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Calling all artists & illustrators

Are you an artist, out to make your mark on the world but struggling to find the place to do it?  Then we’ve got exactly what you’re looking for.

Sketchbook STUDIO is looking for artists to use our free studio space for two weeks during our live event. We encourage you to create the most inventive, unrestricted pieces your imagination will allow. Feel free to experiment with a multitude of artistic mediums, including illustration, painting, sculpture and film. Sketchbook Studio is your blank canvas and we want your creativity to run wild all over it. Working over the course of two weeks,  you will have the opportunity to be interviewed by members of the Sketchbook team whilst the general public can come and observe you at work.

Your final piece will be exhibited at the Sketchbook Studio launch party, where it can be auctioned off for charity if you choose. The launch party will be the ideal end to Sketchbook Studio, with 300 guests, live music, cupcakes and drinks marking the end of our two-week reign. 

Being part of Sketchbook Studio is the ideal chance to introduce your talent to the world and to build up a valuable list of contacts which could benefit you further in your career.

These are the themes with which we would like the artists to work for Sketchbook Studio:

Theme 1 – Menagerie ‘creatures of habit’

• Menagerie – A collection of animals and a form of keeping common and exotic animals in human captivity.

• Creatures of habit – creatures that are extremely used to their own habits and do not function well without them.

Theme 2 – ‘Edit’

• To modify or adapt so as to make suitable or acceptable

• To supervise the publication of (a newspaper or magazine, for example).

• To assemble the components of (a film or soundtrack, for example), as by cutting and splicing.

• To eliminate; delete:

Theme 3- ‘Transition’

• A passage in a piece of writing that smoothly connects two topics or sections to each other.

• Music a momentary modulation from one key to another.

• Physics a change of an atom, nucleus, electron, etc., from one quantum state to another, with emission or

absorption of radiation.

You will have to provide your own equipment for the duration of two weeks, and choose a time-slot between 10am and 6.30pm each day.

If you would like to be involved in the event, please forward images of your work to:


Images of the space



Sketchbook has landed @ Earl’s Court!

Sketchbook has landed! As of today, Sketchbook will be residing at the Clothes Show Live in Earl’s Court. For the last two days a dedicated team of Sketchbook-ers have been busy, working away re-creating a 60s Carnaby Street exhibition featuring work by Sketchbook’s chief illustrator, Annie Driscoll.

Already, flocks of visitors have been transported back to London’s swinging sixties enjoying live music provided by our house band, Eighteen Nightmares in Lux and hair and make-up by the Powder Room.

So if you’re in town this weekend, make sure you search through the maze that is the Clothes Show Live and find Sketchbook under the the ‘Welcome to Carnaby Sreet’ sign, we’ll be welcoming you with open arms!

Wafa arriving late, fashionably, of course.

Eighteen Nightmares in Lux doing what they do best.

Clothes Show visitors evidently enjoying the Sketchbook exhibition.

Annie and Laura immersed in their work.

Amy getting a sixties-esque beehive courtesy of The Powder Room.

The Sketchbook set.

Sketchbook huddle!





Sketchbook’s Bi-Monthly Newsletter has launched

Sketchbook Magazine is proud to introduce its new bi-monthly newsletter which we feel is a must read for all you Sketchbook enthusiasts.

Twice a month we will be relaying all of Sketchbook’s biggest and most need-to-know news. Expect updates from the magazine, blog, Sketchbook TV and the hottest projects we’ll be involved with over the coming months.

On top of all that, we’ll be sharing with you exciting work and collaborative opportunities. So whether you’re a budding writer, a cracking illustrator or an aspiring designer jump on the Sketchbook Newsletter bandwaggon and keep yourself updated and be the first to know. Do not miss out!

If you would like to subscribe to our brand spanking new, creative newsletter please send your email address to or and never miss a Sketchbook moment again.

Blog on.

Text: Fiona Davies





The hyped and long awaited second issue of leading fashion illustration magazine, Sketchbook, is now at your fingertips. After an exciting Fashion Blogger Issue featuring interviews with some of the world’s finest talents and celebrating the fashion blogging phenomenon, we knew we had to deliver a spectacular follow up. What better way to do this than introducing to you the London Fashion Designer Issue. Another issue full with the most talked about designers, illustrators and photographers around today. To keep with our first issue’s theme, we generated 14 different layouts to find the perfect representations of cover stars.


