Randolph caldecott medal

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Randolph caldecott medal

  1. 1. RANDOLPH CALDECOTT MEDAL<br />righttop<br />Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886)<br />Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane, and Kate Greenaway form a trio of late Victorian illustrators, who brought the level of British children’s picture books to an unprecedented level of creative and artistic excellence. Born in Chester, England, Caldecott incorporated this predominantly rural locale, the people, buildings and animals as subjects for his picture books. Each of the illustrators had distinctively different styles and forms of expression. All three individuals have a similar style however their means of expression differ. Crane’s work reflect a formal, regulated line without flexibility. Greenaway lacked the playful, humorous side to her visual stories. Caldecott images have a rhythmic line capable of movement and energy. His highly detailed illustrations reveals a story words couldn’t tell, the word nor the illustration dominate one or the other. Harmony of both elevated the communication quality of the book. A friend of Caldecott, Fredrick Locker-Lampson said, “It seems to me that Caldecott’s art was of a quality that appears once in a century. It had delightful characteristics most happily blended. He had a delicate fancy, and humor was racy as it was refined. He had a keen sense of beauty and to sum up all, he had charm.” <br />Fifty two years following Caldecott’s death, Mr. Frederick Melcher proposed a medal awarded yearly to the finest American illustrator of children’s picture books. It was adopted the following year and the initial award was made in 1938 to ANIMALS OF THE BIBLE, illustrated by Dorothy Lathrop.<br />HISTORY OF THE CALDECOTT MEDAL<br />The Caldecott Medal is a product from the Newbery Medal which is awarded yearly for the most distinguished American children’s books published the previous year. The Newbery Medal was instituted in 1922, awarding,” STORY OF MANKIND” authored by Hendrik Willem van Loon the first medal. Within fifteen years people felt artists creating picture books for children were deserving of a unique honor acknowledging their creative efforts. In 1937 Fredric Melcher proposed a second such medal. The Caldecott Medal “shall be awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American Picture Book for Children published in the United States during the previous year. The award shall go to the artist, who must be a citizen or resident of the United States, whether or not he be the author of the text. Members of the Newbery Committee will serve as judges. If a book of the year is nominated for both the Newbery and Caldecott Awards the committee shall decide under which heading it shall be voted upon, so that the same title shall not be considered on both ballots.” In 1977 the Board of Directors of the Association for Library Service to children rescinded the final part of the 1937 action. Approved was “any book published in the preceding year shall be eligible to be considered for either award or both awards.” 1980, separate committees have since selected the Newbery and Caldecott medalists.<br />In addition to the award winners of both the Caldecott and Newbery Medals a number of books were cited by the selection committees as worthy of recognition. Prior to 1971 they were termed “runners up”. It was decided to retroactively label this group of books, from the inception of the awards as “honor books”.<br />ANALYZING THE ILLUSTRATIONS<br />PRINCIPLES OF ILLUSTRATION AND DESIGN<br />UNITY<br />Unity incorporates the elements and principles into an integrated image. Therefore a harmony or congruity exists between all the elements in an artwork or illustration. Early in the 20th century a great deal of attention and scholarly research was conducted in the area of visual perception, especially during the advent of education reform and book illustration in general. Research regarding children’s’ visual perception reveals some general characteristics: children tend to group or choose objects of similar characteristics (be it line, shape, color, texture, etc.).The brain tends to relate and group objects of similar shapes; size relationships between shapes command attention; children often perceive or organize negative (empty spaces) as shapes similar to positive shapes; of all the elements related to the creative visual process, children like all humans are most responsive to COLOR.<br />PRINCIPLES FOR CREATING UNITY<br /> PROXIMITY<br />PROXIMITY: The process of making separate elements look as if they belong together; arranging or placing them close together.<br /> REPETITION<br />REPETITION: As the term implies, something simply repeats in various parts of the illustration to relate or pull the differing parts together. Any number of the elements can be incorporated to achieve unity.<br /> CONTINUATION<br />CONTINUATION: This is a much more subtle device as well as impressive than either proximity, or repetition. Continuation implies something, usually a line, an edge, or implied direction which continues eye movement one to another. The viewer’s eye travels smoothly from one implied line or edge along to another.