I love filling the very last page of a sketchbook and flipping back through it, the months of my life unfurling through its dog-eared pages. The meals, the trips, the incidents, the observations, the experiments and lessons all stacked up, encased in a cover festooned with souvenir stickers picked up along the way.
With a feeling of accomplishment, I put my old friend on the shelf, then crack open a new book, a blank slate filled with potential and a wee bit of anxiety. What do I put on its first page? That very first drawing has to be great – I don’t want to ruin it on the launch pad. A new book, a new companion, a new chapter in my life.
At Sketchbook Skool, we’re ready to turn over a fresh leaf too. For almost four years, we’ve published the SBS Blog, writing daily posts filled with ideas, discoveries, inspiration, interviews, tips, demos and recommendations, which we’ve sent out to tens of thousands of readers. I started the blog in 2013, Koosje contributed, then Suzan Colón took over as our Blogista and kept the virtual presses running day after day.
Recently, we decided to change things up and offer a new way of viewing art inspiration, all in one place.
We wanted to focus our efforts on daily posts to social media because that’s where most of our students and readers spend their time. But, being writers at heart, Suzan and I still wanted a place where we could share words on creativity, and Koosje had tips and recipes that needed a home, and Morgan, after two years of making the weekly Student Union videos, still wanted to share news of community doings.
The current convention is for companies to produce email newsletters. That’s sort of an icky term, reminiscent of investment firms and corporate communications departments. We wanted something that felt more creative, more in line with who we are.
Hence, a little hand-made magazine: a zine.
Zines are very much part of our DNA. Our newest teammate Amanda is a zine publisher. Koosje has published zines. So have many of our fakulty: Marloes, Jason, Andrea and Lapin. When Brian Butler talked about zines in his klass, students got so excited they started a collaborative zine of their own. I have a special spot in my heart for zines because of Dan Price — his Moonlight Chronicles first introduced me to illustrated journaling and changed my life some 20 years ago.
Zines are a great creative project, whether you do a one-off or publish regularly, print them at your local copy shop or do an e-zine like this one. I love the book Watcha Mean, What’s A Zine? Check it out for loads more inspiration, and to learn how to make a zine of your own.
This zine is a labor of love. We plan to fill its pages with the things we love — ideas, interviews, suggestions, tips, news about what’s going on in the klassroom, and long-winded essays like this one from me. We’ll probably bring out a new issue every couple of weeks, sometimes more often, occasionally less. I do hope you like it and find it useful, but either way, hey, we just gotta make — and so we are.
—Danny Gregory, SBS co-founder
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