Part One: Henry Holland


Part Two: Prince Pelayo



Press Release

Public Opening: 31st March 2010

Leading fashion illustration magazine Sketchbook to launch Pop-Up Shop in the Newburgh Quarter

Celebrating 50 years of fashion and music in the Newburgh Quarter of Carnaby


16th March 2010 / London, UK: Sometimes we all need a bit of guidance, and it’s no different in the creative industries. All too often young creatives take their first leap into the ‘real world’, pens in hand, only to find nowhere to land. The Sketchbook Pop-Up Shop aims to provide the necessary guidance and inspiration for these lost souls.

Nestled in the East Quarter of Carnaby, central London, the Newburgh Quarter is a treasure trove of unique projects and inspiring people. The area is packed with independent boutiques showcasing unique fashion, art and design. It is here at 10 Newburgh Street, Carnaby, W1 that Sketchbook will be holding its hugely-anticipated Pop-Up Shop, in celebration of Carnaby’s 50 years of fashion and music, with live bands playing every Sunday.

The Sketchbook Pop-Up Shop will run for a limited period of 3 weeks following the launch of the second issue of Sketchbook Magazine. This community driven project offers visitors a chance to interact with a series of Sketchbook’s contributing guest bloggers, artists, designers, illustrators and editors who are all key figures in the contemporary fashion and arts community. These guests, including Sketchbook’s covergirl Susie Bubble, will be holding scheduled educational workshops, lectures and discussions, which will be digitally streamed through an interactive live thread.  Other guest speakers include bloggers Leon Bailey Green and Style Salvage Steve, fashion designers Maria Francesca Pepe, Yan To and Ara Jo, editor of TWIN Magazine Becky Smith, founder of luxury e-commerce site Dia Boutique, Rasha Khouri and many more.

Discussion Panels include:


Explore the differences, benefits, and drawbacks of print and online publications. Confirmed guests include blogger Susie Bubble.


Come in and learn what sets online-only stores apart from the

in-store.  Confirmed guests include Founder of online store Dia Boutique, Rasha Khouri.


How can bloggers build a relationship with brands, while maintaining their integrity and credibility as a blogger. Confirmed guests include blogger Leon Bailey Green.

Sketchbook will also be hosting a series of talks under the theme of 'GETTING STARTED' through out the three weeks. This will be a unique opportunity to listen to designers and industry professionals offering advice to young creatives trying to break into the industry. Confirmed guests include designer Maria Francesca Pepe, Yan To and Ara Jo.

Throughout this period, the Sketchbook Pop-Up Shop will be selling several limited edition prints and illustrations as well as kitch one-off art pieces.

A competition will also be running throughout, offering visitors the opportunity to submit illustrations to be used on the front cover of a future issue. The winner will be announced in the following month.

Visitors are also invited to help document the events, with cameras available and a large blank canvas for people to illustrate, write their thoughts, stick photos on and show their support.

Sketchbook is a quarterly magazine with a print run of 10,000 that showcases established and emerging creative talents in fashion, design and culture with a focus on features, photography and illustration. Sketchbook is not just about the product itself, but also about the beauty of the process of conceptualisation, creation and appreciating the means to an end.

The mission is to inspire youth to path-find, allocate their passions, understand how the creative industry works, what opportunities it provides, and pursue it full force using online resources, digital media and publishing as tools for success.

Starting from the 31st March, join Sketchbook for the first exhibition at the Pop-Up Shop, showcasing the work of key contributing illustrators. For updates on scheduled talks please visit

10 Newburgh Street, Carnaby, London W1F 7RN.

Wednesday 31st March – Monday 19th April 2010

Monday to Saturday: 10am-7pm, Sundays: 12noon-6pm

To reserve seats or request more information please contact:

Alternatively, please contact Rachel Menashy:



Sketchbook’s 1st Pop-Up Shop

Yesterday morning, with the Sketchbook editors, a camera and a tape measure in-tow, I visited the new Sketchbook store! We will be ‘popping up’ in the Newburgh Quarter of Carnaby at the end of this month to bring you an inspiring, creative and interactive pop-up shop. During this time we will be hosting a series of workshops, lectures and discussions, joined by a selection of key industry guests such as our original covergirl SUSIE BUBBLE.

