9-Year-Old Kid Who Kept Getting In Trouble For Doodling In Class Gets A Job Decorating A Restaurant With His Drawings (Interview)
9-year-old Joe Whale’s parents sent Joe to an after-school art class and his artistic abilities were quickly noticed. In fact, Joe was invited to decorate the dining room of the ‘Number 4’ restaurant in Shrewsbury, England.
9-Year-Old Kid Who Kept Getting In Trouble For Doodling In Class Gets A Job Decorating A Restaurant With His Drawings (Interview)
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You should always support your kids and their natural talents. And if you nurture them, great things will happen. That’s what 9-year-old Joe Whale’s parents thought when they encouraged their son to keep drawing, even though he got into trouble for doodling during class.

They sent Joe to an after-school art class and his artistic abilities were quickly noticed by those around him. In fact, Joe was invited to decorate the dining room of the ‘Number 4’ restaurant in Shrewsbury, England. Now, Joe is known as The Doodle Boy and has his own website, as well as social media pages showing off his awesome art. Scroll down for Bored Panda's interview with Joe's dad Gregory!

Bored Panda spoke to Joe’s dad Greg about his son’s artistic talents. According to Greg, his son has ‘always’ loved drawing and “was added to the Gifted register in primary school aged 4.”

He added: “His identical twin brother Jesse was also added to the register.”

Greg also revealed how long it took Joe to finish his drawings on the dining room walls in the restaurant. “Joe spent about 12 hours illustrating the wall.”

What’s more, Greg had some advice for parents who want to encourage their kids to develop their talents: “I would advise parents to encourage their children to always follow their passion and dreams — research local workshops or groups within your local community.”

When their kids get into trouble for something at school, some parents tend to shut that behavior down. However, others know how to recognize a talent that needs creative space to flourish, so they give them what they need.

Joe’s teacher recognized his talent and posted his work on Instagram. His drawings caught the eye of the ‘Number 4’ restaurant which asked him to come over and decorate their walls with his doodles. Now, his dad drives him there so he can draw his heart out. Who knew that drawing in an after-class program would lead Joe to get his first job at barely 9 years old?

“They wanted to get Joe into their restaurant to complete an art piece on their wall, and it was in their main dining area, we were over the moon,” Joe’s dad Greg told the media. “I asked Joe and he, of course, leaped at the chance to do it so we have been going there after school where for a couple of hours a night he’ll put his creativity on their wall.”

He continued: “Joe loves doodling and we’re so proud of everything he’s achieving, the fact that a completely independent business has asked our 9-year old son to do a professional piece of work for them is incredible.”

According to Self-Sufficient Kids, it’s incredibly important to embrace whatever talents, ambitions, goals, dreams, and desires your children might have. Even if what they excel at doesn’t match your vision of their future.

What’s more, parents have to learn to differentiate between when their child is uninterested in something and when they find an activity too tough and need encouragement, as well as support.

