Drop in Drawing - Here to Stay!

Article Detail

Sunday 21 April 2013
Selina Anderson

Drop in Drawing is now a permanent programme at the Auckland Art Gallery!
Session times:
Tuesdays 12-1pm
Sunday 2-3pm
FREE with all materials provided, no booking needed
Ask at the front desk for locations on the day.



Lots of people ask me why we are doing Drop in Drawing. It's a really good question. Drawing in a gallery is not a new concept or idea by any means. You can walk through galleries all over the world and see people sketching or even painting. But the purposes behind why we do this programme is something I think is unique. Some of the reasons we do this programme are:

  • Because it is not about learning to draw, but about drawing to learn
  • Because it helps people connect with the artwork
  • Because it is purposeful and flexible
  • Because it is about a process as well as a product
  • Because it celebrates and validates our visitors experiences 

A Visitors idea of what happens next in one of the Victorian paintings.

Through Drop in Drawing visitors experience each element of the Creative Process. They...
EXPLORE an artwork more closely
EXPERIMENT with mark making, and the process of drawing
CREATE something of their own
SHARE the experience with others taking part


What visitors saw above eye level in our North Atrium.

Prompts we have challenged visitors with so far have been:

  • Draw something above eye level
  • Draw with your pencil in your other hand
  • Draw what you think happens next in the artwork
  • Memory game - look at the artwork for 20 seconds then turn around and draw from memory
  • Never take your pencil off the paper
  • Clothe the nudes
  • Caption this artwork
  • Hold your pencil in your elbow
  • Guess my scribble
  • Change the background
  • Reconfigure the composition of an artwork

We have used historic works, contemporary installations, modernist paintings, and the architecture and spaces to provide inspiration to visitors. 


A visitors work who took on the challenge of continuous line drawing.

As you can see from the prompts, the focus is on being social, close looking, engaging with the artwork, and a process, not a polished end product. We have very consciously decided that these are not technical drawing sessions.

Visitors have expressed appreciation of the challenges, because sitting in front of an artwork and just being told to 'draw' can be overwhelming and intimidating. Two feelings we want to eradicate from peoples experiences with art making! If there is a prompt,challenge, or type of artwork you would like to experience in Drop in Drawing let us know, we love suggestions on how to further push and extend this concept.



Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this programme so far and for all the positive feedback and suggestions you have given us. So far over 260 people have taken part in these drawing sessions in the past eight weeks! We cannot wait to watch this programme grow and are really excited to have it in our Learning Programmes family.


A creature that began as a scribble and morphed into something the artist never predicted.