The two-storey space will include an exhibition area, a lecture room, a workshop space, a Sketchbook shop and two screening areas. We will be showcasing the work of a carefully selected group of illustrators who we have previously worked with.

Visitors are also invited to help document the events, with cameras and a large blank canvas available for people to illustrate, share their thoughts, stick photos on and show their support. A competition will also be running throughout the exhibition offering you the opportunity to submit illustrations to be used on the front cover of a future issue of Sketchbook Magazine. If that’s not enough to tempt you to visit, in true Sketchbook tradition, there will be tea and cake!

We will be opening to the public on Wednesday 31st March.

Stay tuned – We will be announcing the event schedules and guest speakers shortly.

If you’d like to inquire about joining us as a guest speaker please contact PR & Events Coordinator Rachel Menashy:

Text/Photography: RACHEL MENASHY



Chris Ofili at Tate Britain

Think CHRIS OFILI, think elephant shit. Or at least, that’s how it used to be. As the 1998 Turner Prize winner, and the 2003 British representative at the Venice Biennale, Ofili clearly has much more than shit to offer, but still the association remains.

Shit was the first thing that greeted me at Ofili’s latest retrospective at Tate Britain. 1993’s subtly-titled ‘Painting with Shit on It’ welcomes visitors with its intricate and bright colouring adorned with lumps of dung. More dung acts as a pedestal, as it does for most of the early works, elevating the painting above the ground.

Blossom, 1997

The sacred and the profane feature heavily in his painting, and Ofili makes this most apparent in ‘The Upper Room’, which took three years to complete in the late 90s. No shit here though: designed by the architect David Adjaye, the room resembles a dark wooden church punctuated with spotlights. Paintings of rhesus macaque monkeys line the room towards a large ‘altarpiece’ at the end, like a simian Sistine chapel. It’s an oddly holy space, and the crowds seem even quieter than usual.

The exhibition features some of the paintings that Ofili is famed for. ‘No Woman, No Cry’, his heartbreaking depiction of a weeping mother. It was created in the immediate aftermath of the racially aggravated murder of Stephen Lawrence, and the appalling police enquiry that followed.

Another of Ofili’s mother figures also makes an appearance at the Tate; his black Madonna, in 1996’s ‘The Holy Virgin Mary’. Considering this once led to total outrage with that old spoilsport Mayor Giuliani of New York, it now seems rather tame. Ofili’s work of the 90s is very much a product of its time, and in a post-YBA world a bit of poo on a painting actually becomes quite pleasing to the eye. Even when its surrounding cherubs are made from blaxploitation-arses.

Raising of Lazerus, 2007

Like Picasso, Ofili also had a blue period, and like Picasso’s, they’re sombre and haunting. To look at the work properly we needed to twist and turn to catch the shapes in the light and make out its subject; the title rarely alluded to the horror contained in the canvas. Ofili’s Catholic upbringing is evident in the themes he explores, and 2006’s Iscariot Blues is another instance where Ofili explores betrayal and injustice.

After doing some work in Trinidad, in 2005 Ofili made the decision to move permanently, and the change is hugely visible in his more recent work. It uses simpler shapes and block colours, and not a lump of dung in sight. I found this work harder to decipher, and it’s evident that Ofili has changed his philosophical outlook since moving to sunnier climes. His work may be more sophisticated than ever to some, but I couldn’t shake the idea that at times one or two of the works looked a bit like a teenage art project.



© Chris Ofili 



For the blind man in the dark room looking for the black cat that isn’t there

Decoding all the little symbols and latent meanings in art is fun. One of the reasons I love art so much is for that little eureka moment where I think I’ve understood something.

Despite this constant quest for understanding, some art causes complete bewilderment. Accuse me of philistinism if you want, but certain artists (RUSSIAN CONSTRUCTIVISM, anyone?) have always left me in the dark.

With ‘For the blind man in the dark room looking for the black cat that isn’t there’ (yikes!) at the ICA, this darkness is celebrated. The show suggests that we learn to enjoy not-knowing - presumably rather than lying awake at night wondering whether string theory could ever be proven. As a result, ‘For the blind man’ has been deliberately constructed as a fairly confusing ensemble.