Comments (104)
Daria B
I had the same "problem" when I was a kid. I'm glad this boy got an opportunity. Hopefully his story will open up chances for other kids with similar "problems" as well. His art is cute too.
Joe is a cool kid, and an artist .
Valerie Lessard
what an awesome kid. I find doodling idly actually helps with concentration
it's not just the quality of the drawing, but the imagination this kids has!
Pseudo Puppy
I hope his parents ensure that he gets paid as an artist, for his work. Just because he's a kid, doesn't diminish the value of his talent. If anything, it could actually boost its value. His work is really cool, and reminds me of Keith Haring's work from the late 70's / early 80's -- work that is now worth in the millions ($3,000,000 + for 1 piece). With the right nouse & support, this kid could have a brilliant career (if he chooses), and be set up for life. I wish him whatever form of success that will nurture his talent, & keep it fun for him. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Haring
Night Owl
I want to visit (maybe even move to) the Pizza planet (one of the doodles). The kid has a great imagination and I'm glad he has support and is encouraged to use it
Foxxy’s #1 fan
That is brilliant, I love that he got to have this opportunity to show off his talent. They maybe only doodles but he has a great imagination and his doodles are shit loads better than a lot of other people (including myself). Good on him, I wish him luck for his future.
Loki’s Lil Butter Knife
Keep doodling Joe! I’m glad to hear that his teachers viewed his doodling as a talent and passion instead of a problem. Doodling can really help some people concentrate.
Never change Doodle Boy. You have talent.
It's so awesome when teachers and parents support children with what often is viewed as a "problem".
Edward Doherty
Joe’s dad did a great job
Joe's art reminds me a lot of the artist "Mr. Doodle" (https://www.mrdoodle.com/). I hope he can get far in life with this, he has amazing skills!
Kate Murray
This young man reminds me of the great Artist, Keith Haring ...
The Doodle Boy. I like him.
Tarah G
Awesome! and he's a fellow lefty!
Mewton’s Third Paw
Holy shit that’s awesome. That kid is incredible! Those doodles are extremely cool. I hope he was paid well for this. And I hope Baby Bot 3000 doesn’t destroy Doodle City!
Adrianna Mattox
I remember around 3rd grade my math teacher told my parents in my report card to "refrain from drawing" in class. My math books were more like sketchbooks to me
My family would call me the "artist of the family." Unfortunately, I would sometimes get in trouble by my science teacher for drawing on my assignments, and my teacher would say "Don't doodle on your papers in my class. These are things you turn in, and you are not little kids anymore!" Well, he was wrong in my mind; If being a little kid is what it means to draw, then I am always a little kid by heart! I am glad that this boy got this wonderful opportunity.
Natasha Forchione
This kid is going places! Just WOW!!!
Suzi Gauthier
Although I don't have his talent, to this day I concentrate better when listening if I'm doodling.
K. Blanchette
Same, I had doodles all over my notes and assignments and if I didn't know the answer to a question I'd make a doodle. It never worked.... Go Doodle Boy gooooo!
I used to get in trouble the same for drawing on my notebooks alongside the notes. I never understood why it was bad. That's my notebook so why did it matter to the teacher? I was not at this kid's level though. While his drawing are "simple" as in they're not realistic, he has a good balance and a very appealing way of being creative. I really hope he'll be able to become an artist!
Marsha Bieber English
As a much older doodler and artist, I wish teachers and adults would realize that even though students are doodling, they are listening. Doodling calms our minds and allows us to listen more carefully. You are absorbing the information around you and translating it to paper. Visual learner is what I see.
Keith Haring reincarnated. The same kind of joy shines through.
Charles Wagoner
Keith Haring would be proud! So glad he found a good outlet! -Long time Jr. High Art Teacher.
Hanna andriani
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Those walls are cool. He should make his own wallpaper.
Alastair McIver
No mention of how, or if, he got paid. Child labour laws mean you can't actually hire him under 13, but helping yourself to a child's labour without pay is much worse! I hope a reasonable amount of money went into a trust-fund for him, otherwise the Number 4 restaurant are just exploiting him and calling it "encouragement". Truly awesome doodles, though!
Marie Munoz
This kid is so talented. I see a long career in art for him.
Oscar Guerrero
I love this! What a boy!
Rita Tolvanen
As someone with ADD, doodling was the ONLY way I could concentrate. The SCHOOL DID THE WRONG THING because the teaching staff did not understand.
Carol Emory
Let's not forget that Elvis Presley's teacher thought his music was too outrageous and that he'd never be able to make a career out of it. And Fredrick W. Smith (Creator of FedEx) was told that his business concept of a centralized shipping company was ridiculous and would never work. Sometimes being told you can't do something is the nudge you need to prove the haters wrong.
