Join in with The Big Draw: the festival of art and drawing

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The Big Draw: adults at a painting lesson

Get involved with the world’s biggest festival dedicated to drawing, and find out how art can boost your creativity and wellbeing

Art fans across the world will get together in October for The Big Draw Festival – celebrating the power of pencils and paper to boost creativity, camaraderie and everyone’s happiness.

The Big Draw Festival is an entire month of art-based events backed by the UK charity of the same name. The overall aim? To get everyone drawing.

Why you should get drawing

You don’t need to be a master at sketching to enjoy flexing your creative muscles from time to time. And drawing has lots of other benefits.

Like many other kinds of art, drawing has its own universal language. It connects us with other people, breaking down cultural and generational barriers and helping us see things from different perspectives.

There are lots of other ways drawing can help boost our wellbeing. Some think of drawing as a meditative practice, a way to let out pent up feelings, or how to revive innocent feelings of joy.

Drawing also helps people of all ages improve their visual literacy – something The Big Draw considers essential in today’s increasingly visual world.

The Big Draw: art lessons can boost your creativity and wellbeing

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How to join in with The Big Draw

While some Big Draw events take place throughout the year, the festival itself runs from 1-31 October. Find a Big Draw event near you, or check out the ones we’re especially excited about.

The Big Draw at Buckingham Palace, London

24-26 October

Visitors to the Royal Mews will be able to add their own touches to a mural celebrating the 200th birthdays of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert during The Big Draw at Buckingham Palace. The event is free with any standard admission ticket to the Royal Mews. The event is especially suited to families with children aged between four and ten, who will love learning all about the animals the royal couple kept during their reign.

Gemau Tir/Land Games, Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Carmarthen, Wales

12 October

For the interesting Gemau Tir/Land Games Big Draw event, artist Seren Stacey uses creativity to help people understand important land-related issues like ownership, resources, boundaries, co-operation, scarcity, common land and more – and how all this effects our health and wellbeing. You’ll need to work together to create a drawn landscape by sharing and swapping your ‘land’ – or you may choose to remain independent. Tickets just £3.

Drawn to Life: Spiders, Ghosts and Phantoms, Haynes International Motor Museum

26 October – 3 November

Celebrate the week of Halloween with this creepily creative Big Draw event at the Haynes International Motor Museum. The brilliant Haynes educational team are running a host of arty activities in the museum’s family space – all of which are included in standard ticket admission.

Ruskin’s Favourite Cathedral Architecture, Lincoln Cathedral

19 October – 27 October

Famed Victorian artist John Ruskin founded The Guild of St George, which much later set up The Big Draw itself.

Ruskin said of Lincoln Cathedral: “I have always held... that the cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles and roughly speaking worth any two other cathedrals we have."

Follow in his footsteps and sketch your favourite part of the cathedral’s incredible architecture. The free Big Draw event in Lincoln Cathedral runs for around a week, and completed drawings will be displayed for visitors to see in the Nave. Artist Kirsty Dring will be also offering drawing tips on Monday 21st October from 10am to 12pm.

Big Draw Extravaganza, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

12 October

Beginners and experts and everyone in between can try out different drawing techniques as part of a full day of creative activities at the Big Draw Extravaganza in Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art.

The Big Draw: Big Draw Extravaganza at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow

Organising a Big Draw event

Fancy holding your own draw-athon? It doesn’t matter if you represent a major gallery or museum, a local library or community centre, or are just personally passionate about drawing – anyone can register to run an event for Big Draw, at any time of year or anywhere in the world. The festival saw events in 26 countries last year! Find out more about how to organise a Big Draw Festival event.

The Boundless Art Club

If you’re a volunteer at the Cotswold Motoring Museum in Bourton-on-the-Water, or a Boundless member who lives locally, you can also join the Boundless Art Club held in the museum. Over six weeks in the summer the new group met every Thursday evening for exclusive access to the museum’s collections.

And in October there’s a special one-off event where the group is experimenting with a new project (the date is yet to be decided). If you’re interested in taking part, contact the Cotswold Motoring Museum staff for more details.

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