Kwaku Amoateng is quite a creative father.
In 2021, the Comox military firefighter wrote and illustrated a fictional children’s book (The Magic Umbrella – Bratasaurus and Tyrannosaurus) to honor his son, Jordan. The book features characters that represent a father’s relationship with his autistic son – similar to Kwaku and Jordan.
The book not only helped strengthen the bond between Kwaku and Jordan, but also helped Jordan with his confidence.
“He loved it,” Kwaku said. “I guess he now feels like he has an (alter ego) and he always uses references from the book. And it also brought attention to him in his school, so now the kids are more curious about about him. He feels more at ease, and his (comrades) are also more understanding. He is very happy where he is now.
Amoateng is back. He has just published the second of The Magic Umbrella series – Change of plan – taking her creative side to a whole new level.
This time, his audience helped him with art.
It started with Jordan drawing a peacock and asking if it could be included in the book. From there, Jordan’s friend Nora did the same by drawing a flower.
“From there it spread; every child wanted to be part of it,” Amoateng said. “So in this book, there are all kinds of characters randomly placed on the pages, which are the children’s creations. Each image is associated with its name. Then they open the book and have to find their drawings.
“I just want every kid to know they can draw. Once Asher saw his dinosaur, he’s been drawing every day since.
The submissions weren’t limited to Jordan and his friends. Some of the drawings used for this book come from complete strangers.
“Whenever I’m in a cafe or a library or something, kids see me drawing and they’re very curious,” Amoateng said. “I always encourage them and their parents to sit down at the table and explain if they can draw me a picture, I’ll color it in and put it in the book. It makes them very happy.
“I love seeing their reaction when they see their designs come to life.”
Amoateng does everything he can to keep the design as close to the original as possible.
“I try to stay true to the outline, to the design. Then I just fill it in with color.
Amoateng even made a few exceptions, to accommodate the more timid. A couple of his fans, Jax and Kiara, didn’t have drawings to give him, “but had asked me to put them into cartoon characters.” Amoateng gladly obliged.
For those who didn’t provide art to Amoateng for this latest project, fear not. He already has his third book in the works and encourages all children who want to see their art transformed to send him their drawings.
“I plan to do some type of ‘Where is Waldo‘ book, based on these children’s drawings,” Amoateng said. “Kind of like, ‘Look in this forest and find these two drawings.'”
Amoateng welcomes submissions from all children who wish to see their drawings come to life.