<br /> CONTINUITY<br />CONTINUITY: Continuation is the planned arrangement of various forms so that their edges are lined up, hence the flow of the eye continues, one to another within the illustration. The task changes however, when there are multiple units (text or words and illustration(s)), now the job is to create a unified design within that particular page and then page to page in a series, which eventually becomes the book. Innovation of design becomes primary to visual success.<br /> VARIETY<br />VARIETY: When there is an obvious, underlying feeling of unity, by employing variations within the design enliven the pattern. Sometimes it is employed to create a picture puzzle; a search for the focal point (a “where’s Waldo” phenomenon). Variety stimulates one’s curiosity to solve the visual problem.<br />PRINCIPLES OF BALANCE<br /> BALANCE<br />DEFINITION: Balance is a type of equal distribution of visual weight using the elements and principles of design; fundamentally, it is a universal aim of composition. The vast majority of pictures we see have been consciously balanced by the artist. At times an artist may, because of a particular theme or topic. Expressly desires that a picture raise an uneasy, disquieting visual response by the young viewer.<br /> SYMMETRIC BALANCE<br />SYMMETRICAL BALANCE: It is the simplest type of balance, both to create and recognize. It is not often used in children’s picture books because of its formal visual qualities. It is in effect, a mirror image of one side of the picture with another: it is the most static visual form of balance. <br /> ASYMMETRIC BALANCE<br />ASYMMETRICAL BALANCE: This type of balance is achieved with dissimilar objects that have equal visual weight or equal eye attraction. There is a children’s riddle which fittingly applies to asymmetric balance. “Which weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of lead?” Both weigh a pound, but the amount and mass of each vary dramatically.<br /> BALANCE BY SHAPE AND COLOR <br />This type of informal balance is much more engaging to all ages, but the attraction of this type of balance impact children especially when the artist makes large use of shape, value and color.<br /> BALANCE BY USE OF POSITION<br />Balance through the use of POSITION is the most widely used balance principle in picture books. An example of this comes from a physics principle: If two items of unequal weight can be brought to equilibrium by moving the heavier inward toward the fulcrum. With design, a large item like shape or dominant color like red would have a place closer to the center of the composition and the smaller shapes or lighter colors have placement in outer areas of the picture plane. This particular type of balance lends an unusual, unexpected quality to the composition. The visual effect not only appears casual and unplanned, but also can make the composition see, at first glance, to be in imbalance (thus creating visual tension or interest).<br /> RHYTHM OR MOVEMENT<br />PRINCIPLE OF RHYTHM<br />A term most often associated with music, writing, and dance rhythm is also important to illustration or design. It refers to the movement of the viewer’s eye throughout the picture plane. This is produced by recurrent motifs (shapes, lines, colors, textures, values) providing the repetition inherent in the idea of rhythm. It has to be regarded as visual energy required tor the success of a quality children’s picture book.<br />ELEMENTS OF DESIGN<br />ACTUAL LINE IMPLIED LINE <br /> PSYCHIC LINE<br />LINE AND SHAPE<br />Line describes shape, and by the shape we recognize objects. There are three fundamental types of line: ACTUAL, which is what the word implies; IMPLIED, An invisible line created by positioning a series of points in order to compel the eye to connect them and thus create movement across the picture plane; PSYCHIC, a mental connection between two points or elements. This occurs when a figure is pointing or looking in a certain direction which causes the eye to follow towards the intended focus. Lines can create shapes which are NATURAL, which people call “realism”. Lines can also create shapes that create degrees of DISTORTION. The illustrator chooses to disregard the shapes and forms found in nature, opting to purposely changing or exaggerating them for the benefit of heightened visual effect or expression.<br /> NATURAL DISTORTION<br /> RECTILINEAR<br /> CURVILINEAR<br />Shapes are defined as having two basic forms: RECTILINEAR, well designed geometric shapes (sharp, formal, somewhat rigid or static) and; CURVILINEAR, natural fluid lines reflecting the soft flowing shapes most often found in nature. Children’s picture books most often reflect a complementation of both of these types of shapes.<br />POSITIVE and NEGATIVE SHAPES are central to the design in picture books. Design themes and purposes vary, but some integration or balance between positive (solid shapes) and negative shapes (empty space) is generally thought desirable. Children often respond directly when there is a conscious effort by the illustrator to employ both in an obvious way.<br />TEXTURE<br /> <br />VISUAL TEXTURE TACTILE TEXTURE<br /> Texture refers to the surface quality of objects. Even when we do not actually feel an object, our memory provides a sensory reaction or sensation of touch. Once again, children readily react to this element and in recent decades the use of texture becomes more prominent in all picture books.