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New Picture Book Award

Aspiring illustrators now have the chance to kick-start their career and see their own work published with mentoring from a top picture book artist, following the establishment of the inaugural Storylines Gavin Bishop Award for Picture Book Illustration.

This new award, sponsored by Random House New Zealand and the Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust, aims to encourage the publication of new and exciting high-quality picture books from New Zealand illustrators. It also recognises the contribution Gavin Bishop has made to the writing and illustrating of children’s picture books and gives an emerging talent the opportunity to benefit from his expertise.

In addition to a $1,500 monetary prize, the winner of the award will receive mentoring and support from celebrated children’s author and illustrator, Gavin Bishop, and may also receive an offer of publication by Random House New Zealand.

”The award could give a new – but not necessarily young – unpublished illustrator a great start in a career as a picture book artist,” says Gavin Bishop.

”There are many talented artists out there who may not have thought of delving into the medium of the picture book, but we hope that this award will give them the impetus to do so and enable us to uncover some great new talent,“ he says.

“A picture book is not just a short story with pictures. In a good picture book the story and imagery work together, each complementing the other – they should be inseparable.

“In a good picture book the illustrations do not stand alone – they are part of the storytelling process so this provides an added challenge that artists need to consider.”

“We are delighted to be part of this initiative,” adds Dr Libby Limbrick, chairperson of Storylines. “For young readers, the pictures are an integral part of their comprehensive exploration of the story. The quality of illustrations is therefore critical in literature written for them.

“The opportunity to work with someone as talented and experienced as Gavin will not only support the illustrator but contribute to the development of an ethos of quality illustration as at least as important as the words in many books.”

Each entrant will be required to submit a storyboard, a page of rough drawings and two pieces of finished art to fit with text provided by Random House.

‘Besides freshness of ideas, good drawing and confident use of materials and techniques, the judges will be looking for strong characterisation, strong pictorial story-telling, and artwork that is appropriate to the designated age group,’ says Random House New Zealand Deputy Publishing Director, Jenny Hellen.

The winner of the award will go on to work with Gavin Bishop on a picture book which then would be considered for publication by Random House upon its completion. Entries must be received by 31 October 2009, with the presentation of the award made at the Storylines Margaret Mahy Day in March 2010.

For further information on the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award for Picture Book Illustration, including details on how to enter, visit www.storylines.org.nz

Gavin Bishop is a renowned children’s book author and illustrator who has published some 30 books that have been translated into eight languages. His books The House That Jack Built, Weaving Earth and Sky and Snake and Lizard have all won the Book of the Year Award of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. He has won the Russell Clark Medal for Illustration with Mrs McGinty and the Bizarre Plant, Rats! and Kiwi Moon. In 2000 he was awarded the Margaret Mahy Medal for his contribution to New Zealand children’s literature.

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