Virtual Exhibition - The Big Draw 2019: Drawn to Life

All Libraries, Nottingham

Date -
Time All day
Venue All Libraries
The Big Draw Logo

The Big Draw is the world’s biggest drawing festival. In 2019 The Big Draw Festival #DrawnToLife focused on the vital role of creativity for health and well-being for living a healthier and happier life. Creating opportunities for accessible and fun events has become more important than ever.

Celebrating the fun of drawing, this exhibition tells the story of young artists from Nottinghamshire special schools who worked with kinetic sculptor Jim Bond, and what happened when they used his inventive drawing machines. By removing direct control away from the artist and challenging the way a mark was made, Jim and the young artists enjoyed meeting the challenges of adapting and making drawing machines accessible for all.

Jim works mainly in metal and his sculptures often move and interact with the viewer. He is interested in our relationship with machines, the way we perceive our environment and how we perceive sculpture.

Jim met the young artists and their teachers in summer 2019 and was inspired to develop some new mechanical sculptures that could draw. 

The drawing machines he invented make drawing accessible to all. They changed the way we held our pencil or pen and enabled everyone to make fabulous marks. 

The young artists have loved using Jim’s amazing machines to make these artworks. 

Visitors also came along to one of the four free family workshops in Inspire Libraries and had a go using a drawing machine during The Big Draw Festival.

Our thanks goes to Jim Bond and the pupils and staff from:

  • Ash Lea School
  • Bracken Hill School
  • Fountaindale School
  • Foxwood Academy
  • Redgate Primary Academy
  • Yeoman Park Academy

Photo Credit: Neil Pledger

Did you enjoy this exhibition? We would love to hear your comments. If you would like to leave us some feedback please visit our Facebook page and post on our page using the hashtag #DrawnToLife

The Big Draw really did capture a moment that my staff and children will not forget! Enabling them to participate in new machinery to create art, which was accessible for any age or ability and allowed them to mark make in different ways, creating a conversation between pen and paper. 

Yeoman Park Academy

Pupils who we were not used to seeing focus for long periods were able to when using the drawing machines. The multi-sensory nature of the drawing equipment really appealed.

Having Jim with us led to conversations such as how to make things with metal, how to be a sculptor and how long felt pens last!

Foxwood Academy

All the pupils were fascinated by the machines and engaged really well in the process to create their own wonderful works of art!

‘This is the greatest invention!’

‘It's like a song!’

‘Look! I can draw a circle’

‘It is amazing having you in our school’


Redgate Primary Academy

Have a go!

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This is an online exhibition!

Anyone can take a look.