Sketchtravel – around the world, one sketch at a time
The premise behind Sketchtravel, a unique art project undertaken by Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi and Gerald Guerlais, is both straightforward and ambitious.
In September of 2006, the two artists thought of sharing a sketchbook with their friends, colleagues and other illustrators – a total of 71 of them all over the world.
What happened next probably exceeded their initial expectations. This red sketchbook literally traveled from one artist to the next; a trip that crossed 12 countries and lasted for 5 years.
I knew about Sketchtravel only after my friends and I won the book as one of the prizes in a local trivia quiz. When it was finally my turn to browse through it, I was awed by the masterpieces of each artist. Each page wonderfully captured the genius of its respective creator. The sketches/drawings/paintings/illustrations also differ in style, color and technique. Everything is almost random but you could still sense a common story woven in each.
There’s also a Filipino in the mix by the way. Jerome Opeña, a successful comic book artist, drew a eerily spectacular robot in one spread.
Hayao Miyazaki (of Spirited Away and Ponyo fame) then capped off the collection with an image of a plane in flight, a fitting conclusion to Sketchtravel’s very interesting and very long journey.
To say that Sketchtravel is a ‘beautiful compilation,’ would be a gross understatement however. It is definitely that of course, but what Daisuke, Gerald and all the other artists came up was also mind-blowing, staggering and awesome at the same time.
In October 17, 2011, the original Sketchbook was sold to an anonymous buyer for a whooping $97,160. Nine signed sketchbooks rounded the total amount to $105,488. The proceeds of the auction went to Room to Read. It was used to build children’s libraries in Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.