“Masterful characterisation” and “subtle visual subplots” have won Isobel Evans, a third-year illustration student at the University of Hertfordshire, the Hachette Children’s Group (HCG) Carmelite Picture Book Prize 2017.
The prize, which launched last year, is designed to recognise the most talented undergraduates, with the aim of encouraging and inspiring the next generation of picture book illustrators. Illustration and design students aged 18 and above at further or higher education institutions in the UK were invited to submit their illustrations to accompany the text of a new picture book, Free-range Freddy by author and artist Rachel Bright.
Evans, who was awarded the £1,000 prize at an event at Carmelite House in London yesterday (Thursday 27th April), may also be selected to work with HCG imprint Orchard Books on the final illustrations for Free-range Freddy. Her submissions to the competition are pictured right and below. The student said that Bright’s text appealed to her because “it’s about accepting who you are, and that it’s okay to be different. That’s something that will always be relevant, particularly for children.” She added: “I really enjoyed illustrating Rachel’s text and it’s a huge privilege to be part of the Carmelite Prize.”
The second prize (of £500) went to Molly Fairhurst from Leeds College of Art and the third prize (of £250) was given to Kate Sheehy from Cambridge School of Art. Simina Popescu from Central St Martins and Rose Robbins from Cambridge School of Art were highly commended for their submissions. All five will be invited to Carmelite House to receive portfolio advice from HCG’s art directors.
The prize was judged by a panel of industry professionals, including Bright and Sophie Stericker, group creative director at Hachette Children’s Group. Stericker said: “The standard of entries was extremely high. It was wonderful to see such stylistically diverse interpretations of Rachel’s text, and the finalists demonstrate tremendous competence and creativity in visual storytelling, their approaches unique and entertaining. Isobel delivered a story beyond the words, with subtle visual subplots and masterful characterisation.”
HCG c.e.o. Hilary Murray Hill said there were more entries for the prize than last year, with entrants coming from a greater range of art schools and colleges. She added: “We were impressed, moved, made to laugh, and to sigh at the poignancy of some of the work. I congratulate Isobel on her outstanding submission and I thank all our judges for giving so generously of their time to each entry, making the second Carmelite Prize so worthwhile—and also a lot of fun.”
Last year’s prize was won by Mark Nicholas from Anglia Ruskin University, who illustrated Cressida Cowell’s The Story of Tantrum O’Furrily, which will be published in hardback in spring 2018 under the Hodder Children’s Books imprint.