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We Interview Jack Draws Anything
Young Jack Henderson could well be his own worst enemy. What started out as a small and well meaning fundraising idea has escalated into an adventure which has consumed his life – as well as those of his parents, Ed & Rose – and turned it into an internet sensation which has charmed thousands.
Jack – armed with his trusty Crayolas and felt tips – set out with an idea: to raise money for the Children’s hospital that cared for his younger brother Noah by drawing whatever visitors to his website requested in return for a charitable donation. The only restrictions he imposed were the type of rules that you would reasonably expect of a 6 year old: nothing naughty – and in Jack’s words ‘I don’t want to draw anyone dying or being died’.
Their initial target of a raising a humble £100 has been well and truly blown out of the water with the current total on their just giving page (which is still accepting donations!) standing well in excess of £27,000. Not only this but they have also amassed over 7,000 Facebook fans and nearly 1,000 followers of the Twitter account, diligently and warmly run by his Dad. You may have seen them in the media recently. Oh, and he now has a book available too.
After completing an amazing 536 drawings, Jack is pooped. Regular readers of our little blog will know that I enjoy a good doodle myself and I’ve loved checking out Jack’s masterpieces – so I thought I would track down Ed Henderson who has kindly spared us a his time to answer a few probing questions…
So for all the parents out there – just how do you rein in the ego of a 6 year old who has suddenly found himself in the media spotlight?
We made sure we kept him very insulated from too much of the nonsense that can go on. While it is great that everyone wants to congratulate him, being a 6 year old is quite simple, he gets a few people bigging him up, he gets a bit big headed, he gets a few meanies, he gets sad. We had to let him enjoy some of it but made sure that whenever we felt he overstepped the mark, we made sure he knew his standing in the family and the world.
To what extent are you ‘trained’ in web design and social media? Was there a steep learning curve involved in managing a site that suddenly attracted so much attention?
I build websites for a living and have used/advised social media for myself and my clients. On this scale however, no training. When you are at the eye of this social media hurricane it was manic. A couple of times I was so overwhelmed with communication I had to close the Mac and walk away for a while. Its relenting, tough but ultimately rewarding interacting with wellwishers, fans and followers. I wouldn’t have swapped it for the world.
A question for Jack this time: who would win in a dancing contest between John Barrowman and Mr Bean?
Mr Bean – because he is a really funny dancer
Did you have a conscious strategy behind your online presence or was it something that grew organically?
We didn’t even have a Facebook page till Day 6 and even then Rose (Jack’s Mum) had to convince me! Jack had a Twitter account since birth (because I am a geek and reserved it for him). After that, “suck it and see” and “make it up as you go” are two phrases that spring to mind.
Another for Jack – what’s more fun? Getting a Hug from your mum or jumping on your Dad?
Both of them, I like jumping on my Dad becuase its fun and I like getting a hug from Mum because shes warm!
How did the book deal come about?
Someone posted it on their Facebook wall, no idea who. Sara O’Connor spotted it, twas the Heatblast picture. Sara is a Senior Editor for Hodder Childrens. She called me, I thought it was a windup at first. It progressed from there.
Now that Jack has finished all his drawings and you look back – is there anything that you would have done differently if you had the chance to do it all again?
Jack – Nothing, I loved it all.
Dad & Mum – Closed picture requests a bit earlier than 2 weeks, 536 pics was a lot.
With all the media furore that has surrounded Jack combined with the technical and logistical challenges that surround managing such a popular website, there’s one thing that we really need to know – what does Jack want for Christmas?
Guitar, Space Shuttle (Lego), thats all.