‘Nhat Ky Chong Dich’ (Diary on Pandemic Prevention) and ‘Thang Fly Comics’ are popular Facebook pages posting illustrations and comics which have been followed and shared by many people, particularly during the social distancing period.

Through the pages, viewers can see the difficulties and hardships of the front-line forces, with the warm humanity and mutual support vividly presented by illustrators and cartoonists. Bui Dinh Thang, commonly known as Thang Fly, is the owner of the ‘Thang Fly Comics’ Facebook page, which has attracted 1.4 million followers. Thang has constantly drawn many paintings that are widely popular in the online community.

Among them was a drawing inspired by a touching photo of a group of volunteers in the pandemic-hit Ho Chi Minh City, who were wearing protective suits, sitting on the back of a pickup truck, and holding each other’s shoulders under torrential rain.

Acts of kindness in the quarantine areas, the bonds between fellow citizens, volunteers heading to pandemic-hit localities, and other similar stories have provided inspiration for many pictures. The illustrator of Thang Fly Comics said that he receives dozens of messages every day, sharing touching stories of many places, which provide him ideas for his comics.

Nguyen Dao Nhat Dan, the administrator of the ‘Nhat Ky Chong Dich’ Facebook page, also seeks inspiration for his paintings from the press, social networks, or the sharings of volunteers, doctors and nurses who are working in the fight against COVID-19.

One of his paintings was based on the story of a young female volunteer with a protective shirt with hand-written words “FB: Hue Nguyen – Single”, which conveyed the vitality and optimistic spirit of the youth despite hardships caused by COVID-19. Another of Dan’s drawing featured Miss Universe Vietnam 2017 H’Hen Nie in a casual outfit transporting goods, and distributing free meals to people in the quarantine area.

According to Dan, despite his busy schedule, the amateur painter loves to spend time drawing comics every day to record inspirational stories and spread the optimism to his viewers.

A painting by Nghiem Vu Xuan Lan

For her part, painter Nguyen Vu Xuan Lan has received tens of thousands of likes and shares on social networks for her collections themed ‘Diary of getting vaccinated against COVID-19’, and ‘Baby in the Quarantine Area’.

With funny drawings and humorous descriptions, Xuan Lan hopes that people will feel more secure when they have to go to quarantine area or get vaccinated, because the medical team is very supportive and cares about the people.

She also wants to spread the message that making honest medical declarations, voluntarily going to quarantine if necessary, and actively registering for vaccination are significant measures that everyone can take to contribute to the prevention of COVID-19.

All young artists are happy when their paintings are appreciated and shared widely on social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok.

Painting while staying at home during social distancing has also been the response of many other artists, including painter Tran Trung Linh. Linh decided to focus his works on three main themes, including ‘Thanks to the heroes’, which highlights people partaking in charity activities to support needy people; ‘Saigon – Cute Things’, which includes beautiful acts of residents in Ho Chi Minh City amidst the pandemic; and ‘Something Sweet out of Hardships’, which is a touching expression of parents’ love for their children.

Cao Hong Ly, a young teacher in Nghe An province, attracted public attention with her series of paintings of elderly people making donations to the COVID-19 fight.

Among his paintings, painter Le Sa Long created a portrait of Minh Rau – a vegetable seller in Bien Hoa City, Dong Nai Province, who often delivers free vegetables to workers and students, and the poor. Meanwhile, female artist Nguyen Minh Hai creates big posters on the health workers, police, soldiers, and volunteers who have been resiliently working to fight against the pandemic.

Not only professional painters, many amateur painting lovers have also actively created paintings on the beauty in life during social distancing.

Cao Hong Ly, a young teacher in Nghe An province, attracted public attention with her series of paintings of elderly people making donations to the COVID-19 fight, which were based on true stories, including an 89-year-old man from Ha Tinh Province donating his savings and two bags of home-grown vegetables, and a 102-year-old woman from Yen Bai Province making donations to those joining anti-epidemic forces.

Little acts of kindness and benevolence continue to touch the hearts of people. Not being subjective but also not panicking is the common message that the painters want to convey to viewers while fuelling their hope for a near future day when normal life will return.