The big draw is well under way in Maine.

Museums across the state are dedicating much of their calendar in 2011 to exhibitions that highlight the fine art and great tradition of drawing. A lot of commercial galleries are joining the fun, too.

On Saturday, the Portland Museum of Art opens “European Drawings at the Portland Museum of Art.” The show, which remains on view through May 22, includes more than two dozen works from the museum collection, as well as pieces on loan from collectors.

The Portland show is part of “Where to Draw the Line: The Maine Drawing Project,” a statewide collaboration of arts organizations that will feature drawing shows throughout the year. The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, the museums at Colby and Bowdoin colleges, and the Area Gallery at the University of Southern Maine in Portland all have drawing shows on view as well.

At the Portland museum, visitors will see work that ranges from portraits and figure studies to landscapes and architectural studies. The exhibition will demonstrate how drawings were used for many different purposes long ago, and will highlight the work of French artists Jean Fran?s Millet and Honor?aumier, British master Samuel Prout, German Expressionist George Grosz and others.

As part of the PMA show, Portland artist Kimberly Convery will lead a session for children and family from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. “The Big Draw” will encourage kids to experiment with various drawing tools. Participants will make their own drawings, then combine them into one to create an oversized instant masterpiece.

The program is free with museum admission, and registration is not required in advance.

Convery is also showing a selection of drawings at Aucocisco Galleries on Exchange Street in Portland.

Meanwhile, Portland gallerist June Fitzpatrick plans to focus on drawing in a series of exhibitions that begin in April with work by August Ventimiglia at the Fitzpatrick gallery at Maine College of Art, 522 Congress St..

Throughout the year, both Fitzpatrick galleries — the one at MECA and her High Street gallery across from the museum — will show work by significant draftsmen as well as promising newcomers.

Work will range from Emily Nelligan’s charcoal drawings of Cranberry Island and Carl Klimt’s small drawings on newsprint to Susan Groce’s large graphite and mixed-media drawings on paper.

Richard Wilson’s small graphite drawings of foreboding interiors will juxtapose with Thomas Cornell’s monumental human landscape drawings. Greg Parker’s early drawings from an extended stay in Asia will hang beside Noa Warren’s drawings on panel, and early drawings by Leonard Baskin will be paired with pages from Tom Hall’s sketch book.

Fitzpatrick said she arranged her calendar to allow for a range of work, from abstract to representational, and from formal to experimental.