TIMMINS -- Making art and drawing is a five-year hobby for university student Elnaz Heidari and now she hopes to inform people about pandemic safety with COVID-themed cartoons.

The drawings depict the virus' defeat and people using facemasks to defend themselves.

"I try to make the virus itself a character in all of my paintings, to try and make it a little more light," said Heidari.


COVID-inspired cartoons of the novel coronavirus

(Cartoon of people falling in a pit of viruses. Courtesy Elnaz Heidari.)

One of her drawings shows two men falling toward a pit of COVID-19 viruses, with one man empty-handed and the other using a mask as a parachute.

"It's kind of symbolic, as to (say) he's being saved by the mask," said Heidari.

Other cartoons display a group of viruses in a board meeting, with the "leader" telling its crew not to bother messing with people who wear masks.

For Heidari, a cartoon is the most accessible way to spread information.

"They are so powerful because people of all ages can understand them, and they have the power to evoke emotion in people," Heidari said.


Novel coronavirus cartoon

(Elnaz Heidari's cartoon depicts a group of viruses warning about masks in a board meeting) 

So far, she has been posting her artwork on social media and hopes to have her work published in a newspaper or magazine to boost the chance of people seeing it and learning the importance of wearing facemasks.

One teacher has already reached out to her asking to use her cartoons in the upcoming school year to teach students about the novel coronavirus.

"That's the ultimate goal for her cartoons," Heidari said."It's not medical information or health policies that I'm putting out there, but it's more symbols that all people will understand ... I think people will remember it more when it's a cartoon."


COVID-19-inspired cartoon by Timmins artist

(One of Elnaz Heidari's cartoons showing a city protecting itself against COVID-19 by wearing a large mask) 

Health studies around the disease have shown that wearing facemasks is most effective when everyone in an interaction wears them if two-metre physical distancing is not possible.

Heidari hopes people can develop a community mentality, especially around vulnerable populations.

"I have my grandparents living at home with me and I don't wear the mask for myself, I wear it for them because I know they have a weaker immune system," said Heidari. "I think it's so important if you want to protect your family members, protect yourself and your community, to wear masks."


There was a typo in the artist's first name, it is Elnaz, not Elraz. It has been corrected.