Waiting for the traffic lights to change at Gaol Square has become a more pleasant experience thanks to the stunning Christmas-themed billboard designed by a talented Erne Integrated College student.

Encapsulating the traditional nativity scene in her own creative way, Tegan Smyth commented that she was “happy” to see her design in such a large scale.

“My teacher Mr. McKee approached me and asked me to draw a nativity scene and he said it was for a billboard, and I really wanted my design to be on a billboard so I thought I might draw it out,” said Tegan (17), adding: “I looked at other nativity scenes, all the different styles that are done and I thought I’d make my own.”

Explaining the inspiration behind her style of drawing, Tegan said: “It’s conceptual art, like lineless styles. If you look up Disney concept art you see how some of their concept art is used for their 3D animated movies. They are completely lineless and look very pretty, I thought I’d use that kind of style for this billboard.”

When asked how it felt to see her design on the billboard, Tegan shared: “I was happy to see it, it looks nice up there.”

Commenting on Tegan’s billboard design, Erne Integrated College Art and Design teacher Johnny McKee said: “I teach Tegan and have done for a number of years now, so she’s currently doing A-Level Art and Design with us at the college here. She was our top performing student at GCSE.

“She is a phenomenally good young artist, her real passion is obviously that style, that animation and anime style, she’s currently studying Creative Media at South West College as well through the Fermanagh Learning Community so she’s actually doing animation there. She’s just one of those pupils who has an exceptional talent.”

“All you have to do with Tegan is nurture what she’s doing because she’s fabulous,” Mr. McKee added.

The billboard was made possible through funding provided by the Integrated Education Fund, an independent charity supporting the growth of integrated education in Northern Ireland.

Having created his own billboard designs for the school in the past, this time Mr. McKee decided to give Tegan the opportunity to showcase her design skills.

“I just went along to Tegan and said how do you fancy designing a Christmas scene for a billboard and she said ‘yeah, I’ll do that’ and within four days we had it,” said Mr. McKee.

“Even for me, I see these things onscreen when Tegan is working on it, I’ve seen it in her sketchpad and it looks impressive in a sketchpad and it looks impressive on a screen but when you actually see it on a billboard that’s 15/20 foot hight, it’s really something,” he told this newspaper.