Grahame Baker-Smith has won this year's CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for his novel FArTHER (Templar). In his acceptance speech today he attributed his award to "a complete change of style" after 15 years in the field, and in particular learning how to use digital tools.
Baker-Smith, who also works as a commercial illustrator, said: "When I began to illustrate children's books I took notice of so many things I was told to do and ended up with books that were very bland and which completely bombed. I had been using traditional media for many years but needed a reboot. I decided to change the way I was working and taught myself how to use PhotoShop and found it a gave me a way back to my own creativity, to my own ‘voice'. I also fell back in love with drawing and painting."
That change in style led to a contract to design an album cover for Robert Plant and to creation of the picture book, Leon and the Space Between (Templar), which was shortlisted for last year's Greenaway award.
In FArTHER, Baker-Smith said: "I had tried to write this book for a long time and finally it was there. FArTHER is really about inheritance and how things are handed on through the generations. In the story, the father wants to be able to fly and finally, his son achieves it. It's also about breaking free; we all have that yearning to break free, not just from gravity but to be free to explore creativity and inventiveness."
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