Another Brick in the Wall

Faculty Guest Blogger: Patrick McLane

Patrick McLane: This summer I was contacted by a The WALLOBOOKS Project, a non-profit organization based in India whose mission is to reach every child who doesn’t have a storybook. They partner with authors and illustrators around the world to supply children in conflict zones or vulnerable communities with access to books and classroom libraries.

Visit WALLOBOOKS online at

They had come across my portfolio on the International Directory of Children’s Illustrators and were impressed with my style and the fact that I explore subject matter from various cultures and folklore. They asked if I would be interested in becoming one of their “Ambassadors of Hope”.

Ambassadors of Hope are authors and illustrators who develop mini storybooks using WALLOBOOKS’ one-page book template to easily deliver literature to children across the globe. Their unique template utilizes one sheet of paper that is die-cut and scored to create 8 page books. The books are shipped flat and folded into book format when received by the end user.

The story I illustrated, It Belongs to Us All takes place in Somalia and depicts real life issues that affect children from that locality. Their stories also often contain a social justice or environmental question on the back page to encourage the reader to become more involved in their communities.

Belongs 2 All
Belongs 2 All

As I was working on this project I was so impressed with the vision and enthusiasm of WALLOBOOKS that I decided to get my high school students involved as well. I contacted WALLOBOOKS and asked for 10 more stories to have my students illustrate.

Students set up video chats with the authors and the WALLOBOOKS administration team, and work with me in the roll of art director to develop roughs, dummy books and ultimately finished illustrations. This is a wonderful real-world project for my illustration students. They are currently working with authors from 7 different countries to bring the authors’ ideas to life through original artwork.

Along with learning more about the process of illustrating for a client, students are learning about children from various cultures, about the value of pro bono work and about global citizenship.

Interested in pursuing Illustration at Marywood?

Our professors are working professionals with first-hand knowledge of the opportunities available in the field of illustration. Courses are tailored to your particular interests and strengths, while fostering a broad understanding of the wide range of uses for illustration. Class projects focus on concept development, design, craft, and color. They require students to work in a variety of 2D and 3D media. Marywood offers degrees in both undergraduate and graduate illustration tracks.

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