At the start of the Covid pandemic back in March, something magical did happen. It was the creativity and imaginations of young kids around Ireland writing their stories during the lockdown that has inspired me truly. I’ve had the opportunity to assist when Fighting Words were looking for volunteers to help to illustrate stories written by these kids.
It was truly a pleasure to be able to illustrate some of the wonderful characters in their stories as part of the Un-School Club project. Here is a story about sibling rivalry between Dan and Cara written by Tom aged 7. I actually loved illustrating these characters and I tried to put a bit of humour in them. Here is the link :
April Fool’s story
This is another story written by Olivia, aged 10 that I really enjoyed illustrating as part of the Un-School Club. Since this story was written in early April, Olivia wrote the story revolving around the April Fool’s theme. Her character of the Mad Scientist who enjoys playing pranks on his daughter is brilliant and of course he has to do it on the 1st of April. I’ve has so much fun illustrating this! Here is the link to the story on Fighting Words website :
Story that speaks loudly about the environmental issues.
This is one of the most interesting story that I have illustrated written by Olivia, aged 10. For such a young age, her story reflected on a global issue about rubbish, plastic bags and the threats towards the sea creatures. I always like to put a bit of humour behind each characters that I have drawn and I decided to make Mr Shark with a dashing pointy moustache!
Read Olivia’s story : https://www.fightingwords.ie/stories/toms-day-beach
Fighting Words Lighthouse
Young Story-keeper Stories
This is another project that I truly enjoyed being part of. Throughout the summer, The Commissioners of Irish Lighthouses of Ireland and Fighting Words run the Young Story-keepers encouraging young writers aged 7 to 12 years across Ireland to submit their creative stories inspired by the lighthouse. When you think about it, the lighthouse itself is very majestic and mysterious in itself. This is such a perfect setting for a wonderful stories. These kids have done very well indeed. Most importantly, I am captivated by their imaginations & creativity. I am super excited to be able to illustrate some of their stories. I’ve had so much fun doing it and their great stories and great characters hopefully brighten the readers especially during the pandemic. Here are some of the stories that I have illustrated :
The very Grumpy Lighthouse
This is a very funny story written by Daniel aged 11. The grumpy lighthouse is a great character where the lighthouse grew mouth, eyes, legs and arms. Not only that, the lighthouse suddenly multiplies and you can imagine what happened when we have several grumpy lighthouses on the scene!
Daniel’s story is in the digital online publication at the Fighting Words website, Volume II page 201 : https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/63784977/young-storykeepers-volume-ii
The Heroes of Mayo !
This is a lovely story from a young Mayo GAA fan obviously. There is a sense of adventure, a story about two lighthouse keepers with their pets saving the day. As always, I love a happy ending. I’ve had so much fun illustrating!
Here is the digital story published at Fighting Words website, Volume II page 118 : https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/63784977/young-storykeepers-volume-ii
The Lighthouse girl
Nothing gives me more excitement like a flying lighthouse launched into a space just by the simple button. I am thrilled when I receive this story written by Rosa, a girl aged 8 to illustrate. My favourite thing about her story is how she describes one of the character who is an alien with such details : red face,green ears, yellow nose ,bellies with black and blue stripes with rabbit ears! For an illustrator, it is pure heaven. Such details always makes me go wild and fun allowing me to really go deep into the character.
Here is the digital story published by Fighting Words earlier this year. Volume V, page 34 & 35.
Jack The Sailor – Lighthouse Story by Central Remedial Clinic Group
This is another story that I very much enjoyed illustrating. As part of the Lighthouse Stories, Fighting Words held a story writing workshop and I was very humble to be able to illustrate their story. The theme surrounding the Corona Virus is very much the highlight of the story. Nevertheless, I love the brilliant colours of the new graphic pens that I have ordered from Amazon ( Touch bool) ! I have to say, I am happy with the result.
‘That One Time’ online anthology by Frontline workers and their families.
This is another project with Fighting Words that I am truly honoured to be part of. Fighting Words published an online anthology, a selection of stories & poems written by the frontline workers and their families. I illustrated one of the story written by a mental health nurse. Their dedication, hard work and their sense of duty towards their patients is very inspiring especially during the toughest year that we’ve had. In this particular illustration, I hope to depict the emotion and feelings of such brave and courageous workers. I decided to use mix media including graphic pens, pastel, ink and cut out papers. Using several headlines of the news relating to Corona Virus timeline, I cut and pasted them like a collage as a background.
To all the frontline workers in Ireland, I thank you for your services and I am grateful to be able to return my appreciation to you by this illustration.
Here is the link to their stories : https://www.fightingwords.ie/news/one-time
Dublin Art & Human Rights Festival 2020
Back in October, I have been given the opportunity to illustrate a song written by a group of teenagers as part of the Dublin & Human Rights Festival.
They have written a beautiful song, ‘Be the Change you want to Be’. A song written about hope and a better future by young teenagers. They are our future generations and as always truly inspiring! https://www.fightingwords.ie/news/be-change-you-want-be-song-future
Fighting Words Primary School online Story Writing workshop
The Primary School Story Writing workshops has always been my favourite part about Fighting Words. Previously, we have been receiving primary school kids at the Fighting Words Centre in Drumcondra. The current pandemic has stopped all activities. I do miss the live interactions and their excitement when they participate in the workshops. Nevertheless, we did managed to conduct the workshops online via Zoom. The excitement and anticipation is still there. Despite some technical difficulties at times with technology, these kids still enjoyed their virtual experiences.Most importantly their magical stories and their wonderful imagination can still part of the whole process and there are some wonderful stories indeed created. Here are some of the stories that I have illustrated :
Blob & Buster the Saviours
This is a wonderful story written by kids from Scoil Chaitriona, Dublin 5, 5th Class. I just love the characters like the Bob the alien and Buster the dog. The main thing about one of the plot of their story that struct me is how these kids are aware of the global climate change and the intention of humans to find a habitable new planet to live in the future. Nevertheless, with brilliant characters and story line, how could it not be a great story ? Here is the full story online at Fighting Words website :https://www.fightingwords.ie/stories/blob-and-buster-saviours
The Wish for the Dog
This is another wonderful story written by kids from Our Lady Immaculate JNS, 2nd class. I love how dog is always seems as one of the favourite character in a children story. This is a very special dog called Lucky. Unfortunately, Lucky lost his luck when a fire beetle stung him! I started experimenting with ink and this is one of my favourite medium to use when illustrating.The colours are bold and striking. If you wish to know Lucky’s story, why not have a peek at the Fighting Words website : https://www.fightingwords.ie/stories/wish-dog-food
I am always fascinated by pigs! I am not sure if it is the restriction of the Muslim culture about this animal that I have being brought up with that makes me intrigue, but one thing I know, pigs are great character to illustrate and it has always been in children’s literature. Pigs are indeed very cute and funny animal. This story, written by wonderful kids from Scoil Assaim BNS, 5th class is really cute indeed and it has been a pleasure indeed to illustrate. Two pigs felt in love and their snouts touch each other. What a Piggy love ! Here is the story :https://www.fightingwords.ie/stories/piggy-land