A FORMER art teacher from Chester has illustrated a children’s book which was chosen for a major exhibition at the Imperial War Museum.
Ian Benfold Haywood, of Bretton Lane, Bretton, provided watercolour illustrations for Lynn Huggins-Cooper’s haunting First World War book, One Boy’s War, which tells the true story of a 14-year-old who fought in the trenches.
“I thought it was a wonderfully-written story, but I had my doubts if I could do it,” said Ian.
“I had to make sure my illustrations were historically accurate so I spent six months immersing myself in the history.
“In fact, one of the pages was based on the trench they have in the Chester Military Museum.”
Ian, a former pupil of Christleton High School, studied fine art at the Nottingham School of Art and Design before taking up the post of art teacher at Queens Park High School.
A change of career led to him working for a Japanese company making wires for hearing aids before he returned to art after seeing a leaflet advertising courses in illustration at the North Wales School of Art and Design, which he completed in 2004.
He works in various media, but chose watercolour for One Boy’s War because the subject matter, in his words, “needed softening” for the younger audience.
The book, which was originally published in 2004 but reprinted in paperback in November, has been chosen to support Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse in the exhibition Once Upon a Wartime: Classic Children’s War Stories at the Imperial War Museum, which starts in London this year before moving on to Manchester and Newcastle in 2012.