The World’s Diary At Your Fingertips: The Brooklyn Art Museum Sketchbook Project


Journaling is chic again. With the resurgence of bullet journals and planners, everyone from the average college student to your grandmother has returned to the diaries of yesteryear, albeit with more of a focus on planning ahead or thinking critically than venting. But that isn’t to say that diaries totally disappeared before they started populating the racks of Michael’s en masse. Practically everyone has kept one, whether for a few days or a few years.


The Sketchbook Project recognizes this, and wants the world to recognize it, too.





Based in Brooklyn, the Sketchbook Project is located in the Brooklyn Art Museum and currently hosts 41,346 unique sketchbooks sent in by persons from over 101 countries. The premise is simple—an interested person purchases a notebook from the museum for about thirty dollars (which directly goes into funding the expenses of project maintenance) and decorates the notebook to their whim. As the title of the project suggests, many of the notebooks contain the portfolios of drawing artists, amateur and professional alike, but plenty contain tomes of poetry and photography as well. Some even blur the lines between categories (trigger warning for suicide). It can be considered one of the United States’ largest, still-ongoing collaborative art projects, offering itself as not only a resource to artists looking for inspiration but to persons often alienated from traditional gallery settings. The sketchbooks represent a wide variety of backgrounds and voices—and best of all, viewing the digitized versions of the journals is free through their website. Feel free to explore on your own. I guarantee you’ll find yourself being lost in the art of talented persons from across the world. But if you need a few to get you started, here are a few of my personal favorites that I’ve discovered on my time in the Sketchbook Project’s archives.


Self Made” by Ky:


(Trigger warning for rape and suicidal thoughts) “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (This Is Not What It Seems)” by h.m.c:



(Trigger warning for abuse) “Parts of the Whole” by Dawn Grahm:



Untitled” by Missy Maxwell:



Happy browsing!



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