Since 2012 Jane has delivered drawing workshops to thousands of people of all ages across the UK and internationally. Using her favoured medium for its simplicity and accessibility, the humble Biro (ballpoint pen), Jane's workshops are both creative and environmentally educational. She inspires participants to form emotional connections with the species they draw, and embrace the fact that we all have our own unique drawing styles. Her workshops also aim to build confidence through creativity and the belief that, "EVERYONE CAN DRAW!"
In 2014, Jane Lee McCracken founded Drawing for Endangered Species (DFES) workshops in corporate partnership with international wildlife charity Born Free, to share her passions for Biro drawing and wildlife. In 2019 Jane founded Where Did All the Animals Go? (WDATAG?) international art and environmental education project also in partnership with Born Free. By bringing art and environmental education to schools and the community, this project not only gives the gift of wildlife and drawing to children and adults but also provides the opportunity for participants to become environmental brokers and cultural ambassadors.
As part of the project she organised a pilot exhibition featuring children's Biro drawings of vulnerable species and the 2019 Endangered Species Conference both held at Thought Foundation Gallery, Gateshead where Will Travers OBE, President and Co-Founder of Born Free was headline speaker at the conference. Over 400 people participated in this exhibition. Between 2019 and 2021 she organised the Where Did All the Animals Go? 2021 exhibition now on permanent display at the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne, England displaying drawings of global species by over 600 children from schools in North East England, California, Guyana and Kenya. Jane says:
"Many children possess a natural enthusiasm for art and animals. Through drawing, environmental education and the opportunity of self-expression, I hope to generate individual compassion which will continue into adulthood and lead to collective responsibility towards wildlife and the environment."
Watch Jane's workshop video above for drawing tips.
Jane providing tutoring to Kate at Thought Foundation Gallery
Jane's workshop structure provides participants with the opportunity to learn about and create portraits of wildlife in single colour or colour Biros. Her workshops include:
- Short presentation about Jane's art practice, featured species, why they are threatened and ways to help wildlife.
- Discussion where participants are encouraged to ask questions about wildlife and art and express their experiences, knowledge of and threats to wildlife.
- Drawing tips including Jane's working method, drawing ethos, colour mixing and how to use ballpoint pens.
- Practical Biro drawing session which includes individual tutoring by Jane for each participant throughout the workshop.
- Informal exhibition at the end of each workshop, whether on site on a table or floor or virtually by holding up drawings which enables participants to appreciate that like our finger prints, we all possess our own unique drawing styles.
Madagascar Biro Drawing Workshop at Thought Foundation 2019
Jane's aim is not only to raise awareness about the beauty and fragility of the natural world but to help others discover or revisit and celebrate the joy of expressing our inner creativity and the fact that drawing transports the mind from everyday life and can be used as a simple and free therapeutic tool that can also help build self-confidence. Participants are encouraged to express their individuality and as Jane says,
"to see animals as individual beings that live their own lives according to their needs and to make an emotional connection with the animal you choose to draw. Forming emotional connections with species and thinking about what their eyes have seen and that many of them face a very uncertain future on our planet, is one of the key components to helping wildlife: if we care, we want to conserve."
Isaac Year 5 Jarrow Cross Primary with his Chimpanzee 2019 colour Biro drawing
OUTREACH PROGRAM WORKSHOPS
Guyana Art Ambassador, Arianne Harris delivering Guyana species workshop at Kurupukari Primary, Fairview
For the Where Did All the Animals Go? 2021 exhibition international workshops Jane delivered virtual workshops to children in California with assistance from the California Outreach Team. Jane also worked with other Outreach Teams including WDATAG? Art Ambassador Arianne Harris, conservationists, artists and teachers, providing training for the delivery of her workshops so that all participating children created drawings in accordance with her exhibition theme which concentrates on the unique beauty of individual species. These workshops were hugely successful with extraordinary drawings created by children from Guyana and Kenya.
Born Free Kenya's, Charles delivering a workshop to Kenyan children
Following these pilot workshops, Drawing for the Planet is creating a workshop programme for Art Ambassadors to deliver Jane's workshops as well as a programme for guest Artist's to deliver nature inspired workshops designed to reflect by their own art practices. See Our Projects for further information about how workshops feature in our work.
Kenyan workshop with children receiving drawing tutoring from their teacher