Marilyn Bojanowski
Do~on't stop! Belie~eving! Hold on to that feeeeeeeling! ~~
wish i was as lucky as to have an opportunity such as this given to me
Phantom Captain
This kid is going places! His artwork is wonderful
Eric Clausen
I love it This kid is to die for! That is the top cartoon drawing I have seen in a long time!
Melissa Napolitano
What a talent! He's going to do many cool things in the years to come!
The best artists are left handed. :)
Erwin Dillinger
Insanely talented Boy, love his doodles
Vicki Wizard
This young man has an amazing future in store - he's FABULOUS!! Great doodles "DoodleBoy";
Trinity Howard
The school did not do the right thing. Some children are able to focus to what they are hearing better if they are able to draw or do something with their hands. I was his child. I drew on every test and assignment that I was ever given and you know what my teacher did, she held me after class and let everyone go to lunch and I thought I was in trouble, but she went behind her desk and pulled out a gift basket that had a Sketchbook professional artist pencils and a whole lot of other amazing tools to help me with my passions. I was ever given and you know what my teacher did, she held me after class and let everyone go to lunch and I thought I was in trouble, but she went behind her desk and pulled out a gift basket that had a Sketchbook professional artist pencils and a whole lot of other amazing tools to help me with my passions. She seriously invested in my gifts and never told me that I should not draw on my assignments. I am still in artist today.
His "doodles" - remind me of the great Keith Haring's artwork. Amazing kid. Kudos to this restaurant and his parents for giving him an outlet for his talent.
Ellen MacFarlane
Way to go! Great recognition on the restaurant!
Steve Cruz
WALLPAPER! Have Joe develop his own line of wallpaper for kids rooms. I would definitely put it up in my "big boy" home. He could license shower curtains, fabrics, bed linens, posters, postcards, temporary tattoos, etc. etc. etc.
Donald Holder
The boys got talent! He knows his future is bright! Bravo
Audra Granath
This is awesome! I love it! No wonder he is an artist-He is a lefty. Most lefties are very creative, intelligent & artistic. I have a lefty of my own & he is all of that & more. His artwork amazes me & he can play music like no ones business. He is self taught on guitar, piano, drums & bass. He was also part of an art project when he was in high school that is still up. (They decorated the ceiling tiles) I love this boys art as well. So creative & fun!
Kristin Haskins
Awesome kid with huge talent?
Anna Repp
Great stuff! There's a TED talk about doodling, they say doodling is actually very good for your brain, helps you concentrate & understand things better. So nothing wrong with doodling in class - some learn better that way.
FAN TASTIC!!! The boy has a definite talent and must be supported in every way possible. Let this young flower bloom to its fullest! I love what I see in his 'doodles.' Just being jealous, I guess. I couldn't draw a box.
Lana Jig-maker
So moral of the story is, don't pay attention to the rules,but go ahead and do your thing. You'll get a job doin that very thing.
Ashley Wright
He should have a calendar made and a book deal. His doodles are adorable!! Don’t ever stop!
Ashley Wright
I absolutely ❤️ this kid. One day, he’ll be a famous illustrator and his teacher will reflect on how he got in trouble for doodling. So sweet.
Best story - ever.
Melody Reid
Cool art work! He's already an artist.
Alex Hall
This work is great... Ide pay for some of his work.... There someone famous who's work is very similar to this.. Can't remember at the mo... The beauty of this stuff is there's so much variation in the characters... Did you notice the road around the skyscrapers at the bottom of the wall.... This little chap has definitely got the talent. I see drawing books and more with his art on for sure.
Mad Mar
As a kid that used to doodle on every thing I think this is a great way to have doodle boy grow an become even better. Every doodle is unique as every child is. Thanks for letting him make his "mark". 99% of that is perfection and I'd even get it tattooed on me!!
This kid is brilliant. His art work reminds me of the art of Keith Haring.
spirit wolf
And he has a sense of humor too .. I'm sure his future holds many a comic books and animation movies.
Awesome story! This article reminds me of when I was in grade school. My best subjects were drawing and reading encyclopedias. Since we weren't supposed to "doodle" in class, I stored my pics in my locker. But my locker was so full I had to be very careful when opening the door or an avalanche of drawings would leap on to the floor. Came close, but never did get caught. : ) Fortunately, I've been able to use my creativity in the jobs I've had.
Potterhead Unicorn
His doodles remind me of Tom Gates!
Theresa Pisani
I hope they paid him.
Baked Panda
Parenting done right???
Roisin McVeigh
