The shortlist for the first ever Klaus Flugge prize has been released, narrowing the competition down to just six of the most exciting newcomers to children’s illustrations.On the list is Counting Lions, published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books.
Counting Lions was illustrated by Stephen Walton, and written by Virginia McKenna and Katie Cotton. From one regal lion to ten zebras, the book's superb full-page black and white drawings give readers the chance to get close to nature’s wildest creatures, according to award organizers.
A self-taught artist, Stephen Walton commands attention with arresting charcoal portraits of wild animals and this book stands out as different. Tony Ross expressed real admiration, remarking that: "I couldn’t draw like that, and I’d really like to." Walton is an award-winning artist who works as Supervisor at Bury Art Museum in Manchester, UK. After studying Geography at Manchester University, his artwork developed alongside his love of taking photographs, which resulted in his very particular style and method: when he is out and about he takes photographs which he then draws from at home. His incredible charcoal artworks can take up to a month to complete. He lives in Manchester, England.
The short list was narrowed from a list of 20 nominations by an expert panel of judges that included Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell; Tony Ross, the UK’s biggest selling children’s illustrator; Professor Martin Salisbury of the Cambridge School of Art; and Ferelith Hordon, editor of Books for Keeps and IBBYLink. The judges considered technique and artistic ability as as well as the illustrator’s ability of characterisation.
The award was set up in honour of Klaus Flugge, who launched Anderson Press in 1976 and is responsible for spotting and developing, among others, Tony Ross, David McKee and Sir Quentin Blake. The winner of the Klaus Flugge prize will be announced in September and will receive a award of £5,000.