A boy who was told to stop doodling at school has started a new chapter in his life – after being offered a lucrative global book deal.
Joe Whale, 10, was sent to an after-school arts club by his parents after he got into trouble for drawing during class when he got bored.
His art teacher was so impressed with his fun sketches, she asked his parents if she could put them on Instagram which they agreed.
His creations attracted an army of fans around the world leading him to be affectionately nicknamed ‘The Doodle Boy’.
Last year a local restaurant hired him to create a huge mural on the wall of their dining room.
This week a US publisher has asked him to illustrate a series of three childrens’ books with the first being published globally next year.
Joe, who spends hours doodling on the walls of his parents’ home in Shrewsbury, Shrops., said: “It feels very good. I’m really proud of myself.
“It is one of the main things I’ve wanted – to do a book.
“I’ve seen all the illustrated books in stores and it will be amazing to have my own book on the shelves.
“The main thing I draw is scenes – those are my favourite. I love drawing beaches and forests and that sort of stuff.
“I have a few characters in my doodles but my focus is on monsters and aliens.
“I spend one or two hours a day drawing, sometimes more – when I wake up in the morning, near lunchtime and in the afternoon.
“I have always drawn all my life since I was two or three.
“I started doodling when I was six or seven when I wanted to change my style. It has worked out really well.
“I definitely want to be an artist. It is one of the most relaxing things I do.
“When I’m angry I go to my room and start doodling. It makes me feel happy.”
The young artist, who has a book agent in Los Angeles, recently spent a week in the States illustrating the set of TV show “Little Big Shots”.
Joe added: “My dad asked if I wanted to do it (the TV show set) and I was like ‘Dad, of course I want to do it’ and since then that’s pushed me to do what I love and I think that’s sort of what I’m going to do.
“I just keep telling myself, do what you love, do what you love, doodle.
“I don’t really think about what I’m doing, I just go ahead with it and just create from my mind. I don’t really plan, I just do what I’m feeling.”
Proud dad Greg Whale, 40, said: “He has got a book deal in place but I can’t say who that is with at the moment.
“The publisher wants to announce it themselves.
“It is a global book deal for a series of heavily illustrated children’s books. We think there may be three, at least two.
“There is an advance, but I don’t really want to release that.
“The first book will come out in the middle of next year, so Joe will start work shortly.”
The sales manager has two other children with Aussie partner-of-23 years Vanessa Jameson – Joe’s twin brother Jessie and a six-year-old daughter Phoebe.
Greg added: “At the minute we are going to stay in the UK, but it depends on what happens in the next 12 months.
“It is amazing for him. Everything I have done over the last six months has been to build towards him having the choice really to do what he wants to do.
“Art is overlooked quite badly in this country I feel.
“This gives opportunities to the other children as well. That is my main aim.
“Because the talks about the book finished over lockdown we hadn’t had the chance to talk to the school so I’ll explain it to them when he goes back.
“I have got no worries really because they have been supportive of him before and I expect they will be again.
“He definitely doesn’t get it from me, I’ve always loved art, I’m fairly good at art but only on a realistic scale, the imagination is more from his mum’s side.”