Martha Lee is the CKG Judge for YLG Wales, she is an academic librarian at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
I became the librarian for the School of Art & Design at Cardiff Metropolitan University in September 2016. This was a massive change from my previous role as a Community Librarian in a public library. It means that now, unfortunately, I don’t get to work with children and young people which is the bit that I really miss the most. However it does mean that I get to work with art and design students and am surrounded by the most incredible art books and image resources.
My change in role has given me a whole different perspective and appreciation of the Kate Greenaway titles. Working with the illustration students at university in a shadowing group was a revelation, the students were so enthusiastic and opened my eyes to further detail of the shortlisted titles. Not only this but seeing this year’s Degree Summer Show, my first, was awe-inspiring. The students’ talent and creativity was inspirational.
One of the hardest things about judging the Kate Greenaway nominations is that art is so personal and subjective but, as a judge, you have to be completely impartial and balanced and set your personal taste to the side entirely. I studied History of Art at University so art has always been a passion of mine. I know that I’m pretty horrendous at drawing, painting and just generally being remotely creative but I love, love, LOVE looking at and appreciating art. I poured over the gorgeous pages from this year’s shortlist with relish.
From Brian Selznick’s masterful draftsmanship, Francesca Sanna’s poignant screen-print like illustrations to Chris Riddell’s unmistakeable style and William Grill’s masterful use of colour and line. I was enthralled by Jim Kay’s exquisite art and imaginative interpretation of Harry’s world, Lane Smith’s delicate use of colour and brilliant use of texture, the beauty of the natural world that shines through in Dieter Braun’s work and Emily Gravett’s excellent use of humour in her wonderfully distinctive style.
These are all truly wonderful pieces of art and I hope they bring as much joy to you as they did to me when judging them. I’ve now been inspired to get out my pencils and start practising…however bad the results may turn out!