Drawing on our windows

drawing from inside

Photo by Allison White/PEM

This weekend, we are participating in an international drawing festival called The Big Draw that has inspired us to break out the window markers and create right on the  front of the museum.

Emily Larsen, who works as a graphic designer in the Creative Services department, has been drawing elephants and giraffes on the window by the front entrance to show off our passion for drawing and our upcoming exhibition in the Art and Nature Center, which is all about animals.

animals window

Photo by Emily Larsen

She drew comments from those passing by.

“I like what you’re doing. What are you making?” commented a little girl, holding onto her mom’s hand as they went into the museum.

A group of high school students asked for illustration tips.


The original concept for our windows.

painting 3

The sketches Larsen made and referenced while free-drawing on the windows.

Her next project is to help install seven-foot tall giraffes on the building’s pillars, made by local artist Tom Darsney. She will also draw a 3-D koi pond on the ground, which will be filled with illustrated fish and lily pads by those kids and adults participating in the festival.

In addition to the graphic design tools, Larsen has always been interested in picking up a pencil and actually drawing. Those who are also interested should not be afraid to come draw Friday and Saturday. Amateurs and professional illustrators alike will find an inspiring activity here this weekend at the museum.

See our site for a complete schedule of events or Boston Magazine  sliced and diced the schedule into interesting categories:

For the illustrious: Check out Jeff Hopkins’s performance of “Pictures Come to Life,” during which the illustrator will create an original story inspired by the PEM collection. The audience can then color in the one-of-a-kind storybook. Friday, 6:30-7 p.m., and Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-noon and 2-2:30 p.m.

For the colorful: Step into the LightBomber Photo Booth to try your hand at light painting. Your kids won’t be scared of the dark anymore after they find out just how fun it is. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

For the reflective: M.C. Escher meets yoga meditation in Zentangle, a method of drawing that involves creating detailed and intricate patterns. Pros describe it as relaxing process that requires focus and can even help shape your lifestyle. The rest of us call it something to do during Chemistry 101 lectures. Saturday, 1:30-4 p.m.

For the homebodies: Those less inclined to travel to Salem can still take part in The Big Draw Online by AccessArt. Create your own artwork out of anything you like, and then upload the project to the Drawing with Stuff! online gallery.


Light painting is part of The Big Draw Festival this weekend at PEM. Photo courtesy of Boston Magazine

For more information on The Big Draw taking place around the globe, visit their site.

final photo

The drawing is coming together on an unseasonably warm October day. Photo by Whitney Van Dyke.

Details of Emily’s drawing:


Photo by Allison White/PEM


Photo by Allison White/PEM



  1. Meredith says:

    What a wonderful project! I am thrilled to see that there is an online component. I grew up in Salem, going to the PEM. Now I am in a Masters program studying to be a museum educator. Thank you so much for the blog posts, they are a wonderful way to keep in touch with the PEM.

  2. Debby says:

    So proud of my friend Emily!

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