Children on school shut-downs around the world are drawing inspiration and comfort from an Irish illustrator’s online art project.
Marvel comic book artist, Will Sliney, who also does art work for Everton Football Club’s match programmes, said he’s been overwhelmed with the response to his #wewilldraw initiative on Twitter and Facebook.
He got a few dozen drawings from stay-at-home kids on their first day of school lock-down on Friday.
But his idea has gone viral and he’s been inundated with thousands of pictures of superheroes and cartoon characters over the weekend.
An art teacher in Tokyo is now encouraging her class to get involved.
He said the volume of work has been so great, he hopes to set up a daily one-hour YouTube live art class for kids later this week and host it for the duration of the school-shutdown.
For Today. I want you to draw, whatever your favourite cartoon is. I want to see what people watch these days. My favourite was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Which ever cartoon is drawn the most, will be a future challenge. #wewilldraw pic.twitter.com/HOugGoHTxp— Will Sliney (@WillSliney) March 15, 2020
"It started on Friday morning when someone sent me a photo of a picture their kid was drawing, unprompted, and it brought a smile to my face. It was the first smile I had that day," he said.
"So I decided why not put that call out there to see if other kids wanted to draw."
Will, who drew SpiderMan for Marvel and who now works on their Star Wars comic book series, has posted his images for children to colour in, while encouraging them to also draw their own favourite characters from SpiderMan to Star Wars.
"I thought maybe I could give them an objective, point them in some direction, give them a bit of encouragement, and that it might get a lot more kids drawing. And I thought maybe I’d get 100 responses," he said.
"And it has really brightened up my day, and it seems to have brightened up a lot of other peoples’ days as well."
Cyborg. Well done https://t.co/GxuSdiBlPg— Will Sliney (@WillSliney) March 15, 2020
From his home studio in Ballycotton, Co Cork, his idea has encouraged other artists and authors to do something similar to keep kids entertained.
Dynamite Studios have published some of their images online for kids to colour in and some childrens’ authors said they’ve been inspired to post readings online.
Ummm. This is incredible https://t.co/Avfj9YgQUp— Will Sliney (@WillSliney) March 15, 2020
Tomorrow, Hairy Baby t-shirts will pick their favourite drawings from the #wewilldraw entries and print them onto once-off personalised t-shirts for the artists.
Vibes and Scribes in Cork, who are open, are putting together arts and crafts kits and supplies to also keep people going.
Whoaaa! https://t.co/JC15aJMuU5— Will Sliney (@WillSliney) March 15, 2020
Will, who has spent years from working from home, advised people to where possible, work the hours during which they find themselves most productive.
"For me, the earlier I start the more I get done. So I get most of my work done between 7am and 1pm," he said.