Five-Year Project Culminates in Prized Sketchbook Auction October 17

SAN FRANCISCO - September 30, 2011 - 71 internationally renowned artists from the film, animation, illustration, comic and children's book fields have joined to create and contribute original art to Sketchtravel, a unique traveling sketchbook project to benefit literacy and gender equality for children in emerging countries on behalf of global organization Room To to Read. Sketchtravel, conceived by artists Daisuke Tsutsumi and Gerald Guerlais, is a globe-spanning artistic undertaking in which a red sketchbook was passed from one artist's hand to another through 12 countries over 5 years. The project culminates in an auction of the highly prized book in Brussels, Belgium, on October 17, 2011.

Highlighting the collection of prestigious artists who contributed to the Sketchtravel sketchbook are Oscar winning film director and co-founder of Studio Gibli, Hayao Miyazaki; animation legend Glen Keane; Frederic Back, a two-time Academy Award winner for Animated Short Film; and acclaimed French illustrator Rebecca Dautremer. Each of the 71 artists was given one blank page upon which to express themselves in whichever medium they chose - paint, pencil or collage, for instance - with each completed page inspiring the next. They then had to hand-deliver the sketchbook to a fellow artist.

"The idea for Sketchtravel was born out of a conversation between Gerald and I on a bus in Paris," said Tsutsumi. "I was drawing in my sketchbook and he mentioned that it would be pretty cool to pass one book amongst the extended community of artists we know around the world. As we developed the idea we realized it's not the drawings that would make this book special, it's the connections between the artists. That's why we decided on the hand-delivery rule between participating artists." The artists who took part in the Sketchtravel project did not receive any compensation for their work since the sketchbook was conceived as a benefit. The recipient the artists chose to receive proceeds from the sketchbook auction and sale of book copies was the worldwide literacy organization Room to Read, founded by former Microsoft executive John Wood in 2000.

"There are quite a few children's book illustrators and authors amongst our contributors and we could not imagine kids growing up without access to books," added Tsutsumi, who was an art director on Pixar's Toy Story 3. "As such, Room to Read's mission of establishing libraries and fostering literacy programs for children around the world made them the ideal partner for Sketchtravel."

"Like books, art has the power to make meaningful connections across the globe and Room to Read is thrilled to be the chosen beneficiary of the Sketchtravel project. Proceeds from the auction and books sales will enable us to continue providing millions of children in developing countries with culturally-relevant and colorful books, written and illustrated by emerging authors and artists through our Local Language Publishing program. We extend our sincerest thanks to all the Sketchtravel artists for sharing their creative talents in support of Room to Read's efforts to foster local artistry in ways that will inspire children to read," says Wilfredo Pascual, Room to Read's Local Language Publishing Global Program Officer.

"The stunning Sketchtravel book has many incredible, wordless tales to tell," said Lee Unkrich, Academy Award winning director of Toy Story 3. The auction of the original Sketchtravel sketchbook with 70 pieces of artwork (one sketch was a collaboration between two artists) in a hand carved wood case will be managed by Pierre Berge & Associates and held in Brussels, Belgium, on October 17, 2011. Copies of the sketchbook will be available for purchase this fall from select booksellers.

About Sketchtravel

Sketchtravel, conceived by Daisuke Tsutsumi and Gerald Guerlais, is a unique international charity project in which 71 renowned artists from the film, animation, illustration, comic and children's book fields created and contributed original works of art to a traveling sketchbook. Proceeds from an auction of the sketchbook, which was passed from one artist's hand to another through 12 countries over 5 years, will benefit the global literacy organization Room To Read.

About Room to Read

Room to Read is a global organization seeking to transform the lives of millions of children in the developing world by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Founded on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children, Room to Read works in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children and to ensure girls have the skills and support needed to complete their secondary education. Since 2000, Room to Read has impacted the lives of more than five million children in Asia and Africa and aims to reach 10 million children by 2015.

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