In 2006, illustrator Gérald Guerlais and Pixar art director Daisuke Tsutsumi humbly conceived a project called Sketchtravel, intended to connect artists throughout the world through one sketchbook. Almost 6 years, 71 artists, and 35,000 miles later, Chronicle Books has given us the opportunity to appreciate the effort it took to fill one book with the talent of dozens of renowned artists in Sketchtravel.
The concept was a deceptively simple one: pass around a single sketchbook among the global art community, with each artist filling one page. Perhaps most importantly, the book would only be exchanged by hand, making artists from the United States, Japan, France, and beyond connect in person. It took nearly five years to complete the book, but the result is an incredibly inspiring coffee table book that cultivates a variety of talent, art styles, and cultures from all over the world.
Pixar’s Daisuke ‘Dice’ Tsutsumi and Gérald Guerlais headline the book alongside Fabien Simode and The Art of Toy Story 3 author Charles Solomon, who pen a pair of solid introductions. Of course, the text isn’t the focus of Sketchtravel. A diverse pool of 71 artists were selected by Tsutsumi and Guerlais for the project; Pixar fans may recognize Bill Presing, Enrico Casarosa, Ronnie Del Carmen, Carter Goodrich, Daniel López Muñoz, Robert Kondo, and more. Other great artists like Mike Mignola, Bill Plympton, Glen Keane, Quentin Blake, and even Hayao Miyazaki also contribute pages.
What’s more important than the star power, though, is the varied and striking art. Many participants chose to employ the idea of the sketchbook as an element within their drawings, but Daisuke and Gérald placed no restrictions on the content of the pages. The results range from simple gag drawings to stunning landscapes. There are intricate pencil sketches, marker and pen drawings, watercolors, and even collages. The array of mediums and subject matters is, if nothing else, an awe-inspiring snapshot of the colorful artistic community. Some may be put off by the lack of a consistent style or theme, but to me that’s one of the most telling results of the project. The world is a diverse place, and Sketchtravel illustrates that brilliantly.
Aside from the introductory texts and some brief words from each illustrator, there’s not much in Sketchtravel beyond the art. If you’re a fan of many of the artists or just want a dose of inspiration, though, Sketchtravel is a must-own. Seeing so many people come together out of a pure love for art is something special, and the end product is just as invigorating.
Let us know your thoughts if you pick up Sketchtravel!