News

The Beautiful Lives of Black and Brown Trans people in the UK
August 02, 2021

The Beautiful Lives of Black and Brown Trans people in the UK

blkmoodyboi is a Non-binary trans self-taught illustrator that centers Black and Brown trans people in their art. Inspired by comics, anime, friends, and community, blkmoodyboi crafts their own unique style. Through their work, they aim to showcase love, tenderness, and softness as a form of radical resistance against white cis-het patriarchal capitalism. 

In April 2021, The Big Draw announced its first ever digital residencies. blkmoodyboi was one of the five artists selected with their brilliant proposal Blind Faith. Blind Faith is an illustrated anthology series featuring the stories of six Trans people of colour in the UK. This anthology will serve as an archive that platforms the voices of people of colour with a trans experience, their stories, thoughts and lives.

It was wonderful to catch up with blkmoodyboi to talk about Blind Faith, and find out more about their heritage and inspiration. They also shared greater insight into their experience navigating their identity as a non-binary trans person of colour within the artistic world.

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Finding my way: Interview with Natalie d’Arbeloff
August 02, 2021

Finding my way: Interview with Natalie d’Arbeloff

Natalie d’Arbeloff was born in Paris of French and Russian parents and raised in France, South America, Europe and the USA, settling in London in the mid-1960s. She is a painter, printmaker, book-artist, cartoonist and writer, and has also taught and lectured in England and the USA - a true polymath! Her work has been widely exhibited and is in public collections internationally including the British Library, the National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and many other institutions.  

Alongside painting and printmaking, Natalie has written three art teaching books and created many limited edition and one-of-a-kind artists books. A retrospective exhibition of her artist’s bookworks was held at the Museum of the Book in The Hague in 1992. At a Laydeez Do Comics event in 2019 she was awarded the Rosalind B. Penfold Award for a graphic novel-in-progress by an artist over 50.

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Comics, fairytales & gender bias: Interview with Karrie Fransman
June 01, 2021

Comics, fairytales & gender bias: Interview with Karrie Fransman

Karrie Fransman is a graphic novellist, visual storyteller and comic creator. She tells stories in books, newspapers, animations, sculptures, on Ipads and in virtual reality, and her comics strips and graphic stories have been published in The Guardian, The Times, and The Telegraph - to name a few! Her latest illustrated book, ‘Gender Swapped Fairy Tales’ was co-created with her husband Jonathan Plackett, published by Faber & Faber, and uses a simple but extremely effective algorithm to explore and unpick gender bias.

We couldn't wait to catch up with Karrie and talk more about her life, work and love of comics - and also find out more about her latest book...

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Interview with Bird & Blend Tea Co.
May 11, 2021

Interview with Bird & Blend Tea Co.

Bird & Blend Tea Co. is an independent, award-winning tea company on a mission to spread happiness & reimagine tea! Mike and Kristi are the co-founders of the company, which they started eight years ago. From the very beginning, they knew they wanted to make business decisions based on more than just profit; their intention was to be environmentally sustainable, to send as little waste to landfill as possible, and to provide amazing experiences to people on both sides of the counter.

Bird & Blend have kindly donated complimentary tea bags (in some incredible flavours!) for all of our Big Draw Organisers in 2021. We couldn't wait to have a little chat with Mike and Kristi to find out more about the company - so pop the kettle on and discover more about their journey, and what they're all about...

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Interview with Peng
May 11, 2021

Interview with Peng

Whether you’re a newbie or a dab hand, drawing can often be daunting. That’s why cartoons are the best place to start!

Over several decades teaching in schools and art colleges, Austrian cartoonist Peng has developed expert knowledge of the building blocks of drawing and sketching. As he shows, creativity can come from anywhere. Entire sketches can spring up from the simplest lines or curves. Even found objects can spark brilliance – who knows, maybe a stone or leaf could provide the next flash of inspiration!

Peng's latest book, I Can Draw, is a stylish yet playful approach to drawing cartoons, designed to excite even the most tentative artists. We recently ran a brilliant virtual workshop with Peng, and we were excited to catch up with him later to find out a little bit more about his work and why he believes that drawing should be accessible to all... Read more to get a code for 20% off 'I Can Draw'!

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How To Frame Art: A How-To Guide on Framing Art with Adam at Jealous Gallery
May 11, 2021

How To Frame Art: A How-To Guide on Framing Art with Adam at Jealous Gallery

Let's face it, framing art is an art in itself - and it can be a real hassle! To take some of the stress out of the process, we spoke to Adam at Jealous Gallery, whose knowledge and expertise in this area far exceeds our own...

