Melbourn cartoonist draws on creativity to help kids during coronavirus crisis

Tom Sparke has been keeping youngsters entertained with his Captain Fishbeard drawing videos. Pictur

Tom Sparke has been keeping youngsters entertained with his Captain Fishbeard drawing videos. Picture: Lucy Sparke - Credit: Archant

A children’s illustrator from Melbourn is on a mission to help keep youngsters busy during the coronavirus crisis with his online drawing videos.

Tom Sparke releases videos on his Captain Fishbeard YouTube channel twice per week, and began doing so when it was announced schools were closing due to the outbreak. The dad-of-two told the Crow: “Everyone was thinking of what they could do to help when the schools closed.

“Teachers are doing their best sending work through, and lots of us were thinking what expertise do we have to help in any way.

“I wanted to get kids doing something creative and teach them some skills.

“I’d much rather kids be drawing and creating using their imaginations, than just being sat in front of the TV.

“It’s been brilliant. Loads of parents on social media are contacting me and telling me that their kids are entertained for hours and draw all sorts of fantastic creations.

“It’s been really lovely and very heartwarming to see such a good response.”

Most Read

For Tom, drawing was a hobby that became his career.

He has written and illustrated children’s books and comics and draws for monthly children’s comic The Spark, released by FairSparkBooks.

He said: “Ever since I was little I’ve been really happy with a pen and a bit of paper.

“I would just sit and sketch things – I’ve always done it and if I don’t do it for a little while I go a bit mad.

“You go into a different headspace when you’re working on something like that. Studies have shown if you do something like colouring in that can be very calming so I think drawing is an extension of that.

“You take your mind away from the stresses of everyday life or whatever is going on in the day job.”

Tom’s Captain Fishbeard channel has especially been a hit with children from seven years old.

New videos are released every Tuesday and Friday at 12 noon at or go to for more information.