We asked each of our esteemed judges for a few words about the submitted works and this is what they had to say:
Laurent Linn (Author-Illustrator and Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
I love that illustrators from all sorts of backgrounds and interests and levels of experience entered the contest this year. There were a few themes that were shared by some submissions, but overall it was striking how many extremely unique voices and singular subjects there were.
It was also wonderful to see varied media from traditional painting to cut paper to purely digital and everything in between. So much of the work was truly exceptional and impressive. It made it exceedingly hard to narrow down the top contenders!
Even if an illustrator's piece did not win or is not in the group that will be shown at Bologna, illustrators should know that the quality level was very high this year and that their work was noticed and seen by all of the judges no matter what.
Naomi Kojima (Japan – Regional Illustrator Coordinator)
When I learned there were over 500 submissions for BIG, I thought the judging was going to take some time. But as soon as I began to look at the illustrations, I was drawn into the different styles and themes and the quality of the illustrations. I looked forward to the time going over the submissions, and one day, when I realised I was almost at the end of the list, I wished there were more. With each illustration, I enjoyed imagining the story behind the illustration. I wished I could see more work of each illustrator. It is wonderful that SCBWI members from around the world submitted to BIG.
Congratulations to everyone on the shortlist. And for the illustrators who did not find their work on the shortlist, I urge them not to be discouraged, but try again. The over all quality of the illustrations were very high, and it was a very competitive contest. There is so much talent in SCBWI!
Doug Cushman (Illustrator)
There were some terrific pieces in there. The variety blew me away. I had a heck of a time making my choices. My operating criterion was, “Does it tell a story?” Most all of them met that standard. They were very professional and polished and all had some merit. I wish we could put them all up as an exhibition. Thrilled be to part of the judging team!
THE BiG Statistics
3 judges – Illustrator CoOrdinator, Illustrator, Art Director (details above)
506 entries from 26 countries
43 entries for the shortlist which hailed from 6 Regions (5 Countries)
1 x Australia East NZ
1 x Australia West
3 x British Isles
3 x Canada
1 x South Africa
34 x USA
and judged again to uncover:
9 finalists hailing from 3 Regions (3 Countries)
1 x Australia East
2 x British Isles
6 x USA
and from these they chose:
Nicola Robinson (Bristish Isles)
Laura Stitzel (Australia East)
Rongyuan (Roya) Ma (New England)
September 15 – BiG information released
October 1 – entry into BiG opens
November 15 – last date for submitting illustrations
Mid December – BIG shortlist revealed.
February 12 – Winner announced (at the New York Winter Conference)
and at the 2016 Summer Conference the SCBWI will also announce the People's Choice Awards, as chosen by the visitors to the SCBWI booth at the Bologna Book Fair.