City Lit Blog

Children's Book Illustration student, Cristina Martin, highly commended by judges from the Macmillian Prize for Illustration 2019

Story added 8th Jul 2019

'Cat in a Tux', Cristina Martin


The Illustration team at City Lit are delighted to announce student Cristina Martin has been awarded highly commended by judges for her 'Cat in a Tux' children's book illustration from the Macmillian Prize for Illustration 2019! We caught up with Cristina on how she got into illustration...

"I completed the 'Picture Book Illustration (Advanced)' course earlier this year at City Lit. It was very important for me, because it’s helped me find my own voice and gain the confidence I needed to develop a project. Illustration can be a beautiful vocacional job, but sometimes it can get too personal in a bad way, specially when the industry is so difficult. You just need to keep drawing, keep creating, and that’s what this course helped me with. My tutor Tim was always incredibly nice and supportive with me and all the students. It was a great course in general, very complete and professionally well oriented.

To enter my illustrations for the Macmillian Prize for Illustration 2019 I had to submit a PDF or an original dummy. The good thing was that the book didn’t have to be fully finished: only four spreads had to be done as final art, and the rest could be just sketched out. It’s funny, because I heard the news a bit later than I expected, so I didn’t think I’d be notified for anything at all! They emailed me about 2-3 weeks after submission.

'Cat in a Tux', about a very grumpy cat, Donald (you can think of a certain duck as an influence!) and his friend, the girl he lives with. One day, she sees him putting on a very smart tuxedo, and decides to follow him to see what he’s up to - only to end up solving all the problems he finds on his way, like passing by a very polite dog and getting help from some ducks. 

When I was about 13 I started to read comics and doodling and draw my favourite characters. I just never stopped, it’s so much fun! I did an Illustration training course and got my degree in Fine Arts. Illustration has always been in my mind during all these years, but it was kind of hard for me to decide in which field I wanted to work in - there are so many! I’ve been quite tempted to do some 2D animation, or even some web design. But in the end I saw pretty clearly that children’s illustration is what calls me the most. I now have so many influences! I keep following illustrators in Instagram to keep myself influenced. Some of my favourites right now are Melissa Castrillón (@melissa.castrillon), Vivien Mildenberger (@vvberger) and Ana Duna (@_anaduna).

In preparation for the future I have been sending my picture book to some publishers and also applying to some agencies. But it’s a really slow process. I also have a couple of ideas that I want to develop, so I guess my plans are just keep drawing."

Cristina Martin, June 2019


Tim Ellis, Advanced Children's Book Illustration tutor

‘Cristina was one of my students from the Advanced Children's Book Illustration class in January 2019, I am thrilled she has received a highly commended in this year's Macmillan Prize!. Cristina is the fourth student from the Advanced Class, over the years, to receive recognition in the Macmillan Prize. So far, we've racked up one second prize and three highly commended and we're competing against Masters courses in Children's Book Illustration. A further two past class students have gone onto secure illustration agents.’

Illustration at City Lit

From comic books to storyboards, our courses not only cover a wide range of subjects relating to illustration, but also cater to a range of levels. Our illustration courses are taught by passionate and expert teachers.