What are Drawing Circles?


Brew Drawing Circles is a global collaborative drawing project, with people sharing and co-creating sketchbooks. 

Each Circle has between 3 and 6 drawers, who each draw in a sketchbook or on loose sheets for an agreed number of weeks, and then send the drawings on to the next member of their Circle. The books then circulate among the members, using drawing as a visual form of conversation.

The books are physical, sent by snail or air mail, or by hand if a local Circle.

Circles can be global, national or local.

In summary the process is:

1) Confirm your membership of the Circle by paying the £12 joining fee and sending your postal address to brewdrawingcircles@gmail.com

2) Communicate with your Circle to agree a time frame for send ons.

2) Start Drawing.

3) On a date agreed by your Circle send the book on to the next person.

4) On an agreed date the Circle ends. Or doesn’t – several are ongoing now. See how it goes…

Sign up here, once you have read the info below. Please do be sure that you can commit to sending drawings on to the next person.

Sign up £12

This is a £12 joining fee, to cover admin costs.

Please also let us know where you are from, and whether you prefer a local, national or global Circle.

How it works: 

When you sign up you will be allocated to a Circle and put in contact with your fellow members.

Acquire a sketchbook or loose paper in a folder, write your name and the date on, or in, the front, and start drawing. Do bear in mind postage costs, so either choose a light-ish book, or send loose sheets – the next person can add to these and send on.

Communication is key!

Communicate with your Circle by e mail to agree your ‘send on’ timeframe – Global Circles find 1 month too short, so often agree to send on after 6 weeks or 2 months. This is up to you to agree on. Do always keep in touch with one another if you are delayed or have problems posting, and let one another know when you send and receive drawings.

Then share your postal address with the person in your Circle who will send books on to you.  You will always send to the same person, so that the books move clockwise around the Circle.

You can draw on fresh pages, and / or on anyone else’s drawings, and can annotate drawings. You can date, sign, or not, whatever you prefer.

Draw as much or as little as you like. Trust the books to evolve.

You decide between you when the Circle is complete, and whether you want to keep the books or give them to the Circles Archive. The archive is displayed in occasional exhibitions, used for talks, and for illustrations in publications.

When possible everyone meets up (physically or virtually) to review all the books together. In 2015 we held an international meet up at We ALL Draw, the Thinking through Drawing symposium November 6-8th, in London, to look at and review the books to date, and to create an archive of 2015 books.

Finally, if you speak to other people who are interested please share this link or send me their names and e-mail addresses.

Any questions, e-mail brewdrawingcircles@gmail.com

Best wishes







Drawing Circles Survey

We just sent out a survey by e mail to all past and present Circlers. We would really appreciate your responses. We are writing a chapter about the Circles for a book on collaborative drawing. This is the survey.

Please e mail brewdrawingcircles@gmail.com if you have not received it by e-mail and are willing to complete the survey.

Thank you!


October 2016

Participant approaches and issues Comments
Rules – requesting or assuming rules  
Reluctance to draw on some else’s drawing  
Objections to membership or inclusion: people outside the circle or children contributing  
Issues of ownership; ‘my book’, or wanting to control the circle,  wanting ‘their book’ back at the end of the cycle  
Issues of control: lack of control, sensations of loss when the book moved on or a drawing was reworked or obliterated, and anxiety around control and ownership, instructions left for others e.g. ‘do not draw on this page’ notices, upset participants when books got lost or failed to arrive on time  
Participants who did not wish to work on others’ drawings and continued in their own style with their own pre-occupations  
Communication: easier in smaller groups  
The value ascribed to the book and project by the participant  
Issues of privacy: the use of drawing books to explore the emotional, feelings of vulnerability and the confessional  




The visual qualities of images within the books


The offering of ‘gifts’ to other participants: open ended speculative advances or questions posed that can be responded to in many ways  
Messages of appreciation: e.g. ‘I love this drawing’  
Text used: as description of objects and images, as text and image, as poetic enigma  
The development of shared imagery and/or narratives between pairs or groups of participants  
The use of pictorial framing devices by individuals in an attempt to protect drawings from being reworked by others  
Issues of isolation manifest by books in which no clear conversation takes place, consisting of pages with unconnected drawings  
Submerging images made by others: e.g. burying imagery under pattern, collaging over drawings  
Materiality: cutting spaces through sheets of paper, creating doors and windows  
Challenging the format and notion of the book: adding paper to alter formats, denial of access by closing down the space of the book e.g. gluing all the pages together  
Visual and conceptual clashes: ugly versus pretty, conceptual versus decorative, provocative interventions aimed at exploring clashes of thought and value systems  
Storytelling: over a number of consecutive pages, or throughout a book or from book to book  
The unexpected: images that could only have been generated by two people coming together, surrealist humour  
Playing with the 3 dimensional aspects of the books by adding found objects such as a turntable, paint brushes, a reading light or a bag  
Working all over and all through a book to unify it  
Duration / time phased approaches  


Any other comments:


New Circle

Hi Circlers

I hope all is well.

As some of you know, I have had quite a tough few months with family bereavements and illness. My apologies for any delays with replies and setting up new Circles.

We have a new Global Circle just formed; Global 14

I would love to hear how your Circles are going. Please e mail me at brewdrawingcircles.com with favourite pages to post here, and feedback.

If your Circle has ended and you would like to sign up for another one do contact me.

Best wishes

Angie Brew


Irish Circle II – Piranha Puppy and Kintsugi

The Irish Circle II and Piranha Puppy: PP has ‘interacted’ with several books. The puppy owner writes in explanation:

…It was also immediately attacked by the piraña dog so I had done big Kintsugi work which however made me happy…

Here are some pages of the book so far, including Piranha Puppy’s work, and Kingtsugi response:

Nothing is ever truly broken, that’s the philosophy behind the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi which repairs smashed pottery by using beautiful seams of gold. As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Kintsugi draws attention to the life, rather than the look of a pot




Kintsugi (金継ぎ?) (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (金繕い?) (Japanese: golden repair) Defined as “to repair with gold”,[1] is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery withlacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique.[2][3][4]




Maria Popova on hand written letters

As I ran my fingers over the lined paper, words subtly debossed by the pressure of my grandmother’s ballpoint pen, I wondered about the continuity of personal identity across this shift — my letter-writing self seemed to have entirely different things to say, and to say them entirely differently, than my email-writing self, and yet the two selves belong to the same person. Each appears to be a dormant potentiality, beckoned forth by the respective medium of expression — something that makes it hard not to notice, and hard not to worry about, how such shifts in medium might shape what parts of ourselves we manifest, which in turn add up to the sum total of our personal identity.

We’re Breaking Up: Rebecca Solnit on How Modern Noncommunication Is Changing Our Experience of Time, Solitude, and Communion

  • our different drawing identities come out in the Circles. It’s exciting!

Draw your childhood

Drawing Room at The Foundling Museum.

The ‪#‎foundlingmuseum‬ are running an ‪#‎Instagram‬ ‪#‎competition‬ and invite you to enter. Send @foundlingmuseum a ‪#‎picture‬ via Instagram of a ‪#‎drawing‬, ‪#‎painting‬ or‪#‎digital‬ work depicting a moment from your ‪#‎childhood‬ for the chance to win one of two ‪#‎exciting‬ ‪#‎prizes‬!

More info at www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/drawing-on-childhood. Closing date is 4 March 2016.