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I ink he’s on to something!

Wednesday, 18th March, 2020 3:04pm

An Irish illustrator who draws superheroes for a living has saved the day for children and parents on school shutdowns around the world.

Will Sliney, a Ballycotton-based illustrator who draws for Marvel Comics, recently began the #wewilldraw initiative after he received a number of drawings from school children via Twitter.

Since then Will has been inundated with thousands of drawings of superheroes and other colourful characters from children of all ages who are being forced to stay home amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

“I remember sitting on the couch and everyone was a bit shell shocked, so I went to look at Twitter to see how bad it was, and a parent had sent me a drawing that their child had done. It put a smile on my face knowing that the world still rotates and carries on,” said Will.

The #wewilldraw initiative sets out different tasks and themes for children every day, who can then post their illustrations on Twitter.

Will said: “It's a nice thing for kids to do when they can't do much else. It's been really nice to see. I'm getting so many messages from parents saying that their kids are waking up and asking what the topic is for the next day.”

The response to the initiative has been so positive that Will has decided to take the project to the next level by providing a series of free, live-streamed drawing classes.

The first class, which showed viewers how to draw Pokemon, went live on Tuesday and was viewed by more than 6,600 people.

“You have to do things remotely now. I have all the gear needed so I said I’d give it a go. Anyone can do it. Drawing isn’t a talent, it's a skill, so the more you draw the better you get,” he said.

Will’s project has even reached as far as Japan, with one teacher there urging her students to get involved with the project.

“She's been doing remote learning with her kids for a while now. She sent me on some interesting stuff, like how to peel a Japanese orange and make it look like art,” he said.

Will, who has been a professional illustrator since 2008, works from his home studio in Ballycotton and says that working from home can have benefits, but also comes with its own challenges.

“I could give you all the survival tips now, everything from tracksuit bottoms to making sure empty cups of tea don't stack up beside the desk,” he said.

He added: “I'm very comfortable doing it the way I do it. But you do miss the office social life. I think people will start to realise soon that they miss that aspect more than they thought they would.”

So far, Will has encouraged children to draw their favourite Irish person for St Patrick’s Day, their favourite sports star, Spider-Man, Star Wars characters and their favourite superhero.

Will Sliney’s Twitter account name is @willsliney or search #wewilldraw.

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