Read on for some of his top tips on how to frame your beloved pieces effortlessly and effectively - as well some insight into how best to hang your art, and even how to package it!

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Interview with Posy Simmonds
March 29, 2021

Interview with Posy Simmonds

Born in 1945 in Berkshire, Posy Simmonds drew from an early age. After studying at the Sorbonne and Central School - now Central St Martins - respectively, she entered the world of print journalism, working as a cartoonist for several British newspapers from the late 60's onwards. Often compared to the likes of Austen, Elliot and, most frequently, Thomas Hardy (upon whose work her own books are closely modelled), Posy is an astute modern satirist, combining words and visuals in her storytelling to mock and condemn the British middle-class.

Posy is an expert observer on the minutiae of everyday life, taking inspiration from passing conversations and phone calls overheard on public transport or in coffee shops. We couldn’t wait to catch up with Posy to talk more about her work, inspiration and influences - as well as a bit about her thoughts on the role of comics in society, and her hopes for the future of the industry.

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Interview with Mel Northover
January 19, 2021

Interview with Mel Northover

"There’s great power in that two-way conversation between artist and audience. When we’re moved by a work of art an emotional, often physical connection is made, and whilst we may all react differently, encountering great art is a shared experience that not only challenges our perceptions but can bring people together from all walks of life and from across all kinds of cultural differences."

We were delighted to get a chance to chat with Mel about her creative practice and the role of drawing in her life and work...

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Interview with Jess Kemp, Silk Painting Artist
January 19, 2021

Interview with Jess Kemp, Silk Painting Artist

Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries is a proud delivery partner on a Landscape Partnership scheme called Miner2Major. The scheme, supported by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, encourages local communities to get involved in projects that celebrate the diverse wildlife, important habitats and rich heritage of Sherwood Forest. This year InspireMiner2Major and artist Jess Kemp have been working together to deliver a fabulous Big Draw project in Nottinghamshire...

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Interview with Venantius J Pinto
October 26, 2020

Interview with Venantius J Pinto

It’s rare to come across an artist like Venantius. Drawing isn’t just a hobby, a practice, a career, it’s a deeply embedded philosophy that he lives and breathes by. 

We are very excited to shine a light on the story of the incredible Art Director, Designer, Illustrator and Chef, Venantius J Pinto and share his meaningful story with our audiences. We hope you enjoy the interview.

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Interview with Willie Watt
October 26, 2020

Interview with Willie Watt

Architect and Masterplanner Willie Watt has always been passionate about drawing. However, after years of utilising drawing as an essential tool for communicating ideas and designs within his practice at Nicoll Russell Studios, drawing for pleasure had begun to fall by the wayside... Until the delight of filling and sharing his sketchbooks was recently reignited. 

We were delighted to catch up with Willie to find out more about the role that drawing plays in his life, and how his relationship with the medium has developed over time.

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Interview with Rachelle Romeo
September 28, 2020

Interview with Rachelle Romeo

Rachelle Romeo is a London-based artist who uses embroidery and thread amongst other mediums to convey powerful messages about heritage and identity. 

The multi-dimensional works that Rachelle creates carry with them important messages and we were so pleased to catch up with her and find out a bit more about her, her work and the potentional of using creativity as an outlet to speak truth.

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Interview with Emily Coxhead from The Happy Newspaper
September 28, 2020

Interview with Emily Coxhead from The Happy Newspaper

Emily Coxhead is a designer and illustrator who is passionate about making the world a happier place!

At just 22 years old, after realising the negative effect that the news was having on her mental health, Emily decided she wanted to create a platform to celebrate all that is good in the world - from major historical movements, to inspiring and wonderful individuals. Five years on, Emily continues her mission to ‘sprinkle a tiny bit of happiness all over the planet’ as The Happy News is read by over 20,000 subscribers in 33 different countries each quarter.

We were so excited to catch up with Emily and find out a little more about her, her work and The Happy Newspaper!

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Interview with Paul Majek
August 17, 2020

Interview with Paul Majek

The Big Draw Team first met Paul at Trinity Buoy Wharf where the charity’s headquarters reside and the school that Paul is currently attending, Royal Drawing School sits. We knew the moment that we met with Paul that something clicked. He is an incredible human being as well as artist that is a living embodiment of the power of drawing. 

From growing up in a creative household to using drawing to understand other subjects like geography, Paul has a unique and powerful story to tell and we’re excited to share it with our audience…. 

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Interview with Anna Bruder
August 17, 2020

Interview with Anna Bruder

Anna Bruder is an artist, theatre designer, prop maker and creator of the brilliant, A Line Art. 

