Local student’s ‘hero’ word art drawing to be raffled for charity

A Bradley Stoke art student has created a remarkable picture of a mask-wearing nurse formed of thousands of hand-written instances of the word ‘hero’.

Jess Willcox-Drew, 18, took around ten hours to create the work, using a 0.03mm fine liner pen on a dark blue background – the signature colour of the NHS.

Photo of the 'Hero' word art drawing.
‘Hero’ word art drawing by Jess Willcox-Drew.

Currently completing a Level 3 foundation art diploma at SGS College WISE Campus before heading off to study drawing, painting & printmaking at university, Jess says she found inspiration for her piece from another artist’s work posted on Instagram. But while that artist, Alexandria Lee, uses a celebrity’s name to form only the outline of their image, Jess took this one step further and decided to compose her entire drawing using just a single word, creating the different tones by layering.

She also wanted to use the picture to convey a message and chose the subject of the NHS to remind the amazing staff that we all appreciate what they are doing during the current coronavirus crisis.

Close-up photo showing instances of the word 'hero'.
Fine detail of the ‘Hero’ word art drawing.

Jess completed the drawing in her time off from being a ‘keyworker’ herself, at Bradley Stoke’s Tesco Extra store.

Asked about which aspect of the piece proved most challenging, she says the nurse’s plastic hair cover took the most time, due to the overlapping of the shadows.

“If just one frontline worker sees the picture and it makes them smile, then that’s all I wanted to achieve,” says Jess modestly.

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The drawing has already attracted acclaim after being shared by family members in a Facebook group that features pictures of NHS and frontline workers. One NHS worker has asked Jess to print off copies to sell as small cards, raising funds for Southmead Hospital, and there are plans to hold a charity fundraising raffle for the original drawing and several prints.

Proud mum Katherine said: “Jess has been a perfectionist all of her life and will only take on projects if she can give them 100 percent.  Her art has always been her passion and I feel that this certainly shows in her work.”

The fundraising raffle will take place as soon as lockdown restrictions have been relaxed sufficiently to allow the drawing to be scanned so that copies can be printed. [The Journal will let readers know via an update on this article and an announcement on our Facebook page.]

Photo of Jess holding her drawing.
Jess Willcox-Drew with her ‘hero’ word art drawing.
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