The Gallery at Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, was the venue for the Cambridge School of Art’s MA Children’s Book Illustration show in February.
Entering the gallery on the 3rd floor, it was immediately clear there was a lot of interest in this year’s graduates. We arrived shortly after the show began, and already the wine was flowing, publishers, students a lecturers were discussing the work on display.
The work of Maria Altes was the first to greet out eyes as we subjected ourselves to the throng and buzz and it was clear to see why publishers Egmont chose to award their annual prize to her this year. In fact, in an unprecedented step, Egmont decided to jointly award the prize to two illustrators as they found it impossible to choose between Maria’s work and that of Birgitta Sif. Both artists work demonstrate a two very different artistic languages.
Being awarded the Egmont prize is an important accolade; it brings the awarded artist much deserved attention, reward for all of the hard work and confidence that their books are inline with what Egmont determines to be the current or impening trend -something that awards such as this are a good indicator of. It gives a hint as to where children’s book illustration is heading.
There was a stronger international feel to the show this year, with the students coming from countries such as Brazil, South Korea, China, Bulgaria,Singapore, Thailand, Iceland, Spain and the UK. This certainly contributed to the show’s diverse range of work and talent.
This year there also seemd to be more ‘merchandise’ on display. Illustrators Elys Dolan, Susannah Moores and Thomas Maurice Radcliffe, amongst others, had made models of their characters to compliment their illustrations. Not only does this make their displays more eye-catching, it also demonstrates to publishers the possible merchandising and brand potential of their stories.
Sorry you missed it? Not to worry, the MA Children’s Book Illustration Show is currently on at:
Ruskin Gallery and Balcony, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge CB1 1PT from 2nd to the 10th March 2011
Link to the official MA website: cambridgemashow.com