The Big Draw is a big fan of A Line Art. They have taken part in The Big Draw Festival for the past five years, inviting audiences to join in with fantastic, free and ever-popular A Line creations, including: Ready Steady Colour, Ready Steady Go! and Fold Your City. We always look forward to catching up with Anna, and were thrilled to chat with her about her practice, what drawing means to her and a bit about how the lockdown has affected her life and work.

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Interview with Shantell Martin
August 17, 2020

Interview with Shantell Martin

Shantell Martin is an internationally recognised contemporary artist who is known for her bold confident lines, questioning statements, and gripping spontaneous style.Shantell grew up in Thamesmead, a concrete jungle in South London that didn’t leave a lot of room for people who look, act, or think differently. She describes herself growing up as, “A brown girl with an afro in a blond haired, blue eyed world…” From an early age, drawing became a means of understanding for Shantell which she has carried with her throughout her life.

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Interview with The National Brain Appeal
July 27, 2020

Interview with The National Brain Appeal

The National Brain Appeal is the charity dedicated to improving the outcome and quality of life for the one in six people affected by a neurological condition. Alongside funding pioneering research and providing access to the best technology for expert diagnosis and treatment, the charity also runs an annual art fundraising campaign, A Letter in Mind

We caught up with Eva Tait, curator of A Letter in Mind, to understand more about the vital work of The National Brain Appeal, some of their brilliant fundraising initiatives, and ways in which we all can support and get involved.

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Interview with Juliette Losq
July 27, 2020

Interview with Juliette Losq

Juliette Losq is an internationally exhibited, prizewinning artist whose work seeks to describe the borderlands on the fringes of urban developments, capturing the benign battles waged between man and nature. 

We fell in love with Juliette's intricate watercolour landscape works in 2019 when she was shortlisted for - and subsequently won - the John Ruskin Prize. We were incredibly excited to have a chance to catch up with Juliette a year on from this and find out more about her life and work.

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Interview with Emily Haworth Booth
July 27, 2020

Interview with Emily Haworth Booth

Emily Haworth Booth is an author-illustrator and educator with a passion for dogs and direct action! You will find both of these things in her debut picture book, The King Who Banned the Dark, which was a Guardian Children’s Book of the Month, a Sunday Times Book to Watch Out For, and nominated for nine awards including the Kate Greenaway, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and Little Rebels Award.

We were thrilled to catch up with Emily and find out all about her creative process, her influences, her passions and more...

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Interview with Brenna Quinlan
June 23, 2020

Interview with Brenna Quinlan

Permaculture illustrator, educator, mover and shaker; Brenna Quinlan strives to make the world a better place through her art and actions. Now you may be asking yourself, what is permaculture and what does it have to do with drawing? That’s where Brenna comes in. She uses drawing as a tool to speak about permaculture and the importance of living sustainably. 

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Drawing for Picture Books with Emma Lazell
June 16, 2020

Drawing for Picture Books with Emma Lazell

Emma Lazell is a UK based illustrator and author of children's books. Her debut picture book, Big Cat, was published in Spring 2019 by Pavilion Children's Books. Alongside working on books, Emma loves to visit schools, libraries and events to share her love of reading, writing and drawing. Here Emma gives some fascinating insight into the world of illustration, and her own process and experience of drawing for picture books.

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Interview with Jessica Palmer
May 19, 2020

Interview with Jessica Palmer

Jessica is a UK-based artist and illustrator whose work spans collage, paper sculpture, paper cutting, digital drawing and painting. She has worked with Forest of Imagination, a pop-up art, play and creativity event, since it began 8 years ago.

The Big Draw and House of Imagination, the creative charity behind the Forest of Imagination are working in partnership with Grant Associates and a whole host of creative partners. We all share many of the same goals including championing wellbeing through creativity and nature.

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Interview with Emma Stibbon RA
April 27, 2020

Interview with Emma Stibbon RA

We are so excited to announce Emma Stibbon RA as The Big Draw's newest Patron! Emma is an artist who works primarily in drawing and print on paper, depicting remote and hostile environments that are changing rapidly. She does this through location based research often working alongside geologists and scientists, and in the studio where information is transformed into large scale drawn and printed artworks.

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Interview with Octavia Bromell
April 27, 2020

Interview with Octavia Bromell

We are thrilled to welcome Octavia Bromell as a 2020 Big Draw Festival Ambassador! She is currently the Adobe Creative Resident for the UK as well as an innovative creator, mental health ambassador and Etsy shop extraordinnaire. Her commitment to sustainable practice and positive protest make her an ideal creative to represent our 2020 Big Draw Festival theme, The Big Green Draw, A Climate of Change

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