<br />ILLUSION OF SPACE<br />The picture plane becomes a “window” into a simulated three-dimensional world created by the illustrator. Many artists have studied this problem of presenting a visual illusion of space and depth. Several devices have been used. The often used devices in children’s picture books are in order of use: SIZE; OVERLAPPING; LINEAR PERSPECTIVE; ONE POINT AND MULTI POINT PERSPECTIVE; AMPLIFIED PERSPECTIVE; and AERIAL PERSPECTIVE.<br />SIZE RELATIONSHIPS is the easiest way to create an illusion of space or distance. We observe the visual phenomenon that objects, as they get farther away, appear to become smaller. Children immediately identify the relative sizes of the various elements and understand the space that is suggested.<br /> SIZE<br />OVERLAPPING uses shapes which hide a part of another because it is on top of or in front of the other. A sense of spatial recession therefore is implied and understood. This device is especially important to use in picture books for the very young. <br /> OVERLAPPING<br />LINEAR PERSPECTIVE begins with the placement of a horizontal line, the “horizon,” that corresponds to the eye level of the artist. On this line are located the needed number of vanishing points to which lines or edges will be directed. It may seem that working by a “formula” such as linear perspective provides would lead to a certain sameness and monotony in pictures. To the contrary, the illustrator’s choice in the placement of the horizon and vanishing points is almost limitless.<br /> LINEAR<br />ONE POINT PERSPECTIVE is the simplest type of linear perspective. A single point has been placed on the horizon line, and all the lines of objects at right angles to the plane of the page converge toward that point.<br />TWO POINT and MULTI- POINT PERSPECTIVE appears to children as more natural and lifelike. Instead of all lines from a shape (architecture for example) converging to one point on the horizon they recede toward two points at opposing ends of the horizon line. MULTI-POINT PERSPECTIVE departs from the two point perspective by employing objects each with separate vanishing points while remaining on the same horizon line. The use of this type of perspective remains the most natural looking of all the perspectives.<br />AMPLIFIED PERSPECTIVE introduces a dramatic, dynamic quality into illustrations. Shapes are greatly foreshortened as it recedes into space. The visual image appears in a unique view that accelerates the illusion of space. An advantage of amplified perspective is that the viewer’s eye is pulled quickly into the picture.<br /> AMPLIFIED PERSPECTIVE<br />AERIAL OR ATMOSPHERIC PERSPECTIVE occurs when the perception of less distinct contours and value contrasts as forms recede into the background. Colors appear to be washed out in the distance or take on the color of the atmosphere. This device is often used to encourage a child’s imagination to take over.<br />VALUE<br />Is simply an art term for light and dark. It is the relative lightness and darkness of objects and space. Defining the realistic volume of a shape is an important function of value. Within the illustration value patterns (lights and darks) are established which often create visual movement of the eye throughout the illustration. All colors and neutral hues have a value quotient (for example; yellow is the lightest hue in the spectrum and purple conversely the darkest).<br />COLOR<br />Color is the final but perhaps the most important element used by the illustrator to narrate visual story. As humans we are primarily given and react to color in whatever shape or form. For children color gives energy and excitement to the images on the picture page. To understand the complex nature of color is an issue for another time. It is however critical that the illustrator be knowledgeable about all facets of color applications within his illustrations.<br /> <br /> COLOR<br />A QUICK VIEW OF THE 2000’s<br />Creative innovation with mixed media and respective techniques continue.<br />Pictorial simplification continues toward a conservative approach.<br /> A flat pictorial “space” predominates.<br />Historical narratives and children’s tales are predominant themes (reflection of conservatism).<br />Well designed conservatism continues through this decade (simple elegance).<br />Value contrast and “emotional” use of color are primary elements used to communicate the narrative.<br />Continuity of page, book design become more creative in the 2000’s.<br /> <br /> CONCLUSIONS<br />All conclusions can be based on historical/political events, economics, technology, societal events, and common attitudes.<br />Illustrators will always continue to explore traditional and nontraditional media and techniques.<br />Illustrator’s vision is fueled by creativity and the challenge to communicate something fresh and original.<br />As readers of these picture books, we will always find them entertaining, engaging, and timeless. They will invite us young and old to our powers of imagination.<br />Medal books will always arouse conversation and sometimes controversy.<br />The Medal Award on a yearly basis is a continuous reminder of the importance of picture book illustration to our children and sets a standard of quality for all picture books.<br /> <br />

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