By Kaelanne Jordan
Zain Wint’s drawings are an integral part of The St Charles Borromeo RC Ministry of Consolation Book 2023. Zain is an eleven-year-old student at Glades Middle School, US. He is the grandson of the book’s author and Ministry of Consolation (MoC) President Barbara Wafe.
Wafe believed Zain’s intricate illustrations beautifully complements and convey emotions that words alone could not express.
She told The Catholic News that it was encouraging to recognise through Zain, that his parents had kept the Catholic/Christian traditions that they learnt in Trinidad. “Initially, I just assigned him to stem the constant barrage of questions he had for ‘Gramma’. I was stunned by his image of the Resurrected Christ…” Wafe said.
Zain enjoys reading, playing basketball, doing math sheets and coding.
He explained via Zoom that his ‘Gramma’ told him about the importance of the book and how his artwork will be seen by people around the world.
His favourite part of the process was “probably just quality time I got to have with my Gramma. We got to talk about our religion, and we were able to talk way more than we usually do.”
Zain said he was “guided” by Wafe on the artwork. “She told me what the pictures should be like. After she told me what it’s supposed to be like, I imagined them….”
He said it was not “too difficult” juggling school, family time and working on the book as he scheduled different times for the book.
Zain has yet to share the news with his friends, but he did tell his siblings. Zain is the third of six. “My older siblings thought it was pretty cool that I was able to write in a book and let it be published. And my younger siblings are excited…. I guess they just wanted to see my art in a real book,” he said.
Zain admitted there were moments where he had self-doubt. “…earlier in my life I thought I was an amazing artist but then I realised I’m not the best in the world, so it made me get a bit discouraged thinking my artwork is not good enough for the book. But I was able to get over it and realise that I can do really good if I try my best.”
Zain’s passion for art began when he was four years, in pre-kindergarten. He recalled he would draw during his free time and even during playtime. His parents gifted him a “giant sketch book” where he compiled his sketches.
Art, Zain underscored, makes him feel relaxed and calm when he’s feeling anxious. “On tests, I doodle drawings and I guess that makes me feel a little bit more secure. It helps take off the part of me that’s nervous and I calm down when I’m doodling during tests. And I usually only doodle if I’m thinking about a question or when I’m done. Because I feel like when I doodle, I’m actually able to focus more than when I’m not doodling,” Zain said.
He mentioned his best friend Xavier inspires him. “He really likes looking at my art, and we together both like drawing and he drew a lot with me, and he was able to understand what the drawings meant. We drew a bunch of different stuff like comics and pictures and paintings and we really like doing it a lot and I feel like we both inspired each other to draw a bunch of different things,” Zain said.
Zain enjoys birthing and drawing original comics and superheroes from scratch. Copying existing characters, he emphasised, “just doesn’t feel right to me”.
He indicated while drawing is a leisure, there are plans to further incorporate it in future endeavours as an entrepreneur.
“…I’ve always had a passion for coding and using coding you can put art, like electronic art, which I think is really cool. And it’s one of the things I want to do,” Zain said. He then asserted, “I’ll try my best to put my art into my future and not completely forget about it.”
His advice to peers is to never give up and never feel discouraged. “It’s not that they have more talent than you, its maybe they’ve been doing this longer than you or they have more practice. …start getting real practice and you’ll be as good as anybody,” Zain said.
Zain’s father Damian described Zain as a miracle baby. He mentioned Zain was delivered with the umbilical cord around his neck. Damian said the family noticed a development in his art skills when he was around 8 or 9 years old.
“…when he did art in school, and they would do expos…we noticed some of his work was actually pretty good and his teacher also remarked that he had some talent. So, we encouraged, and we brought him paint sets, stencils and so on to encourage his work. … and we’re always trying to help him explore and foster that skill that he seems to have a talent for,” Damian said.
On his son’s work being in a published book, Damian admitted at the time, the family did not grasp the magnitude of the opportunity.
“I think it was that he had this talent, and his grandmother knew and we had told her and she had seen some of his work when she visited us so it was ‘hey, he has this talent, let’s use it to highlight, to do some graphics to complement the book’. So, I think that was how it kinda started but just looking at it, it’s pretty awesome that he’s able to take his art on such a grand scale. I’m really proud of him,” said Damian.
He then advised parents to encourage and support their children in their passions.
“If you see the child has a love for soccer, try to get them some cleats or a class, it may turn out to be nothing, but they may turn out to be the next Messi. But at least your child gets the sense that you are there for them and supporting them in the things they are interested in and passionate about. It’s just about caring about what they care about,” Damian said.