I know to some, crowd sourcing is a four letter word, but I think these user-submitted projects are worth checking out. For inspiration if nothing else. But user-submitted sites are only as good as the submissions, so please, if you have the time and will, try these sites out!

Paper Margin Screen Shot

Paper Margin

This is a website (and Facebook page, and Tumblr page) where people submit their doodles. Submitted doodles are posted once a week on Sunday. This would be good for anyone who still uses a phonebook, keeps a notepad by their phone, or has a problem keeping focused during long meetings. Perfect for the artist in everyone!

I would have been submitting stuff for this every day if anything like this was available to me when I was in high school. My notes were always littered with doodles of dragons and dinosaurs. Good thing I was an honour student and did well in school despite my wandering mind. Though I have since found out I contributed to a drop in marks to the people sitting behind me in class, watching me draw as opposed to paying attention in class. Oops.

There might be some controversy (besides contributing to the delinquency of wandering juvenile minds). When you upload your submission, you have to pick a privacy option. One is for the website only, the other allows for the potential publishing in a future book. That implies some financial gain for the owner of the site from other people’s work (such as it is). And I would imagine it unlikely that the people submitting their doodles would ever directly benefit financially from the publishing.

Personally, I am not too concerned about this as long as the privacy option is honoured. I imagine the financial gain from publishing a book of doodles would be pretty small. And there may be some benefit to people if their name and website is attached to the publishing. It already is for the website. And yes, the link backs do work in driving traffic. Though the amount is small as this is a fairly new site.

The Sketchbook Project

 The Sketchbook Project

I’ve already blogged briefly about these guys. The Sketchbook Project is both a physical and online library of submitted sketchbooks. Here’s a brief expert from their site:

The Sketchbook Project is a global, crowd-sourced art project and interactive, traveling exhibition of handmade books. Our mission is to allow anyone to be able to participate in art and to create a collection of work that represents the current state of artists worldwide.

And for anyone who thinks this is cool, but can’t draw, they have this to say as well:


Because we have people from all kinds of backgrounds in our community. From writers, to poets, to photographers, we use the word ‘sketchbook’ as a loose term for experimentation in creativity. Join tens of thousands of people in this global, traveling art library. See ya’ll on the road.

Everything submitted is available online for viewing. This project is also connected to the Brooklyn Art Library. There is also a Mobile library that travels North America (though mostly the USA) letting people browse the physical sketchbooks. Would be very cool if it ever shows up in Winnipeg. I can think of a number of artist and shared use spaces opening up here in the ‘Peg that would be thrilled to house such an event. Hint, hint.

The only catch is, you have to use one of their sketchbooks. I assume it is to help fund the project. And to ensure a certain amount of control over the size and page count of the books. Keeps it fair to everyone and probably makes it easier to house and showcase all the books if they are fairly uniform. They also have a small online store of merchandise and they offer educational discounts as well. Worth checking out!



I found out about this one quite by accident. Lately, I’ve been following a bunch of illustrators and animators on Twitter. Every day there were quite a few of them posting the same type of image. I was wondering why and then someone else on the list is as following asked much the a same question.

The answer: @Sketch_Dailies.

It’s a Twitter feed (and Facebook page) where every weekday at 11 Pacific Standard Time they will post a new topic. Weekends are catch up days for real diehards that didn’t have the time to complete their sketches during the week. Submissions use the hashtag #sketch_dailies and whatever the hashtag chosen for that day’s challenge.

The feed will retweet some submissions but those interested in following everything will have to search the appropriate hashtags. Even if this type of drawing isn’t your thing it is well worth the follow just for inspiration.

It is also the most intimidating as there are a lot of professional illustrators and animators who submit to this. I know from personal experience. It was hard to hit the “send” button, but worth it in the end!

Illustration Friday

Illustration Friday

This is the grand-daddy of online art projects. It seems like it has been around forever. Every Friday a new topic for art projects is chosen. And winners from the previous week are chosen. It’s open to ALL skill levels. And it looks like a wide variety of styles and skill levels are shown. I haven’t had the chance to send any submissions to this site yet, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. They also seem to post a lot of articles for the beginner artist and getting yourself established.

This is of course, only just the beginning. DeviantArt has many such groups. Even Reddit has a daily sketch group as well. Enjoy.