The 2019 prize invited applicants to submit book materials — including cover, storyboard and spread designs — to the theme of “Where I Come From” aimed at pre-school children up to 12 years.
White’s picture book submission, Bread, Buns and Biscuits, draws upon her family’s rich maritime history. White described her submission as a “tale of everyday life in the fishing village that was once situated in my home-town on the Suffolk coast. It recreates a vanished way of life, describing the daily lives of a hard-working, close-knit fishing community.”
“[Paula’s] entry blew us all away showing great skill, beauty and ingenuity in both the story telling, approach to the theme and the style of illustration.”
The story is inspired by her grandfather Percy, who went against the norm and decided to become a baker in a world built around the fishing trade, emphasising “the importance of working together and of feeling valued and part of a community.”
The submissions were judged by acclaimed Templar authors and illustrators Jonny Duddle (The Jolley-Rogersseries, The King in Space, Gigantosaurus); Lara Hawthorne (Alba and the Hundred-Year-Old Fish, The Night Flower); Lucia Gaggiotti (I Really Want the Cake, I Really Want to Win); and Frann-Preston Gannon (In the Swamp by the Light of the Moon, I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree).
“Her drawings are original and sophisticated, with an air of immediate beauty that portray ordinary scenes in a unique way. We instantly loved them.”
Jane Harris, M.D. of Children’s Trade, Bonnier Books UK
As the winner, White received a cash prize of £750 and the opportunity to be considered for publication by Templar Publishing.
Maria Coco was awarded second place and a cash prize of £500 for her submission, The New Swamp, and Sally Walker was awarded third place and a cash prize of £250 for her submission, Grandpa’s World.
Launched in 2018, the award’s impetus is to discover and foster new illustrative talent, offering a platform for new illustrators to launch successful careers.
Frann Preston-Gannon said: “I was a real honour to be asked to judge the Templar Illustration competition and I so impressed with the quality and variety of submissions. [Paula’s] entry blew us all away showing great skill, beauty and ingenuity in both the story telling, approach to the theme and the style of illustration. We all agreed that the top three entries were all incredibly impressive and all had the potential to be excellent picture books in their own right.”
Lucia Gaggiotti commented: “Paula White writes poems through images. Her [work] evokes smells, tastes, and sounds that have almost disappeared. Her pencil fades away like the traditions of the village from which she comes from, but slight touches of colour give life and hope to a possible present — to stories that never die.”
Lara Hawthorne said: “It was such a joy to look through all the brilliant shortlisted submissions for the Templar Illustration Prize. I felt really inspired by the refreshing, distinct and beautiful work produced by this year’s participants; I can’t see wait to see what the future holds for all these exciting artists.”
Jane Harris, M.D. of Children’s Trade, Bonnier Books UK, added: “We are absolutely thrilled that Paula White has won the prize; her illustrations produced a shared gasp of admiration when we first looked at them in the judging room. Her drawings are original and sophisticated, with an air of immediate beauty that portray ordinary scenes in a unique way. We instantly loved them.”
Emma Chadwick won the inaugural Templar Illustration Prize for her story Douglas in the Land of Faraway. The book is to be published by Templar in 2021.
Interviews with Paula White, Maria Coco and Sally Walker can be found on the Bonnier Books UK website.