Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Rising Stars

Last night Random House Children's Books hosted a sparkling evening showcasing their brightest and newest picture book illustrators, their very own rising stars.

Joel Stewart, Katie Cleminson, Hannah Shaw, Lizzie Finlay and Louise Yates displayed examples of their published picture books, work in progress, sketchbooks and portfolios for us to pour over. Whilst we all happily chatted they were able to fill us in with stories of how they came to be such talented author/illustrators, where they get their inspiration from and the directions they would like to take their work in. From Louise who lives in an old school to Joel who has included a bagpipe player in his latest work as a dedication to his father, Katie who has a love of lemurs, Lizzie with her bright colours and Hannah with gorgeous flamingos each of them has a wonderful story to tell.

That there are so many Rising Stars being published at a time when picture books are fighting for their share of the market is a testament to the skill of these illustrators. Their work engages the child as a reader, with drawings that leap off the page and shows a true understanding of art. The work is understated and subtle and this even applies to the brightness of some of the palettes! These five illustrators are creating books that will last and be valued by children for many years to come.
(Four of the five illustrators - Lizzie was stuck on a train)

It was a great pleasure to spend time talking to them and a lovely opportunity to understand more about the way in which they work, how they came to be children's book illustrators and have a sneak preview of their latest projects. It was a charming and exciting evening.

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