Pupil shocked after football manager signs portrait

Andy with his portrait of Kieran McKenna
Image caption,

Andy drew a charcoal portrait of Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna

  • Published

An art student said it was "totally unexpected" when his portrait of football manager Kieran McKenna was signed by the subject himself.

Andy, 16, discovered nine years ago he had a passion for drawing before he moved from China to Ipswich to pursue his studies.

Following Ipswich Town Football Club's (ITFC) recent promotion to the Premier League, Andy decided he would undertake a portrait of McKenna - but never expected he would see it.

He said McKenna's reaction had helped "encourage" him in his artwork.

Image caption,

Andy said the portrait took him about an hour to draw

"ITFC got promoted and it's such a big moment for all of us in Ipswich to celebrate and Kieran McKenna is our hero so I decided to draw him," Andy explained.

While Andy admitted he was not a big football fan, he said he was aware of how much of a "brilliant" manager McKenna is.

"My art teacher came up with the idea that we could do a timelapse of me drawing," he continued.

"I didn't expect for [McKenna] to see it himself and it was totally unexpected.

"I just feel very excited. It was a special thing for me and it encouraged me a lot, I really appreciate it."

An ex-student who now works at the football club saw Andy's portrait online and showed McKenna himself.

He was reportedly so impressed that he signed the portrait, which Andy said took him only an hour to draw.

According to Andy's art teacher, Cherry Steed, the manager did not want to write a personalised message in case the student wanted to sell it in the future.

However Andy does not plan to do this.

Image caption,

Cherry Steed (left) said his school were incredible impressed with Andy's passion for art

This is not the first time the student's work drew attention.

According to Ms Steed, another drawing of Andy's has been displayed at the Royal College of Art and was picked for the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition online catalogue, out of 7,000 entries.

"What's lovely about Andy and his artwork is that everybody celebrates it, everybody recognises it, so when I have younger students come into the classroom they recognise Andy," Ms Steed continued.

"They are completely inspired by him and having his drawings on the wall it's aspirational for them to see.

"We are so proud of him and we will also be there to encourage and push him to be daring and to not shy away from that."

Follow Suffolk news on Facebook, external, Instagram, external and X, external. Got a story? Email eastofenglandnews@bbc.co.uk, external or WhatsApp us on 0800 169 1830