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Lauren Child’s Poetry Illustration Prize 2018 (+ contact with Author Hilary Mckay)

Hilary Mckay is a successful children's author who does some literary classes at Carsington Water (the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust location I have done a lot of work for). Through word of mouth we got in touch through email and she started sending me different competitions to submit my work to (she is really lovely!). I felt it was useful to get in touch with her and hear about things form a children’s authors perspective. I asked what her experience and role in the past with illustrators had been. She said they have had quite a close relationship with a lot of back and forth, there is usually a lot of detail in her covers and she likes to see that every aspect of the illustration relates to the text in some way.

The Lauren Child's Poetry Illustration Prize started as a poetry competition for children aged around 9-12 years old. The winners get published in a book illustrated by the second phase of the competition (open to illustrator). I thought this was a great idea and decided to print the poems out and fit them in amongst the other briefs I was doing by doing them in the evenings. I have made a bit of a habit of this because I have gone a bit work mad, however I do enjoy it and I’m very keen to build up my portfolio at every opportunity.

I built up my work in a very peaceful setting during a week away in the Lakes. I think this can be seen through my outcomes which I feel are very personal. I responded to three of the poems and decided to submit one.


Rough approach that I felt fell flat and lacked independent narrative. I abandoned it and went for a different poem I felt more inspired by.


Image requirements: Greyscale, A4

The poem “His Place” reminded me of my Grandad who has passed away. The piece actually became unexpectedly personal, remembering him and his corner that has long since gone in my Nans house. It was drawn from memory but I like to think I got it pretty close. While I don’t think I’ll be submitting this one, it means a lot to me personally.

Final Submission: I felt this one was the strongest outcome because it fit the image specifications best, provided depth that I like to convey in my work and also had a clear narrative.

I don’t expect for it to be successful but I have learned something about my practice while doing them: I can still be confident in my style with analogue medias and create interesting and unique outcomes. I think it pays sometimes to strip back to basics!

If I were to do these again I don’t know if I would do them that differently, I perhaps would have had more thought for the image specifications when building up my designs initially because I did kind of forget the brief a little at a point.

Lauren childs2  
Lauren childs2