Just curious...how did Joe simultaneously get " in trouble" for doodling, and recieve his teachers accolades and posts on her Instagram? Makes no sense. Joe and his unnamed twin are on the gifted registry?!? I'm just curious, but for what?? I have a 4 year old that is, also, an incredible doodler, and a 6 year old who is on the 'gifted' registry, in particular with mathematics. I'm astounded that these parents have reduced their son to being the 'doodle boy', and more so by everyone who thinks this is incredible. I've got a feeling that the 'unnamed twin' is going to be the happier grown up.
Gina King-Wilkins
Such a great story!
Jacqueline Conway
This little boy is talented and witty. It’s lovely that his parents encourage him and that he’s had the opportunity to earn money from his talent. I hope that he’ll continue to doodle and continue to be creative when he grows up.
Zelda Blue
What a great idea and what a marvelous artist he is. I love doodling, I've yet to make it through a staff meeting or conference call without doodles. I am so excited for him that he got this opportunity. It's too bad the teachers at school were trying to quash his creativity.
Here's my story about doodling since everyone is sharing theirs. So when I was in second grade I had a teacher who was OLD. And I'm not saying that to be rude like, I'm not even joking she had to have been in her eighties. Anyway, I would always doodle in class mindlessly while still paying attention to the lesson. I would also doodle on my homework but not to a point where you couldn't see what I was doing. So one day she finally snap and tells me to stop because its, and I quote, "disturbing and distracting to other students." LIKE WHAT ARE MY SMILEY FACES, STICKMEN, AND DOGS WITH FLOWERS FOR HEADS A PROBLEM?! (Looking back now I can see why the dogs might be a tiiiiny bit disturbing. But, I stopped. That followed me through the rest of elm. school and now middle school. I'll doodle in class sometimes when I'm bored but its mostly just waaaay too detailed hands and severed body limbs. I think I might have a problem. But I keep them to myself. I'm not a sycopath I promise.
Cristina S.
This boy is supremely talented. You can see how his doodles have a similar cartoon style, he put in background elements and each doodle is situated in a particular way to its neighbor. He should definitely go to art school one day,
sksksskskskssksskssskskskskskskskskskskskskskskskskssssksksksks okoko
Ren Mark Marcelo
The talent i wish i have. hehehe Congrats little boy! You're cool. Keep it up.
Chris DiFonso
Kudos to his parents!
Lori Guerra-Reyes
BulletMAp studios check this out.
Lori Guerra-Reyes
Bullet Map studios Check this out!
Nicole Holt
So talented! He definitely has a style
As someone who cannot draw but really admired those who can, this is one fantastic story!
Freya the Wanderer
When I was little my father let my brother and me scribble on the walls of our closets. Our doodles, though, were nothing like Joe Whale's. At least one of mine involved a weird scene I remembered on "Star Trek."
Kate Johnson
I love that his parents let him take an art class after school; of course, being added to the gifted register (along with his twin brother Jesse!) at age four may have helped him articulate just how much he loves drawing! I take issue with this line by the author: "Joe is on his way to becoming a professional artist." Joe has been paid, which makes him a professional now! ??
Donna Reynolds
This kid is super talented. Reminds me of the Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney.
Jo Choto
I love this. I let my daughter and her friends have one wall in her bedroom where they could draw and doodle. They all loved it so much. When it came time to sell, a good primer and a couple of coats of paint and hey presto, all new again. In the basement we had a massive chalkboard (like 8 feet/2.5 meters across and 5 feet/1.5 meters high for more temporary artwork. There is always a way to encourage creativity.
Dorothy Parker
The variety of themes and characters in his doodles is already so advanced. I can only imagine his work with further exposure to the world and more education. Doodles with Freud, Aristotle, etc.
Beatrice Multhaupt
Keith Harring. Yeah!
Ahnnah Newell
I love the style of his art! SO CUTE!!!
Jeanne Salvador
Totally took a pic of How To Draw a Cool Dog. So I can draw a cool dog. Thanks cool kid.
Elisavet Palazzolo
these are ADORABLE! I would have them anywhere I wanted a cheer-up bc they are so cute & fun! he should make a set of tattoo flash! what a talented kiddo & so happy his parents are supportive & not crushing his natural inclination to create! <3
The new Tom Gates
Shull GaRett
Well... i guess its good idea to buy his early art as i see potential here...
Kids got talent
Raine Soo
Joe is quite the talented doodler! With his unlimited imagination, he will go far in his craft.
this is me. i cant help but draw on any piece of paper
Éva Nemes
I dont like his draws... Just... to much :(
Dariia Dziuba
He's amazing! He is also starting early, maybe, a new Banksy is growing!
Kenny Kulbiski
Mini- Banksy.
He’s probably artistic bc he was vaccinated. Poor kid
SO do what you want and don;t worry about paying attention in class. Nice
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