2021 Digital Residencies

Meet our digital residency artists...

In April 2021, The Big Draw announced its first ever digital residencies. We invited all UK-based artists to submit a proposal that responded to the 2021 Big Draw Festival theme, Make the Change

Proposals could use both physical and digital tools and mediums, could have a point of real-world engagement, and could take place across a whole month or a more intensive week; we deliberately chose to leave the brief as flexible and open to interpretation as possible.

We wanted specifically to reach out to UK-based artists who feel disadvantaged, overlooked or underrepresented, to encourage those artists who may second guess themselves or their work, or those who are beginning to carve a space for themselves, and help them to get in touch and to share their work with us.

We had 30 amazing proposals! Together with an esteemed judging panel of brilliant industry arts and culture professionals, Jade Montserrat, Yiying Lu, Tanya Raabe-Webber and Dapo Adeola, alongside The Big Draw team, Kate Mason and Eleanor Pender, we were able to select our final four proposals from five artists.

The Big Draw is a charity with a global reach, and we had an incredible response to the brief from creatives far and wide - even as far as Los Angeles! We sincerely hope, at some point in the future, to source new funding to offer more of these types of digital residencies to artists around the world.

This project work is funded through the Cultural Emergency Fund – Arts Council England.

Read the full Press Release here.


“The Big Draw is so very proud to announce these four new digital residences. Hana, blkmoodyboi, Sam, Sian and Merlin all shared innovative and engaging proposals, offering insight into their work, thinking and creativity, and we are very excited to work with them over the coming months. Each of our artists come from different creative backgrounds and it will be wonderful to share their journeys and creative practice with our international audience over the coming weeks.

"We are delighted to be able to offer funded opportunities to support artists during this difficult time and work to encourage under-represented artists in the creative sector."

- Kate Mason, Director of The Big Draw

Meet the artists selected below:

Hana Ayoob

Hana Ayoob is an illustrator and science communicator with a background in zoology. Hana draws inspiration from the weirder parts of the natural world and a childhood surrounded by traditional Indian art. She has illustrated 3 books and works on science-inspired commissions for a range of clients. 

Alongside her illustration work, Hana produces and speaks at events, runs creative workshops and provides science communication consultancy and training.

Find out more about Hana's residency.

Merlin Summers

Merlin Summers is an 18-year-old artist based in London. His A-level examinations finished, he is getting set to study animation at university. As an autistic artist with a social communication disorder, this residency enables Merlin to access support and creative development without the pressure of social situations.  Something of a Polymath, Merlin is passionate about art and how things work, and he enjoys experimenting with a variety of natural materials and responding to a particular setting. He is greatly inspired by Leonardo da Vinci and Heath Robinson, and constructed his own crossbow in a da Vinci style with two strings coming from the end and about 27 yards across! 

Sharing his work and creative process in this residency, Merlin wants to set an example for other autistic young artists to demonstrate the work they can create and to show that they can access artistic opportunities and are not excluded because of their disability and difficulty with social skills.

Find out more about Merlin's residency.

Sam Metz & Sian Morrell

Sam Metz is an interdisciplinary artist inspired by movement. Sam’s work researches, creates and reflects on the concept of what they refer to as ‘choreographic objects. A ‘choreographic object’ is any work Sam creates that has, through the process of making or in the way it looks, a relationship to the body and movement. 

As a neurodivergent artist with sensory processing differences, the objects allow Sam to work in non-verbal ways, which is a key part of their practice. As an artist with an unpredictable body (due to both Tourette’s and the disability EDS, a connective tissue disorder) the creation of visual, sculptural objects for choreography and alternative forms of notation have allowed the artist alternative methods of communication with artists.

Sian Morrell is based in Derby where she co-directs 10pm Print Club, a DIY design and screen print studio with Niall McGonagle and Ste Furey. She is part of art and music collective, Shady Cow, a LGBTQIA+ live music showcase, and label Year of Glad,  producing artwork, merch and videos for music artists. 

Sian’s practice is largely digital based, from 2D typography, motion and 3D illustration. She also enjoys finding ways of blending digital and physical environments in event, exhibition, and workshop spaces; this allows for multidisciplinary explorations utilising projection, augmented reality, and creative coding, combining with traditional processes in mural painting, screen printing and textile work.

Find out more about Sam & Sian's residency.


blkmoodyboi is a Non-binary Trans self-taught illustrator that centers Black and Brown trans people in their art. Inspired by comics, anime, friends, and community, blkmoodyboi crafts their own unique style. Through their work, they aim to showcase love, tenderness, and softness as a form of radical resistance against white cis-het patriarchal capitalism. 

Their art aims to bring joy to QTIBIPOC, to celebrate them and archive them. 

Sharing body-positive representations and aligning their imaginings with the natural world, their work forms space to aid mental wellbeing and to remind us to be good to ourselves and others, to nourish one's self and community, and that trans Black and Brown people have always been here.

Find out more about blkmoodyboi's residency.

About The Big Draw

Founded in 2000 by the Guild of St George, The Big Draw is a pioneering visual literacy charity dedicated to raising the profile of drawing as a tool for wellbeing, thought, creativity, social and cultural engagement. The charity leads a diverse programme of advocacy, empowerment and engagement, and is the founder and driving force behind The Big Draw Festival – the world’s biggest celebration of drawing.

The Big Draw manages collaborative research projects, campaigns and educational conferences on visual literacy, digital technology and STEAM. The charity supports professional and emerging artists through its national contemporary art prize, The John Ruskin Prize and exhibition, and through events, awards, and competitions, creating platforms for each and everyone who wants to draw.

Find out more about The Big Draw.