Bright Artists Nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal

last updated 26 November 2018

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Ahead of the longlist announcement in February, we take a look at the Bright artists nominated for this coveted prize.

We’re delighted that six brilliant Bright artists — Benji Davies, David Litchfield, Jarvis, Jenny Løvlie, Laura Hughes and Richard Jones — have been nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2019. It is a huge honour for artists to be recognised by such a prestigious prize; it is one of the oldest children’s book awards in the UK, and also notably one that is dedicated to celebrating illustration in children’s publishing.

Joining a fantastic list of nominees, featuring both established artists and rising new talent, our artists are sitting alongside the very best in children’s book art. To mark this wonderful recognition for their work, we’ve taken a peek at the gorgeous illustrations inside each of the picture books nominated.


Pick A Pine Tree – Illustrated by Jarvis

Written by Patricia Toht, and published by Walker Books

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Winner of the coveted V&A Illustration Award for his author illustrated picture book ‘Alan’s Big Scary Teeth’, Jarvis’ recent title ‘Pick A Pine Tree’ is a true festive treat. Aglow with fairy lights, falling snowflakes, and twinkling decorations, Jarvis’ artwork — packed with lush wintry details — beautifully captures the anticipation and magic of the festive season.

“When I go about illustrating a book there is usually one element that unlocks the book. For ‘Pick A Pine Tree’ it was the tree, as soon as I created an inky fuzzy organic tree I knew how the rest should look. I’m really pleased it has been nominated!” - Jarvis

Jarvis and Patricia Toht’s second collaboration is the forthcoming picture book ‘Pick A Pumpkin’, publishing with Walker Books in July 2019.

View Jarvis’ portfolio


The Snow Lion – Illustrated by Richard Jones

Written by Jim Helmore, published by Simon & Schuster

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Published in over 18 countries globally, ‘The Snow Lion’ is an elegantly woven tale of friendship, change, and letting go. Beautifully brought to life through Richard’s stunning illustrations; his use of soft tones, gentle textures and sense of movement captures the playful and touching relationship of little Caro and the lion.

“Every now and again I discover a book, a painting or a song that stops me in my tracks and reminds me why I love making picture books. The text of ‘The Snow Lion’ gave me one of those moments. Jim’s writing is beautifully clear and spare but at the same time full of warmth and gentle emotion. It was clear from the beginning, the artwork had to follow this lead and slowly the style and mood of ‘The Snow Lion’ emerged from the pages of my sketchbooks. Although the story suggests that “The walls were white, the ceilings were white, even the doors were white…” we didn’t want the opening spreads to appear too stark or clinical to young eyes. Despite the house at the beginning being empty we wanted to show it also a place full of possibility and fun and maybe hint that one day it would become a warm and friendly home.

“As Caro begins to grow in confidence and we see the lion less and less, we allowed colour to creep into the artwork. The story takes a twist in the middle of the book when Caro’s mum invites her new friends round for a painting party. These spreads mark the transition in the narrative when the new and unfamiliar house begins to become an exciting place to live, full of colour, energy and happiness. It is also the last time that Caro and the Snow Lion are together in the house, a sad moment, but also one full of promise.” - Richard Jones

Richard Jones and Jim Helmore’s forthcoming collaboration, ‘Paper Planes’, is publishing in May 2019 with Simon & Schuster.

View Richard’s portfolio


Space Tortoise – Illustrated by David Litchfield

Written by Ross Montgomery, and published by Faber & Faber

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After the success of ‘The Building Boy’ — also nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal last year — Ross Montgomery and David Litchfield’s second picture book ‘Space Tortoise’ is one of bravery and kindness. David’s sweeping landscapes of night skies and twinkling stars, beautifully conveys the tortoise, a lonely creature ready to step out into the vast world for his very first adventure. David has been nominated for the Kate Greenaway three times previously, and has received much acclaim for his author illustrated title ‘The Bear and the Piano’, including winning the prestigious Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.

“Working with Ross is always so much fun. His stories are really quirky but have such a strong emotional core. I try to translate visually as much of that emotion as possible not just through the characters’ expressions but also the scenery. For example, the sky was really important in this book as it sort of reflected how the tortoise was feeling on each spread. There are a lot of hopeful rays of light and bright textures in those skies as well as some fear and trepidation. I loved working on this book with Ross and the end result is something that I’m very proud of.” - David Litchfield

View David’s portfolio


The Grotlyn – Written and illustrated by Benji Davies

Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

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Benji Davies’ has received much acclaim for his author illustrated picture books, with six prior nominations for the Kate Greenaway, winner of the Oscar’s Book Prize for ‘The Storm Whale’, among many other accolades. ‘The Grotlyn’ is an atmospheric rhyming tale full of mystery and suspense, set in a Dickensian inspired town where nothing is quite as it seems. Benji’s forthcoming picture book with Harper Collins titled ‘Tad’ will be publishing in March 2019.

View Benji’s portfolio


Quick, Barney, Run! – Illustrated by Laura Hughes

Written by Pip Jones, published by Faber & Faber

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Winner of the Oscar’s Book Prize 2018 with ‘There’s A Pig Up My Nose’, Laura’s illustrations for ‘Quick, Barney, Run!’ are packed with her distinctive exuberance and flair. Pip Jones’ light and lively tale follows little Ruby Roo on a unique adventure fuelled by her own imagination, perfectly captured in Laura’s artwork, packed with humour, colour and energy.

“’Quick, Barney, Run!’ is about the power of children’s imaginations, so it was really important to show the transition from the real world to the imaginary world in the book’s illustrations. I used lots of greys for the first few spreads when Ruby and Barney are bored at home, and then full, saturated colour when the children fly to the jungle in their cardboard plane. Most of the artwork was created in ink, but I also wanted to try and use some different textures wherever I could, so for example: I made the bubbles in the waterfall by blowing into paint with a straw and placing paper over the top. It’s something I know a lot of children do when they’re at pre-school so it took me back to being really small!” - Laura Hughes

Her forthcoming picture book with Faber & Faber, ‘Mummy’s Suitcase’, is publishing in February 2019.

View Laura’s portfolio


The Girls – Illustrated by Jenny Løvlie

Written by Lauren Ace, published by Caterpillar Books

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This wonderfully touching tale by Lauren Ace tells the story of four, very different, friends as they grow from children to adults. Jenny’s fresh illustration style is full of warmth and heart, and gorgeously captures the characters’ journey together and the joy of friendship.

“When I read the manuscript and character descriptions for ‘The Girls’ my immediate thought was that I had never seen anything like this before. The text felt like a celebration of the ordinary girls and women and all other people just living their lives. I wanted to create a world where these characters could be themselves and carry on the ambience of Lauren’s quietly impactful story in the illustrations.

As was Lauren’s wish, so was mine. We wanted every little person who read the book to be able to recognise something of themselves in the four characters.” - Jenny Løvlie

View Jenny’s portfolio


The longlist for the Kate Greenaway Medal will be announced on 18th February 2019. The best of luck to all involved!

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