Drawing Comics for Kids Learning the Chinese Language


Things We Wish We Could Do, But Can’t—Because of Covid

Several Saturdays a month, we run free Doodle Dates, where kids suggest things for me to draw based on a theme—usually a mashup of food and something—and then Yen Yen and Hsiao Laoshi chat about what their strange creations might be called in Chinese. The Doodle Dates are always giggly, silly sessions, and the suggestions come in fast and furious

Drawing for kids is one of the things I love most in the universe. When throwing suggestions at me, the kids are so open and joyful, it’s contagious. As we also wanted to infuse learning Chinese with that spirit, it made sense to meld drawing comics for kids with it.

They’re also very therapeutic for me. My drawing is very, very loose and done lightning fast (some kids say too fast) but that’s because I want to cram as many suggestions into our 20 minute session as possible (we often run over, but even then, it’s never enough time).

Last Saturday was when both Singapore and Taiwan announced that they were going into new all-but-lockdown phases due to spikes in Covid-19 cases, so we decided that the theme would be a mashup of food characters and “Things We Wish We Could Do, But Can’t Because of Covid”.

And when the torrent of suggestions started, Yen, Hsiao Laoshi and I began feeling, well, touched.

“Touched” is not something we feel often during Doodle Dates, as the suggestions are often raucously absurd—banana firemen, roast chickens doing headstands, confused bak kut teh… you get the idea.

But just look at what the kids came up with:


Apple gathering with five people
苹果和五个人聚集 | 蘋果和五個人聚集
píngguǒ hé wǔ gèrén jùjí



Hamburger swimming
hànbǎo qù yóuyǒng


Chicken Nugget going to the cinema
鸡块去看电影 | 雞塊去看電影
jī kuài qù kàn diànyǐng


Bubble Tea and Satay flying in an aeroplane
珍珠奶茶和沙爹搭飞机 | 珍珠奶茶和沙爹搭飛機
zhēnzhū nǎichá héshā diē dā fēijī

And this one really got me in the feels, as these youngsters might say…


Big Cake going to a party
大蛋糕参加派对 | 大蛋糕參加派對
dà dàngāo cānjiā pàiduì

And here’s a mini-poster of all the characters we made for participants in our Doodle Date.


This is what this blankety-blank (this is a family-friendly website) virus is depriving our kids of—something as basic as celebrating your birthday with friends!

There were scores of other suggestions, but we just ran out of time, and to be honest, my heart was already breaking.

It was really this poignant moment that we made our decision to just GIVE EVERYONE A 6 MONTH SUBSCRIPTION TO OUR APP FREE, as long as they sign up by 31 December 2021. It’s the least we can do for all the kids stuck at home and missing out on so much!

We’ll get through this tough time, kids, and there will be better days ahead… provided everybody does their part!

Don`t copy text!