Pencils at the ready for the Big Draw

Get your pencils ready, grab a felt tip or go mad with some crayons at the Big Draw 2011. SIMON PARKIN digs out his old pencil case and discovers how to join in.

There is seemingly nothing that children love more than drawing — and parents are pretty keen too as it keeps the kids quiet for a while!

Youngsters will spend hours drawing and colouring pictures — it's an important part of their development. Yet somewhere around the start of their teenage years — and, perhaps tellingly, the start of compulsory art lessons at school — many simply stop drawing for fun.

Sadly that carries on into adulthood too. When was the last time you drew or painted a picture? Getting us to pick up the pencils, pens and paint brushes again is the aim of The Big Draw, a national campaign that invites everyone to join in, using drawing to engage with the past, present and future.

The Big Draw is run by the Campaign for Drawing, which was launched in 2000 by the Guild of St George. This is a small charity founded by John Ruskin, whose writings on art, architecture, natural history, social and economic issues helped to shape Victorian cultural life.

In 1871, Ruskin set up the Guild to assist the liberal education of artisans.

The Guild initiated the campaign to celebrate Ruskin's centenary and to promote his belief that drawing is a key to understanding and knowledge.

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The Big Draw, now in its second decade, runs until October 31 with events across the region. Galleries, museums, heritage sites, libraries, community centres, colleges, schools and art clubs are hosting drawing activities for peo-ple of all abilities.

They range from fun doodling to exploring technical, scientific, architectural, archaeological or fine art drawing.

Participants of all ages are invited to help expand the definitions and uses of drawing — experimenting with pencils, crayons, charcoal, sand, clay, digital imagery, choreographed movement, vapour trails and fire drawings.

These activities are mainly free and here is how you can join in around Norwich, Norfolk and Suffolk.

It's best to ring ahead to check all events will still be taking place. Even if you cannot make it, there's loads of activities on the campaign website.


The Big Draw

Hethersett High School and Science College, Queens Road, Hethersett, October 5, 01603 810924 213

A free Big Draw event that is open to the general public as well as students. Ring for more details.

Pulp Ware Course

Museum of Thetford Life, Thetford, October 8/29, 10.30am-12.30pm, �10, 01842 752599

Learn about the unique history of Thetford pulpware and try your hand a making a pulp bowl. Participants must attend both sessions. Advance booking essential.

Tots and Doodles: Art for Preschoolers

The Mo, Sheringham Museum, October 10, 10am-1pm, �2 children, 01263 824482

Come to The Mo with your child and have a look round the museum, including our inspiring art collection. Afterwards, children can have fun creating their own works of art! Suitable for under-4s, charge for materials.

Drawing Together - Toys and Pastimes

Museum of Thetford Life, Thetford, October 15, 10.30am-12.30pm, free admission, 01842 752599

An intergenerational event where a collection of toys and games from the past will be used as inspiration to help those taking part to create pictures. Everyone will be invited to join in. Pre-booking required.

Calling In The Dragon

The Turning Point, Sheringwood (off Britons Lane), Sheringham, October 22-24, 10am-4pm, free admission, 01263 820054

Participants will be guided by local artist, Sam Robbins, to create a collaborative Dragon Mural using a range of drawing materials. This event is part of 'Share the Magic' activity days at The Turning Point.

The Big Botanic Draw

Fairhaven Garden, South Walsham, October 22, 11am-2pm, �2, 01603 270449

This drop-in event is a chance to have a go at drawing plants, flowers and leaves with pastels and charcoal. Suitable for all ages, there is no admission charge, but it's �2 for materials.

Roman and Iceni Arts and Crafts

Museum of Thetford Life, Thetford, October 25, 11am-2pm, �1, 01842 752599

Try your hand at a range of Roman and Iceni art and craft activities inspired by the museum collections. Suitable for all ages, open to all.

It's a Stick Up

Hethel Engineering Centre, Hethel, October 25, 10am-11.30am/12pm-2pm, free admission, 01508 533615

Free half-term activity to coincide with The Big Draw. Create your own picture using found objects and bits and bobs. A sticky sparkly activity. No need to book. You'll also be able to join a guided tour and find out what goes on behind the scenes at Hethel Engineering.

Wartime Posters

Museum of Thetford Life, Thetford, October 26, 11am-2pm, �1, 01842 752599

Come and design your own wartime posters inspired by the museum's Second World War: Local Secrets and Stories exhibition. Fun for all ages.

The Big Draw

Castle Museum, Norwich, October 26, 12pm-4.30pm, normal admission charges, 01603 222594

Norwich Castle Youth Forum will lead this free drop-in event using the upcoming blockbuster Family Matters exhibition as inspiration. If you think you know what drawing is, be prepared to have your ideas blown apart! No prior drawing skills necessary. Suitable for all ages.

The Big Draw

Norwich Cathedral, October 28, 10am-4pm, free admission, 01603218321

This now well-established annual event includes free art and craft workshops and activities, this is a fun event for all ages and there's no need to book - just come along and join in. This year the theme is 'Time' so you will be able to add to the longest time line in Norwich, learn about what happened here in the Second World War, help us build a time capsule, design clocks and watches and find out how we first measured time.