TALENTED youngsters were given the seal of approval by one of Scotland’s best-loved artists after impressing him with their creative skills.

Rachel Bryceland, Marie McNicol and James Irwin all won awards in the John Byrne National Drawing Competition.

Mr Byrne, who found fame through his paintings and artwork for album covers, as well as writing theatre and television shows such as Tutti Frutti, presented the schoolkids with their prizes last week.

More than 7,000 entries from youngsters across Scotland were received for this year’s contest, with the best of the best now going on display at an exhibition at the Tannahill Centre, in Paisley.

Among the impressive drawings on show are those by Rachel, who is a pupil at Trinity High School, in Renfrew, Paisley Grammar School youngster Marie and James, who attends St Mark’s Primary, in Barrhead.

The Gazette: Primary four pupil James was delighted to meet Mr ByrnePrimary four pupil James was delighted to meet Mr Byrne

Mr Byrne, 79, who grew up in the Ferguslie Park area of Paisley, described the level of talent and imagination shown in this year’s competition as “outstanding.”

He said: “I’m encouraged by the standard of all the artwork submitted and I hope pupils will continue to show us their artistic skills and love for drawing.”

Young people from primary four to third year were able to enter the competition.

Artwork produced by James, who is in primary four, was ‘highly commended,’ while second year pupil Rachel and Marie, who is in third year, were both named as runners-up.

Two pupils from Aberdeenshire took the top prizes.

Ailsa Lipp, of Largue Primary, near Huntly, was the overall winner, with second place going to Jack Esslemont, of Aboyne Primary.

The special exhibition at the Tannahill Centre, organised by Education Scotland in partnership with Renfrewshire Leisure, runs until Monday, April 15.

Alan Armstrong, strategic director for Education Scotland, said: “Art and design are important parts of the curriculum and, for years, this competition has encouraged many thousands of children to use their artistic talents to create inspiring and unique drawings.

“Education Scotland is proud to support the competition and its ethos of keeping the art of drawing alive.”