The DART Sketchbook Challenge

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday October 26, 2022

Since DART: Design Arts Daily launched in September 2006, artist/illustrators and their sketchbooks have been a constant presence, starting with Peter Kuper’s Oaxaca Journal on November 10, 2006. The series continued with another 15 installments, which resulted in the publication of Diario de Oaxaca (Bilingual, PM Press, 2009)—a beautifully produced volume with a linen cover. The book saw some high visibility, and contributed to the development of Peter's solo show, INterSECTS, at the New York Public Library this year. Above: Vivienne Flesher's Sketchbook; below: Peter Kuper, from Oaxaca Journal, V.10

Along the way, it became clear that artist/illustrators were keen to share their thoughts on keeping sketchbooks, as this tip of the iceberg composite (below) show. 

So the inevitable has finally landed: subscribers and their artist friends are invited to join the DART Sketchbook Challenge. Here are the guidelines [there are no rules here]
• Get a sketchbook [even a stack of paper and a binder clip], and mark-making devices of your choice
• Start anytime before November 2 and count to 30
• Finish anytime before December 1
• Some days work fast and fearlessly—give yourself a time limit—15, 20, 30 minutes—depending on mood and matters
• Some days, take time to quietly work through color or composition ideas
• If you know you'll be super busy, it's ok to double up/pay forward
• Be Bold. Be Experimental. Draw like no one is watching. Be fast and messy. Do What You Would Not Do
• Post to Instagram with the tag #DART_sketchbook_challenge
• Post often: this is a collective creativity lab, open for fearless expression


A spread from Carol Fabricatore’s sketchbook.

I—like many other artists—can be very cerebral. In my case, time for personal work is fragmented and I often get too serious about what I might do. With that in mind, I set up some guidelines just to make an easier start: 
• Use watercolor every which way
• Choose three main colors, switching out to a new set of 3 every week
• Start early am with coffee before any devices are switched on 
(My personal tag is #Roalf30sketchbook)


Birgit Schössow likes seeing other artists’ sketchbooks, especially those who try to capture a scene with no concern for an audience, as if they’re working for the wastepaper bin.

Do what you need to do to keep it going. Share your thoughts on IG.  

In January, I’ll start a series of features—dialogues about the project and what came out of it. Maybe we’ll even have a party!

Special thanks go to Carol Fabricatore and Dominic Bodden who joined forces to get this idea off the ground, and to Mark Heflin, Director,, who gives his support.

And don’t forget to get your tickets for The Party—the annual celebration of AI, AP and IMAA, at Angel Orensanz Foundation. Info

To subscribe to DART, please go here