A third year student from the University of Cumbria’s illustration degree course has been announced as a runner-up in the prestigious Book Illustration Competition 2016, to produce original illustrations for a new edition of Michael Morpurgo’s famous book War Horse.
Catt Fearnley (23), originally from Farnborough, was long-listed and then shortlisted from nearly 400 entries from both student and professional illustrators. Entries were received from 27 countries including the US, Brazil, Taiwan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. This year, student entries reached an all-time high, making up over half the overall entries.
Now in its sixth year, The Book Illustration Competition is a partnership between The Folio Society and The House of Illustration, in whose gallery in London the awards ceremony was held.
From the shortlist of six entries, the judges selected five runners-up and one overall winner. Catt was named as one of the runners-up and received a cheque from Michael Morpurgo, who was also one of the judges.
Catt was understandably overjoyed at her success and says:
“It’s my ambition to pursue a career in book illustration so this competition represented a fantastic opportunity to get my foot in the door and work with a very important client in this field – The Folio Society.
“To have been shortlisted and to have attended the event feels like massive approval of my work and it’s suitability within the specialty. I was delighted to talk with art editors from The Folio Society and to be told that shortlisted artists are often selected to work on future projects, so watch this space.”
Catt used a combination of gestural mark making and digital collage to create her work which speaks of the bonds formed between characters in the book - both human and equine.
Her lecturer at the University of Cumbria, Dwayne Bell comments:
“To be long-listed in a competition of this calibre is quite an achievement, but to be shortlisted is something else! Michael Morpurgo congratulated Catt on creating something akin to tapestry, and I think that's a very good way of describing her work.
“To be a successful illustrator requires devotion and a real love for the subject – we’ve never doubted that Catt had these qualities in abundance and whilst we were overjoyed to hear of her initial long-listing in the competition, we were in no way surprised. When her name was announced among the final short list and Catt took to the stage, it felt like a very definite confirmation of all the hard work she has put in over the last three years.”