Valerie Hall heralds this year's drawing event
As autumn colours come in, galleries and other venues nationwide will be equally colourful, thronged with children and adults mixing and matching paints, pastels and fabrics for the fifth Big Draw taking place between October 13 and 20.
The big day is October 16, but there are events throughout the month, with the national launch, Art on the Square: Join the Party, in Trafalgar Square on Sunday September 26.
The aim is to get everyone drawing, even if they have never got beyond matchstick men before. The organiser, the Campaign for Drawing, expects about 800 venues to organise activities, most of them free. Artists, designers, architects, cartoonists and scientists will help in the creation of landscapes, architectural designs, portraits, still lives and scientific experiments using drawing implements.
This year, through its new Drawing Attractions programme, the Campaign has encouraged more historic and natural heritage sites to mount drawing events to help visitors imagine what was there in the past. The scheme provides training events, resource packs and a network for heritage and education staff.
Art in the Square, hosted by London's National Gallery, will be the biggest free art event in the UK. Activities will include Quentin Blake giving a drawing demonstration, painting workshops and a live broadcast of the BBC's Rolf on Art as Rolf Harris and hundreds of artists create a giant version of Constable's "Hay Wain".
Teachers are encouraged to run their own Big Draws for pupils and their families or promote events. The British Museum, for example, is running workshops on ancient kingdoms of the Nile. Visitors can draw with electrons, hieroglyphs or Stone Age colours, listen to caricaturist Gerald Scarfe or draw with Harry Potter illustrator Cliff Wright.
Big Draw partner Persil is organising more than 100 events and providing a choice of 45 free primary art and craft kits in exchange for star tokens from Persil packets. Available until next June, they range from crayons and brushes to soft dough modelling, mask painting and even easels.
To find out about events in your area: Tel: 020 8351 0991 www.drawingpower.org.uk www.thebigdraw.org.uk
School resources are available from the Campaign's Power Drawing education programme.
Titles include Start Drawing!, Drawing on Experience, Space and Place.
Price pound;4 each from Featherstone Education Tel: 01858 881212