The Big Draw is back to the drawing board

Sharpen your pencils and pull out your sketch books – October is dedicated to “The Big Draw,” the world’s largest drawing festival. The event is held in more than 20 countries, including right here in Cayman at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands.  

It will be the National Gallery’s third annual Big Draw event; this year’s theme is “It’s Our World” and it encourages everyone to celebrate his or her environment. The drawing activities offered during the event are meant to connect people of all ages through art, and you don’t have to be a skilled drawer to join in the fun.  

There will be a student exhibition, documentary film screenings and a drawing lab; a number of interactive drawing activities will also be offered on Oct. 25 during Family Fun Day, such as “Drawing Lab in the Breezeway,” “Yoga Draw with Bliss,” “Sketch Crawl with John Broad,” “Drawing 101,” and “Figure Drawing Workshop.” Live studio drawing sessions will also be available in Cayman Brac at the Coldwell Banker office.  

All activities are free of charge to the public and open to all ages during the month-long event, but pre-registration is recommended to ensure your spot.  

While you may not associate drawing with yoga, Lindsay Correia of Bliss Yoga Living Cayman explains that yoga is a form of creative artistic expression. During the Yoga Draw event, yoga will incorporate the art of drawing participants in between poses as a way of expression. “In a family environment, we will enjoy a light practice and flow ourselves onto the paper by tracing our bodies in yoga poses. We will express our movements with color and design,” said Correia. 

Local artist John Broad, who uses sketches in his regular art practice, will lead the Sketch Crawl, which will take participants around the National Gallery and its grounds to sketch landscape, sculpture, architecture and even other participants – all in the spirit of urban sketchers.  

“Urban Sketchers is a worldwide organization [of artists who share] their work on the web; they meet regularly to sketch crawl in various cities, which involves moving around city streets sketching whatever they come across, people architecture, vehicles etc.” 

He also gives some insight into his art process and offers valuable tips to budding artists. “Sketching is important to me in two ways, it keeps my eye/hand coordination practiced, and it can also be used as initial steps to a larger work on canvas; just like a musician or dancer rehearses every day, so should an artist who wishes to become proficient in his or her skills,” Broad said.  

The inspiration for the Big Draw event, which originated in the U.K. in 2000, came from visionary Victorian writer and artist John Ruskin, whose mission was to teach people to see through drawing. This year, 280,000 people are expected to join the event in more than 1,000 events globally.  

“The event has already notched up two world records in the U.K. – for the longest drawing in the world (one kilometer) and the greatest number of people drawing simultaneously (over 7,000),” said Kaitlyn Elphinstone, communications and public engagement manager at the National Gallery.  

“The Big Draw events at the National Gallery are for those who love to draw, as well as for those who think they can’t. We hope that the variety of activities and events will inspire visitors to draw. We are surrounded by drawn things or things which originated from drawings. There is no right or wrong way to draw; drawing allows us to be creative and gives us great freedom. Drawing gives us a richer sense of self and inspires imagination and innovation,” she said. 

For more information on the various Big Draw events happening for the month of October at the National Gallery, or to pre-register for a drawing activity, visit www.nationalgallery.org.ky. 

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Students take part in a drawing course in the National Gallery’s Susan A. Olde Art Studio.

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John Broad works on a drawing in the National Gallery’s Susan A. Olde Art Studio.

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Students during a workshop led by artist John Broad.

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