10-Year-Old ‘Trouble-Maker’ Discouraged For Doodling Gets Job Doodling On Restaurant’s Wall

by Karen Belz
Karen Belz has written for sites such as Bustle, HelloGiggles, Romper, and So Yummy. She's the mom of a sassy toddler and drinks an alarming amount of Sugar-Free Red Bull in order to keep up with her.

Back when I was a kid, I never understood how graffiti could be seen as anything but vandalism. As an adult, I acknowledge that art is subjective, and I can definitely appreciate it more.

Sure, nobody should mark up a building without permission. But sometimes, the imagery that requires a lot of time to create helps set a town apart. Some graffiti artists have become really incredible muralists, too.

Doodling is another fun form of art. We’ve all doodled at least once in our lives. Maybe it was during a meeting while you were trying to take notes. Or perhaps you doodled on a piece of paper while on hold during a phone call. It could have been flowers, people, pets, or just shapes.

It was something that just helped you keep your brain active. That said, you probably never assumed you could get a job doodling.

That’s where a 10-year-old named Joe Whale will prove you wrong. After Joe was caught doodling in class (and reportedly got in a bit of trouble for it), his parents decided to enroll him in an art class. And that was a good call. Because Joe’s doodles are good.

Joe’s doodles are so good that a restaurant called Number Four, located in Shrewsbury, England, hired him to doodle on its walls. And of course the then-9-year-old accepted the offer. It’s like any child’s dream come true, to mark up a wall with something so fun.

View this post on Instagram

1.1.20 #happynewyear #thedodleboy

A post shared by Joe whale ( on

“Joe loves doodling and we’re so proud of everything he’s achieving, the fact that a completely independent business has asked our 9-year old son to do a professional piece of work for them is incredible,” his parents said prior to Joe’s 10th birthday, according to Awesome Inventions. It’s possible that that wall will be up for a very long time for diners to enjoy.

Joe was given a ton of space to work with, which could have been intimidating for a child. But each design seems well thought out. They’re literally something you can stare at for quite some time without getting bored. According to Joe’s parents, encouraging these doodles was one of their best moves.

“I would advise parents to encourage their children to always follow their passion and dreams — research local workshops or groups within your local community,” they said. It’s even more supportive since plenty of other people would have likely disregarded Joe’s talent. When people say they “doodle,” usually it doesn’t require half as much thought.

View this post on Instagram

Face Mania

A post shared by Joe whale ( on

Curious about how long it took Joe to complete his restaurant work? About 12 hours. That may seem like a lot, but when you see the amount of work he did, it’s hard to believe that it took only 12 hours. Then again, he is known as “The Doodle Boy.”

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Joe whale ( on

Joe’s dad, Greg, explained in an interview with Insider that his son’s favorite artistic tools to work with are Sharpies and Paper Mate pens. As you can see, Joe seems to prefer a thick line for his doodles. This makes them even more magnificent to view.

View this post on Instagram

#Thedoodleboy #Doodleprojectday1 #numberfourbutcherrow

A post shared by Joe whale ( on

Greg said that he noticed Joe’s love of art when he seemed discouraged over the lack of art classes offered by his school. Especially since doodling in his notebook during class wasn’t winning him any favors with his regular teachers. “One day, he came home from school a bit deflated because they weren’t doing much art, so we decided to find him some extra art classes,” he said. From there on, Joe formed a connection with his art teacher.

The art teacher, impressed with Joe’s doodles, shared them on the teacher’s personal Instagram page. That’s how Number Four discovered Joe. The restaurant wanted him to start working on a large 8-foot wall. Greg seemed a bit hesitant, since his son isn’t a big fan of replicating drawings.

View this post on Instagram

Monster Party

A post shared by Joe whale ( on

“When I got there and saw what they wanted him to do, I thought, ‘Joe doesn’t like to duplicate drawings, so how is he going to fill an 8-foot wall without having to duplicate his doodles?'” Greg said. “But literally, Joe seemed to get better and better. It was sparking even more creativity because of the scale of the wall. It was unbelievable to watch.”

The job actually brought Greg and Joe together. Obviously, they were always close — but Greg was able to see his son in a new light. “I was sitting there in awe a little bit,” Greg admits. “He would look back at the wall like he was stuck, sigh a little bit, and go back and come up with 20 more images at once.”

Joe’s story got so big that the family thought it would be a good idea to offer up some merchandise. “We just thought if there’s an opportunity to help Joe moving forward to do whatever he wants to do, we should put in every effort to make that happen,” Greg said. “We just post some doodles that he does and that he wants to share.”

Joe’s website even includes a little more about his inspiration and how he got his start. “I absolutely LOVE to doodle!” he wrote. “I first got interested in art when I was about 6 years old and loved making monsters come to life. I attend an art class called BLOOM and get my inspiration for the book series from Tom Gates which I love to read.”

His reasonably priced merchandise includes prints, mugs, and even backpacks. Some of the money from select pieces is donated to help the Australian wildfires. It’s nice to know that even with starting his first business at the tender age of 9, he’s all about giving back.

Joe is proof that your dream job may be right around the corner. He’s also proof that doodles can be a real work of art. It’s impossible to go to his page and deny the fact that he’s a skilled artist. If you’re a parent of a child who loves art, who knows what may be in store for them in the future?