Hana Ayoob: UnCharismatic Critters

UnCharismatic Critters runs from Mon 28 Jun-Sat 3 Jul. Join Hana as she goes on a creative exploration of those creepy critters that are vital to our planet but less cute and fluffy than we might like... Scroll down to sign on to our FREE events with Hana!

When we talk and think about protecting the animals we share our planet with, we tend to focus on the charismatic megafauna. These are the larger animals with popular appeal such as tigers, pandas, elephants and whales. Other animals like bugs, creepy crawlies, frogs and bats get overlooked, no matter how important they are to healthy environments and communities. 

Hana's residency will focus on these less charismatic, often misunderstood and sometimes downright hated animals. She will use drawing to bring them into the light and to bring attention to their importance and what we can do to protect them. This is something she has already begun doing here and there over the years - combining her artistic practice with a background in zoology and a love for weird and wonderful creatures - and is something she would love to spend even more time delving into.  

UnCharismatic Critters will explore, highlight and uncover the lesser known and lesser liked animals which we share our planet with through a week-long residency. 

The residency will include 

  1. a sketchbook project - which will explore these overlooked animals through a range of different illustration formats and media, including rough sketches, more detailed illustrations, mini-infographics, comics and more.
  2. a larger art piece (A2) of a world map - this world map would be filled with small intricate drawings of uncharismatic animals from all over the world. Requests can come from The Big Draw audience. 
  3. live interviews and drawing workshops with scientists who study these animals - short Instagram live and YouTube live interviews with scientists specialising in these sorts of uncharismatic animals, focussing on scientists from zoology and ecology. 

We need to know about our urban, suburban and rural wildlife in order to care about and protect it. By drawing attention to less charismatic, often misunderstood and sometimes even reviled animals, Hana hopes to encourage more people to care about all the living things we share our planet with and to be inspired by these lesser-known critters.  

"People often say ‘good’ or ‘who cares’ when I tell them a spider, beetle or bat is endangered, but we need all of these animals for healthy environments we can live in and with. For example, bats have been culled in lots of areas during the pandemic due to a perceived connection with COVID19, and rather than having any impact on the spread of disease, this will only affect the amazing contribution bats make to pollination, seed dispersal and pest control. Contributions that few are aware of.

"During my residency I work will uncover these connections through drawing and will also point people towards organisations and resources showing what they can personally do to Make the Change for UnCharismatic Critters."

- Hana Ayoob

UnCharismatic Critters Residency Map

UnCharismatic Critters runs from Mon 28 Jun-Sat 3 Jul. Join Hana as she goes on a creative exploration of those creepy critters that are vital to our planet but less cute and fluffy than we might like. 


How to draw a fly

Join Hana for a Zoom workshop on Mon 28 Jun where she'll guide you through drawing a fly & chat with entomologist Dr Amoret Whitaker to discuss her work with blow flies.

Mon 28 Jun, 6pm (UK time)

On Zoom / Register on Eventbrite 


 Hana with The Big Draw

Hana will have a chat with The Big Draw director, Kate Mason, talking drawing, creativity, art, science, creepy crawlies and a lot more!

Tue 29 Jun, 6.30pm (UK time)

On The Big Draw Instagram


Talking Snakes 

Hana takes over the Big Draw Instagram to chat with herpetologist Steven Allain about all about snakes. Get your questions ready!

Wed 30 Jun, 6pm (UK time)

On The Big Draw Instagram


Talking Spiders

On Fri 2 Jul, Hana will chat with ecologist Liam Nash about spiders. Any & all questions you've ever had about our eight-legged friends, have them at the ready!

Fri 2 Jul, 6pm (UK time)

On The Big Draw Instagram


How to draw a bat 

Join Hana for a Zoom workshop where she'll guide you through drawing a bat, joined by bat researcher Dr Susan Tsang to discuss her work with flying foxes.

Sat 3 Jul, 6pm (UK time)

On Zoom / Register on Eventbrite 


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.

About The Big Draw Digital Residencies 2021

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.

Hana's proposal, UnCharismatic Critters, was one of the four selected for our digital residencies!

Find out more about our digital residencies, and meet the other selected artists.

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.