So Kevin Henkes won a Caldecott honor medal for "Waiting"



  • #IthinkIamtryingtoohard
    #WhatisthisIdon'teven

    Seriously though, I could pick at least (5) pieces from the scrolling marquee at the top of this forum and they would be light years beyond the images in "Waiting" in terms of mood, form, rendering, etc.

    The judges forgot to get my input AGAIN this year.

    EDIT: lol first time i've ever seen any post get a negative vote on this forum.



  • @mattramsey I haven't read the book yet but this made me chuckle! I vote for @Lee-White's work!!



  • Is that because of popularity?



  • I think the illustrations are sweet and simple, great for a very young audience. He also wrote the story and it has a message about waiting that even I can relate to. Sometimes I want to rage when I compare myself to others who are more successful but that doesn't get me anywhere but upset. I think this book just hit a sweet spot of - great message, appropriate illustrations and probably timelessness too.



  • I haven't read WAITING, but I do think they consider the text along with the art for the Caldecott and it is heavily weighted in their decision. So if the concept and story is amazing that will raise up the simple and charming artwork to a new level.

    I had my favorites that didn't make it, too!


  • administrators

    The judges for the caldecott are librarians. It's very easy to forget that our audience doesn't care about technique at all. That's not neccessarily a bad thing. They don't care about what color blue you used or if your shadows have a purple tint to them. They vote based on how they feel when they read the book. I try to keep this in mind when looking at artwork. Too often we look at work with an eye towards how it was made.



  • @Lee-White That makes sense Lee, the feeling a book promotes is crucial in children's books and all story telling. I think overall highly rendered images with excellent form, mood and technique are more appreciated or weighed with more significance in the concept art world and maybe animation vs children's books publishing. Though there are many visually stunning children's books too.



  • @Lee-White This is a really great way to think about this and approach it. This past week I found myself feeling frustrated about where I fit into the world of art after seeing the Tomie winners for example. I found myself looking at the top pieces and seeing the drawing or technical flaws, or how they did not meet the prompt in the way I imagined. I had not even entered that contest so it was not personal to me in that way.

    And now reading your reply here about how the general world is not focused on technique or skill level, but emotional response it makes so much more sense and something I need to keep in my mind as I work and as I respond to others work.

    Thanks for sharing this perspective!



  • @gimmehummus said:

    Sometimes I want to rage when I compare myself to others who are more successful but that doesn't get me anywhere but upset.

    As someone who is not an author/illustrator (yet) my beef was more about "the integrity of the award" and how other submissions with stronger illustrations didn't get chosen because this one did.

    I do not know how much the text weighs in but it was my understanding that the Caldecott is for illustration and the Newbury is for words. From wikipedia: The Medal is "for distinguished illustrations in a picture book and for excellence of pictorial presentation for children".

    The reason it matters to me is because I would imagine that someday in the far future I'd want to have one of my books submitted for consideration. As it stands, the criteria seems a bit inscrutable and based on the whims of (as @Lee-White mentioned) librarians.

    If the images in Waiting are "distinguished and excellent" then...er...well, ok.

    I guess at the end of the day it's all subjective and I just want to push myself to make the best art I can and hopefully find an audience that likes it (and will pay me for it!).



  • I totally understand @mattramsey. If you look at past winners and honorable mentions though, you'll see a wide array of styles. That's encouraging. The Adventures of Beekle won last year, which is more colorful and detailed (and honestly more appealing to me), than Waiting.


  • administrators

    Trying to analyze why one thing was picked for a contest is an exercise in madness.

    The biggest thing I tell my students is make the best work you can. Make the work look like you think it should look. And then let the judging be what it is (don't judge the judging). Now, don't let that make you think that market preference doesn't matter, because it does. If you are doing realistic work and want to be a children's book illustrator, the cards are stacked against you (in terms of what is popular right now). Of course, chasing styles is also an exercise in madness so hopefully your work can fit in between being good to you personally and being relevant to market needs too.

    Ultimately, I've won some contests and I've lost even more. Was the work good or bad? Not quite sure about that one. But I entered work that I thought was good and I moved on to the next thing. C'est la vie...



  • @Lee-White madness fuels creativity! Haha not so much, but I like a little madness sprinkled in with my tea and chocolate and then I go back to getting on with it! :D

    @gimmehummus I heart Beekle!



  • @gimmehummus said:

    I totally understand @mattramsey. If you look at past winners and honorable mentions though, you'll see a wide array of styles. That's encouraging. The Adventures of Beekle won last year, which is more colorful and detailed (and honestly more appealing to me), than Waiting.

    I have that Beekle book on my wishlist--it looks awesome



  • It reminds me of one of my old Cartoon Network favorites "Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends".



  • Librarians? Librarians? Oh god, who put them in charge... I've had some serious crushes on some librarians over the course of my 5 decades here on the planet. Nothing sexier than an intelligent woman. But I digress... Sorry Matt, but just like music, art is subjective... grrrr I agree with you though.

    It's the same discussion when I talk to my son about the Beatles, whose songs he likes, but who's voices he doesn't. WHAT?!!!

    On another topic, what exactly happens when you get a lot of negative votes? Do we get to shun you?



  • @Bobby-Aquitania said:

    On another topic, what exactly happens when you get a lot of negative votes? Do we get to shun you?

    I think someone comes to my house and delivers some, what you might call, New York justice.


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