our heroes have thus far become 1700’s-era pirates, and modern paranormal hunters (a la Pirates of the Caribbean and Supernatural).
The Sketchbook Project became a motivator for a few different ideas. A while back, Rick thought about starting a web comic called Free Beer City, which would recount many of the adventures and goofy moments from the golden days of our LARP history. Through the Mists, in theory, would be a spin-off of that idea, detailing the wide open variety of places York and Talitha would be able to travel beyond our physical capabilities.
Because drawing takes a phenomenally long time, these stories might end up part-written series, part-comic — but I am excited to do more work on them and explore those possibilities.
I’ve ordered a small pack of travel journals, formatted similarly to the Sketchbook Project book, so keep an eye out for more LARP and web comic related content in the future!
And if you want your own artwork to be part of the amazing Brooklyn Art Library, now’s the time! Check out SBP vol. 15!