The Macmillan Prize was established by Macmillan Children’s Books to stimulate new work from young illustrators in art schools, and to help them take the first steps in their professional lives. This coveted award, which is currently in its 30th year, has discovered such talent as Sara Fanelli, Lucy Cousins, Emily Gravett, Cat Rayner and Gemma Merino, amongst many others.
Entries may be submitted between:
Please note that entrants may submit their work digitally.
If shortlisted, hard copies suitable for exhibition must be supplied.
THE MACMILLAN PRIZE FOR CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOK ILLUSTRATION (incorporating The Lara Jones Award)
THE BRIEF All entrants must submit:
1. Pencil roughs or sketches for a children's picture book – cover to cover – including text or a clear indication of the story line.
2. Finished artwork for at least four double-page spreads, or at least three spreads and a front cover.
Entrants should bear in mind what is appropriate for the child reader.
THE FORMAT Length: Picture books should be 32 pages long, including the front and back endpapers, a title page and a copyright page. Books with novelty elements (e.g. flaps, fold-out pages) should not exceed 24 pages. Pop-up books should not exceed six double-page spreads.
Size: The page size of the finished book should not exceed 300mm in width or height
THE TEXT The book may be fiction or non-fiction. The entrant may:
a. devise their own text/story or
b. collaborate with a writer or
c. use a traditional story (e.g. a fairy tale)
N.B. A published text that is in copyright would not be eligible.
The text may be typed or clearly handwritten.
THE ARTWORK Size: Artwork may be prepared either to the same size, or up to 30% larger than the page size of the finished book. Corner marks to show the trim (i.e. the edge of the final printed page) should be clearly indicated outside the area of the actual artwork.
Bleed: Allow at least 5mm extra (after reduction) outside the trim if the artwork is to come to the edge of the printed page. Avoid putting important details within 5mm of the edge of the page, or where illustration crosses the spine.
Medium: Any medium may be used, but it is advisable to avoid luminous paint, fragile collage or other media that will not reproduce well.
Lettering: Any lettering should be in black, and should be put onto a transparent overlay, not directly onto the artwork.
Entrants should bear in mind that extremely fragile artwork may be damaged.
While every care is taken with all submitted work, Macmillan cannot be held responsible for any loss or damage.
WHAT THE JUDGES ARE LOOKING FOR The competition is for a series of outstanding illustrations that show that the artist understands how to match pictures to text. The pictures should also demonstrate the entrant’s grasp of narrative, pacing and characterisation.
The judges will focus on the quality of the illustrations rather than the standard of the writing. Good stories are welcome, but the text will not be the main criterion for judging.
Entrants should supply a well-produced rough dummy, which clearly shows how the style and layout of the illustrations contribute towards the development of the story and characterisation. It is important to avoid monotonous layouts with little contrast in composition or colour. Too many words can overwhelm the illustration.
The judges are ultimately looking for high-quality illustrations, suitable for children’s books, which are considered to be an original contribution to the field.