Submitted by Whatcom County Library System

The Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) is celebrating talented young artists in the community with the release of its 15th annual teen art anthology, Whatcomics. Teens submit artwork in many styles including pen and ink, colored pencil, paint, and digital art.

“Fine Lines” by Mackenzi Flores (Deming Library/Mt. Baker Jr. High).

The program is coordinated by WCLS Teen Services Coordinator Tamar Clarke and promoted county-wide. “Whatcomics gives teens a chance to contribute—to share their passion, talent, and artwork,” said Clarke. “The artists in these pages opted to paint, draw, doodle, and sketch, sharing with us worlds they observed or imagined during this very unique year.”

The artwork selected for the Whatcomics cover was created by 7th grader Mackenzi Flores, who enjoys visiting the Deming Library. Their artwork, Fine Lines, was selected because of its originality, composition, and how well it spoke to the themes present in the collection. Lynden Library patron Sorrel Thoerner’s illustration, Neon Existence, is featured on the back cover. 

Last year’s cover artist, Payton Elefson, a 12th grader who participates in programs at the Ferndale Library, acted as the Teen Advisor for this year’s publication. She also submitted artwork that is included in the publication.

It is clear that the events of 2020 influenced the artwork in this year’s Whatcomics. There are portraits of solitude, tributes to health care workers and protestors, references to technology, and imagined worlds far away from this time and place. Artwork was received from teen patrons at nine of the 10 WCLS library branches, the WCLS Bookmobile, and BPL libraries, including “Empty” by 7thgrade BPL patron Isabelle Bradford.

While COVID restrictions prevented the library from hosting an art exhibit with the publication launch, each teen contributor received a copy of the publication. Everyone is invited to check out the digital version of Whatcomics online or borrow the book from the WCLS collection. See links below.

In addition to the Whatcomics publication, the Whatcom County Library System publishes a teen poetry anthology every spring called A Forest of Words. Submissions for this year’s anthology are accepted through March 15, 2021, online or through any of the WCLS library branches. Visit wcls.org for more information.

All photos courtesy of Whatcom County Library System

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