School life: Calderdale College student wins chance to illustrate a book

Bethany at the launch of the book
Bethany at the launch of the book

Bethany Hall, higher education Art & Design student at Calderdale College wins Verd De Gris project to illustrate 5,000 miles book.

Verd De Gris is an arts development company based in Hebden Bridge which creates participatory projects to help people and communities ‘find their voice’. They ran a competition for Art & Design students, to illustrate a book showing the journey of two boys who were forced to flee their homeland in Afghanistan due to the threat of the Taliban.

The 5,000 miles book is based on a story of two 13-year-old boys from Afghanistan who had no option but to walk the 5,000 miles to seek refuge in the UK. The boys now attend Trinity Academy in Sowerby Bridge and have been telling their story to Verd De Gris.

Beth explains how she got involved in the project: “As part of my course, I was required to complete a “live” project for one of my modules, which involved focusing my artwork around an on-going competition.”

She submitted three illustrations and after impressing the judges during different stages in the competition, she was announced as the winner to illustrate the book. She talks about her experience:

“It was very emotional due to the topic and content of the boys’ story. The harsh realities these boys had to endure were unbelievable. While creating the illustrations it was difficult to convey the horrible events they’ve experienced without becoming emotional; to remedy this I had to keep reminding myself of the aim of the book and its importance for the boys and others in similar situations.”

Beth’s tutor, Yve Houghton, said: “This project has been a fantastic collaboration between the students and Sharon Marsden of Verd De Gris.”

“It has given students the opportunity to respond to a professional commercial brief in a highly creative and individual manner.”

The book was launched at Square Chapel Arts Centre and is now available at The Book Case Hebden Bridge in libraries across Calderdale.