MATT MULLICAN’s wall installation

NASHASHIBI/SKAER’s ‘Our Magnolia’, 2009

MATT MULLICAN sets the first room’s exhibits against an installation; here, a wall covered in flags and drawings provides a chaotic backdrop to five other pieces. One of them, BENOIT MAIRE AND FALKE PISANO’s ‘Organon’ requires extravagant weaving through tables scattered with unidentifiable objects, while ROSEMARIE TROCKEL’s ‘Dessert 3’, is a glazed ceramic sculpture that looks like fools’ gold – iron ore that used to deceive miners into thinking it was the real deal. The arts writer in me is desperate to analyse what this could mean, but given the theme of ‘For the blind man’ I restrain myself as much as I can.

FISCHLI and WEISS’s creatures take a nap

Swedish duo PETER FISCHLI AND DAVID WEISS pop up more than once, and their incarnations as a rat and a bear are one of the highlights of the show. Downstairs they discuss the human condition and metaphysics in the Swedish countryside, like a cross between Sylvanian Families and Descartes. By contrast, upstairs the same characters snooze away on the floor, apparently exhausted by their adventure.

Part of DAVE HULLFISH BAILEY’s ‘When there was nothing left to see, we looked for a place where we couldn’t be seen doing that’, 2009

There is a decidedly Dadaesque quality to the show, and not only in its determination to resist meaning. Dada artists - as well as creating their own works - also saw themselves as collectors, and assimilated the work of long-dead artists that fitted their nihilistic outlook. ‘For the blind man’ also uses art from epochs long-gone in order to make its point: included in the exhibition is an anonymous 1599 engraving of a natural history museum. Even stylistically the Dada tradition is apparent; part of DAVE HULLFISH BAILEY’s elaborately titled installation ‘When there was nothing left to see, we looked for a place where we couldn’t be seen doing that’ resembles Duchamp’s ‘Boîte-en-valise’, or portable museum in miniature.



All too often the art world is insecure; it frantically layers itself with impenetrable meaning in order to justify its importance/ethereality/hefty price at auction. But just because you don’t have that eureka moment where an artwork suddenly clicks into place, it doesn’t make it completely meaningless. I actually quite like the idea of just basking in the glory of ambiguity for a bit.

'For the blind man in the dark room looking for the black cat that isn't there'




Photography: CHUN P. LIN



An Arty, Carnaby Christmas

The evolution of the shoe is an interesting one. A shoe is no longer simply a shell to protect the foot; it’s become an art form in its own right. Never was this truer than with creative cordwainers SWEAR, whose smart and playful designs have attracted artists, musicians and actors alike. 

SWEAR is no ordinary shoe shop. Although you’re unlikely to find the latest artistic endeavour in your local Foot Locker, SWEAR’s preoccupation with avant-garde shoe design makes the Carnaby Street flagship store a logical venue. When SWEAR asked the LORDEN ART FACTORY to devise an art project to be housed at Number 22, their solution was last week’s Christmas Art Swap.

Despite the obviously fiscal motive for the venture (it’s Christmas, there’s a recession, so let’s bring in the punters), the Christmas Art Swap philosophy is one of art separate from economics. Anyone can go in, paint a blank canvas and exchange it for someone else’s work when they’re done. SWEAR provide the materials (and the beer), while you provide the skills.

Speaking to a member of the Lorden Art Factory, who was reluctant to name himself, I was given a quick insight into their mission statement. “It’s art for the people, and everything should be affordable. The main idea is that everybody’s a part of the Lorden Art Factory. At some point there’ll be a circulation of art that doesn’t come under this massive price tag; here, everything’s free.” All very admirable, I’m sure you’ll agree. And, bearing in mind that most people (myself included) have a somewhat lacklustre talent for art, some of the finished work was fantastic. Not that you’d ever know who created it - all work from the Lorden Art Factory is unsigned and anonymous.

It’s a great idea, and one that had Number 22 bustling with budding artists and - perhaps more importantly to SWEAR - potential shoe-shoppers. The biggest trouble I found was reconciling the fact that although the art was free, the shoes most definitely were not. No matter how hard LAF try, with shoes costing £90 upwards, it may be not be so easy for the Christmas Art Swap to remove itself from economics.

But then, maybe I’m reading too much into it. Rather than picking away all its sociological implications, a Christmas Art Swapper should take it for what it is: a fun concept where you can meet people and play with paint. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Text/Photography: SIOBHAN LEDDY