This special Big Draw Festival article is devoted to Derwent, friends and supporters of The Big Draw Festival.
Looking back at our 2022 Big Draw Festival theme, Come Back to Colour came from a place of remembering and reminding. Helping us to see the colour in the spaces we see everyday, finding those we were unable to see with friends and family, and reconnecting with a combination of old habits and new routines.
Stepping outdoors became a vital part in this process, reconnecting not only with each other but with the world around us. Research led by the Mental Health Foundation in 2021 supports the established idea that visiting green spaces, such as parks, and getting outside helped many of us cope throughout the pandemic. In more urban and built-up areas, as spaces started to open back up, the need to be out and about in nature is something we may have missed until it was laid out before us.
Now, as days grow longer and spring is in the air, this connection to nature, to spaces that can support us physically, mentally and emotionally, is one we need to preserve and maintain. In our work with Derwent, The Big Draw has an ideal opportunity to do this with their Riverlands Collection, a series of fine art sets created in collaboration with the National Trust and launched last year.
Internationally recognised for pushing the boundaries to create innovative fine art materials, Derwent and the National Trust have rooted the collection in the natural habitat that led to its inspiration. The five sets feature illustrations by artist Claudine O’Sullivan created with pencils from the Riverlands Collection, using each set’s distinctive colour palette. The illustrations are inspired by rivers and landscapes in the National Trust’s care and the species that live there, including otters, kingfishers, and dragonflies.
Looking to the future, and preserving these homes and habitats, 10% of each of the five sets of pencils sold from the Derwent and National Trust Riverlands Collection goes to the River Derwent programme, part of National Trust’s Riverland’s Project, a national conservation programme to restore a healthy environment within rivers and protect wildlife.
Artist Claudine O’Sullivan uses the Riverland Collection Watercolour Set. Image courtesy of Derwent.
The Riverlands Project addresses some of the biggest challenges facing UK nature, including climate change, intensive farming, pollution and an increase in invasive non-native species. In response, the National Trust’s Riverlands Project focuses on restoring rivers, restoring wildlife and habitats, promoting nature-friendly farming, providing opportunities for people to reconnect with nature, and engaging with local communities. The Derwent and National Trust Riverlands Collection is a chance to support and promote this vital effort to restore a healthy, beautiful, natural environment.
The full range of the Derwent Riverlands Collection. Image courtesy of Derwent.
For those looking to expand their colour pencil palette range, the five sets of pencils from the Riverlands Collection are:
All five sets in the Derwent and National Trust Riverlands Collection are available in selected retailers across the UK and via derwentart.com. Recommended retail prices from £19.99 to £34.99.
During the 2022 Big Draw Festival, Derwent was an ideal partner supporting The Big Draw in our ongoing work to get everyone drawing with their beautiful pencils. The Riverlands Collection allows friends and faithful followers of The Big Draw to create beautiful artwork while knowing they are supporting and helping our open spaces and riverlands receive the loving care and repair they need.
Mental Health Foundation. (2021). Nature. How connecting with nature benefits our mental health, mentalhealth.org
With over 100 years of know-how packed into every pencil and art tool, for generations, artists have chosen and trusted the Derwent® brand for art materials. Derwent® still makes art materials in England’s Lake District, where graphite was first discovered in 1832 and hasn’t stopped pushing boundaries and innovating since The Cumberland Pencil Company was founded there in 1916. Derwent® is owned by ACCO UK Ltd, an ACCO Brands Company.
Head to their website