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What Is The Sketchbook Conspiracy?

It's a part of your balanced breakfast. It's a choose-your-own adventure. It's a better mousetrap. It's a person, place or thing. It's a shot in the dark. It's a descent into madness. It's a social experiment. It's a spoonful of sugar. It's a collaborative creative project. It's a modern-day version of an exquisite corpse. It's an online comic jam.

The Sketchbook Conspiracy is a challenge.

Remember those creative writing games they had in school? Ya know, the ones where you had to partner up with a friend and you take it in turns to write a story together but doing so by alternating the writing of a sentence or a paragraph between the two of you, one at a time? This is exactly like that.. except there's some artwork thrown in as well.

The idea would be to spin together a story, (an illustrated tale, at that) one page at a time. It'd be a collaborative 22-page comic book of sorts where noone knows where exactly the next page will take you. Think of it as a roving sketchbook that's distributed among a circle of people, each person contributing part of an illustrated story each step of the way. But the thing of it is, the sketchbook is on the internet. Pretty cool, eh?

...So how does the conspiracy part fit in? Well, like any good conspiracy, this creative work ain't exactly going to fly without any plotting.


Factions within the Conspiracy

Given the amount of people involved, the Sketchbook Conspiracy has its contributors grouped into factions. Each faction is made up of 4-6 contributors that work together on the same “book” and essentially function as their own comic jam. Each faction is organized into lineups that determine not only the sequence by which each contributor gets a turn but also the order by which the book is composed. Visit the news page for both current lineup and current deadline details.

At this time, there are three individual factions participating in three simultaneous comic jams, all of them operating under the masthead of the Sketchbook Conspiracy: Tastes Great, Less Filling and Home Brew.

Keeping the number of contributors that make up a faction low allows participants the opportunity to contribute multiple times, regularly interjecting their own visual style and narrative innovations into the story in multiple places. Additionally, a small number of contributors ensures continued interest as author-artists do not need to wait for a prolonged period of time for their turn to come up. What’s more, having the multiple online comic jams running in parallel grants the opportunity for contributors to see other works in progress as they make their own headway, opening up the possibility for peer dialogue and discussion in regard to technique and process. .


How To Get Involved

Sound like your kind of thing? Great.

Want to rock out with your brand of storytelling and not-so-idle scribbling? Even better.

Come jam with this online comic jam and create a web comic book with author-artists across the country. Come join the Sketchbook Conspiracy and work toward a creative and fun collaborative goal, contributing to a story that will go anywhere you want to take it.

If you want to take part in this collaborative challenge, go ahead and send an email to the Sketchbook Conspiracy at sketchy [ at ] gruntwerk [ dot ] com expressing your desire to be a contributor. Be sure to check out the submission rules as to the specifics of how this all goes down and provide profile information as it appears on the contributors page.

Although this is all meant to be fun, please be committed to what you're signing up for. Be aware that none of the participants work from an existing overarching script and that, unlike a lot of other comic jams, the contribution size is a whole page and not merely a panel. Hence, there is a need for a contributor to be able to take on both the writing and artistic chores.

Now, with contributing, it's easy to believe that the artwork is the most important part of the effort but don't forget about the value of good writing. So what if your drawing isn't exactly spectacular - tell your (part of the) tale anyway. If all you can do is stick figures, we are so okay with that. All we ask is that you keep to the rules as they have been set.

What, you mean you really just want to draw and not write? Or write and not draw? Well, that's cool, too. While it's preferred that you perform the two tasks yourself, you can always team up with someone to form one contributor. Plenty of our existing contributors are made up of teams of two participants.

Currently, there's a need for art-buddies to illustrate for our orphan writers: chathandle and duskrider3740. Help 'em out, will ya?

For all other information (incuding contacting an author-artist listed on the contributors page), please send an email to the Sketchbook Conspiracy at sketchy [ at ] gruntwerk [ dot ] com.