The world’s biggest drawing festival the Big Draw is back with the theme of ‘drawn to life’ next month. This is the seventh year the Council has coordinated a programme of workshops at a variety of exciting venues throughout the borough and this year there are a few surprises.


Cllr Pauline Searle, Lead Councillor of Arts, Parks and Countryside says: ‘We are delighted to play a part again in offering this much anticipated creative festival to our residents and visitors. There are a host of fantastic workshops on offer for all ages and most are free. One exciting new workshop for 2019 is a sewing session on a canal boat at Dapdune Wharf with artist Beth Hopkins and thanks to Surrey Arts and Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development. Those taking part will have the opportunity to travel down the River Wey while exploring mindful stitching. You can make a scroll at Guildford Cathedral, have a go at dot painting at the Park Barn Centre and much more. Lakeside Nature Reserve also opens its doors for mandala pebble painting.’

She added: ‘While we always offer an array of workshops for families and children we also have ‘drink and draw’ adults only sessions at The Boileroom with illustrator Andrew Thomson.’

The Big Draw is an arts education charity promoting visual literacy and the universal language of drawing as a tool for learning and invention. One of the Council’s key priorities is wellbeing by encouraging and supporting residents in actively looking after their health. Kate Mason, Director of the Big Draw explains: ‘This year our Festival theme will invite event organisers to celebrate and explore the benefits of being actively creative to make positive change and improve wellbeing. This positive impact could be for an individual, group or even an entire community, bringing people together to help champion the ever increasing evidence, both anecdotal and academic, that a more creative life really can improve your health.’

The borough’s Big Draw Patron for the second year is Guildford based light installation artist Mary Branson. Mary is the only artist to have a sculpture ‘New Dawn’ celebrating the centenary of the Suffrage in the House of Parliament.

She says: ‘I’m proud to be involved with Big Draw again, being able to express yourself creatively is so important for all ages and festivals such as this a wonderful way for everyone to get involved. There is so much inspiration in Surrey with so many beautiful and inspiring landscapes. Art is a universal language that helps us explore creativity and express our feelings and emotion. I look forward to seeing all of your the fantastic artwork!’

The festival runs from Saturday 5 October until Saturday 2 November. To see all available sessions visit:

To find out more about the Big Draw, please visit: Alternatively, if you would like to find out about future Big Draw events, please email to join the mailing list.