Dover’s Big Draw Doodle Jam led by artists who live and work in Dover


Together with Dover Big Local ART31 and support from Dover Town Council and Dover Big Local DAD again delivered Dover’s Big Draw 2019 with the help of Petra Matthews Crow. This year the theme was Drawn to Life and organisers were invited to celebrate and explore the benefits of being actively creative to make positive change and improve wellbeing.

Freya Mathews Crow
Freya designed the inspired flyer

All were welcome to drop in, draw and doodle to music on 22 October in Biggin Hall, Biggin Street, Dover, CT16 1BD between 11am and 4pm.

The music was supplied by Mick Morris on guitar and Clive Fletcher on bass and Simon Bill, Nina Telegenia, Claire Manning, Simon Bill, Nicola Dunsbee and Chris Burke, artists who are living and working in Dover, encouraged participants to get drawing and develop their doodles.

Clive Fletcher

It was a wonderful and memorable occasion. I was delighted to be asked to organise live music for the event. It was great to see lots of mums, dads, teachers and children enjoying themselves so much while creating beautiful drawings and paintings. It was truly a happy and fruitful day. Definitely one to be repeated. Many thanks to all the organisers for their hard work bringing this about – and to everyone participating in the fun, and expressing themselves in their art. Clive Fletcher, musician

Simon Bill

The Big Draw seemed to be quite a success. It was very busy while I was there, and it gave me an opportunity to meet a few of Dover’s art community I haven’t met before whilst reminding myself how enjoyable it is to make a drawing. Simon Bill

Alongside his prominent exhibiting career Simon has released novels such as ‘Artist in Residence’ and writes for Turps Banana painting magazine. Most recently he contributed the article ‘Fine Art Education and ‘Research Culture’’ and his next text on the work of Antonin Artaud + Cabinet Gallery’s exhibition of the artist’s notebooks will feature in the upcoming January issue of TURPS.

Last year on 17th March Simon lead one of our Explorers walks supporting the re-opening of the West Wing Battery at Fort Burgoyne click here for more info

Nina Telgenia

I had a wonderful time at big draw. It was inspiring to see so many local people coming together to make art. It was also fascinating to see all the different styles and drawings they produced together. A young boy sitting next to me observed me colouring with some pastels. He asked me how I was doing it, and I spent some time explaining how pastels work, how to apply and blend the colours. Though he was reluctant to try it himself, he watched intently and asked questions. Later, I saw the the same boy asking a teenager how he did his pencil drawings. This time he felt braver, and sat down to learn about shading with a pencil. So just by being there, and being curious, this boy learned about at least two new drawing techniques, and gained a bit of confidence. I also overheard a member of the public saying, “I don’t do this enough, I should do this every week!” She stretched as she got up to go, remarking how relaxed she felt after spending some time drawing. This certainly captures this year’s theme of well being, and I hope it might encourage her to continue making art in her spare time.  Nina Telegina, artist/writer

Nina Telegina will be competing for the title of Kent Poetry Slam Champion on 22nd November!


Nicola Dunsbee

I loved being at The Big Draw!  When I arrived, the hall was filled with people, music was playing and chatter was buzzing around the tables.  There was a range of ages who all seemed to love the opportunity to sit down and doodle your worries away.  Often in life, we don’t have the time to draw, to concentrate on something not to make money, or to tick off something from your to-do list, but simply for the joy of it.  Drawing is one of those little pleasures.  I spoke to a parent at The Big Draw who had brought her children along, but ended up enjoying drawing for her own pleasure.  I really enjoyed walking around and talking to people, too.  I would sit on the odd unoccupied chair and add a little doodle to an empty section of paper, chatting with the new faces around me.  I’m thrilled that The Big Draw brought so many people into a creative space, and I hope it encourages them to join us again in creative activities.

Nicola will soon be presenting ‘The FIVE WORDS Project’, a programme of five cultural events at St Edmund’s Chapel in Dover. “This promises to be a programme that sees the sacred space in a twenty-first-century light, intending to set up the chapel as a cultural venue for Dover”.

Chris Burke

I was one of the practising artists invited to take part in leading this event. Biggin Hall, where this event took place was quickly filled with Dovorians of all ages who had dropped in to simply draw and to enjoy this fun day.  My teaching experience came in handy – by keeping to minimal intervention whilst allowing people complete freedom to explore mark making, which humans have practised since living in caves. Musicians played in the background. When I dropped in, again, in the afternoon it was still busy. I met and chatted with people taking part. Even my wife, Jackie, who claims she cannot draw, actually joined in!  How well adults and children responded to this opportunity to collaborate – not compete – to create a piece of work. When I returned in the afternoon, I was most impressed by what had been achieved. May there be more fun days and Big Draws. 

Claire Manning

The sound of happy chatter greeted me as I came into the hall, embracing and welcoming me. It gave me the courage to sit down and begin to draw, as I chatted happily with newly made friends about the marks we were making. My work influenced them as their drawings in turn influenced me. A lovely experience!