Care HomesNews

Well Known Illustrator Delivers His First Drawing Class For Care Home Residents

Residents at over 20 Care UK homes were recently treated to a master class in drawing with nationally renowned artist and animator Gary Andrews as part of the celebrations for the 2020 Big Draw Festival.

During the on-line sessions, residents and team members were able to join in as Gary, a former illustrator with internationally-known companies, taught everyone how to draw a variety of endangered birds and animals, including koalas, polar bears, puffins and sea turtles. He also explained various drawing techniques, such as shading and under-drawing. At the end of the session, residents were invited to ask questions and submit requests for animals they wanted him draw with his friendly bat proving one of the most popular.

Launched in 2000 as part of the ‘Campaign for Drawing’, the month-long Big Draw Festival promotes drawing as a tool for learning, expression and invention, and has encouraged over four million people to get arty since its inception. ‘A Climate of Change’, this year’s theme, focuses on the relationship between people and their environment, and offers a great opportunity for older people to reminisce about their favourite nature spots, as well as trips in youngers years to the great outdoors, and how our focus looking after our planet has changed in recent years.

Gary, who is also an ambassador for the Big Draw, said: “Hosting a live drawing session via Zoom was a unique and incredibly moving experience, and it was a pleasure to meet residents and team members at so many homes. Everyone can draw, all it takes is to pick up a pencil – it’s not about perfection, it’s about doing something enjoyable, and I think this session perfectly illustrated that.”

Care UK’s dementia expert Suzanne Mumford said: “Drawing, arts and crafts are much loved activities in a great many of our homes. People are often surprised to find that we have many talented artists who have drawn or painted throughout their life and we love being able to support them to continue or even rediscover that pastime. But whether someone is an accomplished artist or has only doodled on their shopping list it doesn’t matter – we’ll encourage them to have a go if they’d like to.

“Gary’s session worked at many levels, some residents enjoyed drawing along using his tips of the trade while others were happy to enjoy the spectacle of animals appearing on the page. Drawing is especially beneficial for older people, including those living with dementia. It improves motor skills, helps with concentration and can often stimulate conversations about long forgotten memories. Most important of all, it’s an enjoyable and relaxing activity to do.”

After a successful participation in the Big Draw Festival last year, Care UK renewed its partnership in 2020, becoming the main health and social care partner and leading the way in changing perceptions of life in a care home by promoting activity-based care and encouraging other care homes to follow suit. Across the country, more than 70 homes have been getting arty and working with their local communities virtually to create works of art around the theme ‘A Climate of Change’.

To find out more about Care UK’s partnership with the Big Draw, and for more top tips on how you and your loved ones can get involved at home, visit

To find out more about the Big Draw festival, please go to


COTS 2024