Children’s Publishing is a hugely important sector in the global illustration industry, and perhaps the most well known type of illustration.
Many of us will have fond memories of favourite picture books we enjoyed as children, and many of these characters and stories still colour our lives as adults. From the educational to the fantastical, illustration for children’s publishing continues to offer magical windows into new worlds for younger readers to explore.
Creative Director Ben Norland and Senior Designer Julia Thompson from publisher Walker Books UK regularly commission amazing children’s book illustration. They have curated this selection of highlights from this year’s Children’s Publishing Category shortlist. Read their insights from a commissioners’ perspective below!
The Children’s Publishing Category was judged by:
Charlotte’s illustrations are young, warm, original and, importantly, have huge child appeal. The stipple texture of the pachoir brings a richness to her pictures, which is emphasised by her strong and bold use of colour. Charlotte’s simplicity of design and composition shows a really good sense for the page.Ben Norland and Julia Thompson, Walker Books
Charlotte is from Northumberland, UK and is a recent graduate from Cambridge School of Art, where she completed an MA in Children’s Book Illustration.
Chen’s drawing is wonderful; we love the way the style references paint but retains a graphic sensibility. This is an exciting project which has a wide audience, appealing both to older children and adults.Ben Norland and Julia Thompson, Walker Books
Chen Winner is an animator and illustrator based in London. She graduated with a B.Des (Visual communication) from Bezalel Academy in Israel in 2015 and has since completed an MA at the Royal College of Art.
Alfie’s drawings have a lovely freedom of line and mark making, and are imbued with a restrained, but very real and present, sense of humour. The tenderness and love between the people and trees in his art is a joy to see, and conveys his sensitivity to current and future issues around deforestation perfectly.Ben Norland and Julia Thompson, Walker Books
Alfie is an illustrator based in Brighton, though originally from Kent. He graduated at Falmouth University with a BA (Hons) in Illustration in 2019. He’s currently employed as a full-time designer, working in creative advertising.
Eewha has a strong graphic style, confident use of colour and excellent understanding of page composition. The clear and bold elements of the interior scenes offer plenty of detail for a child to have fun poring over.Ben Norland and Julia Thompson, Walker Books
EEWHA studied Visual Communication and worked at a publishing company as a book designer for 15 years, and now works as a professional illustrator.
Ellan’s work is full of life, fun and wonderful observation. Her pictures tell a clear story, with a great sense of humour and character. The night-time scene in particular demonstrates a lovely use of type and understanding of picture-book layout. Ellan has a great ability to build worlds and interiors full of enticing detail, lovely colours and warm textures.Ben Norland and Julia Thompson, Walker Books
Ellan Rankin is a Northern Irish author-illustrator. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art.
Kin-choi’s illustration is very inviting; it makes us want to know more about these families and see their landscape. The busyness of the piece and the engagement with different characters and details is immediately engaging. There is great freedom of shape and style in each of the individual drawings, and children will delight in all the details.Ben Norland and Julia Thompson, Walker Books
Kin-choi Lam is an artist and picturebook maker based in Hong Kong and Cambridge, UK. His art mainly focuses on the pursuit and discovery of wonder through intimate aspects of daily life. He graduated in 2020 from the Cambridge School of Art in MA Children’s Book Illustration.
Marieke’s work is imaginative and full of humour and play. We so enjoyed her use of scale and the very real sense of dream and fantasy in her art. The picture of dancing on the crocodile’s teeth is just fantastic, as is the charging bull! The children in the images are young and playful, and represent a lovely, diverse set of characters that any child reader would happily relate to.Ben Norland and Julia Thompson, Walker Books
Marieke is an Amsterdam based children’s book illustrator. Her main material is pigmented ink in the primary colours, with which she paints, drips, stamps, smears and draws.
Katie’s illustration is so inviting, and feels very much as if we are seeing through the eyes of a child, which is so important in picture book illustration. We love the colours and atmosphere, and really felt that we wanted to be there in the world that she has created. Katie’s tremendous use of pattern and surface texture creates art with great vibrancy, fun, and an impressive sense of clarity.Ben Norland and Julia Thompson, Walker Books
Katie is an illustrator based in Bournemouth, on the South coast of England, where she studied for both her BA and MA in illustration. Since graduating in 2017 she has specialised in children’s book illustration and has enjoyed working with many publishers. Katie is represented by Bright Agency.
Taltal’s work is evocative and full of atmosphere. There’s a lovely feeling to the wooded setting where the rendering of the natural landscape, trees and plants is very sensitive. The fox is a great character – elegant and mysterious. And we love the title!Ben Norland and Julia Thompson, Walker Books
Taltal Levi was born in the Galilee, Israel. She graduated from Lucerne University of Arts and Design with a degree in illustration, and currently works and lives in Basel, Switzerland.
Lee’s work is full energy, and bursting with life. The idea and execution is graphically strong and enormous fun, and children will love seeing the way the yellow elements integrate into each image in different and playful ways. This is a very witty and enjoyable project with lots of detail that will engage children and get them exploring the pictures.Ben Norland and Julia Thompson, Walker Books
Born in Seoul, Lee majored in Painting. Lee has received many awards, and has had three books published in Korea.