HCAA 2018 Shortlist - Illustrators


Pablo Bernasconi

Pablo Bernasconi was born in Buenos Aires in 1973. A graphic designer, he graduated from Buenos Aires University, where he later was a professor for five years. He began his career as an illustrator at the newspaper Clarín in 1998, preparing covers for more than three hundred and fifty editions of the newspaper supplement. His illustrations have also been published in newspapers and magazines all around the world, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Saturday Evening Post, Telegraph and The Times. Besides his work with publishers and media, he collaborates with the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo) on their graphic projects. 

He is the creator of the text and illustrations of sixteen books and he has provided the illustrations to a further twenty books. Also, he has participated in several individual and group exhibitions in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Italy, Slovenia, Colombia, UK and USA. His most relevant books for children are Mentiras y Moretones (Lies and brushes, 2016), El Brujo, el horrible y el libro rojo de los hechizos, (The wizard, the ugly and the book of shame, 2008), La verdadera explicación (The real explanation, 2012), El Diaro del Capitán Arsenio (The diary of Captain Arsenio, 2006) and Excesos y exageraciones (Excesses and exaggerations, 2010). He has received numerous prizes and his work has been included in several collections, including: “Illustration Now” TASCHEN 2014; the Society of Newspaper Design (SND) – Gold Medal in 2012, the Secretary of Public Education of Mexico (SEP) and he was selected to represent Argentina in the Bologna Book Fair.  His favourite technique is collage: I use collage because it is the most efficient way of transferring what I think, the metaphor that the collage contains is … direct and less noisy. 

HCAA Jury Comments:

Pablo Bernasconi has great design and an inventive use of materials that combines to create adventurous books that you can dive into and read and play within.  Ideas, visual jokes, and simple fun make this artist very popular with child readers.


Linda Wolfsgruber

Linda Wolfsgruber was born 1961 in Bruneck, South Tyrol and currently lives in Vienna. She attended art college in St. Ulrich in Gröden (Italy) and subsequently completed her training in typesetting in Munich (Germany) and in graphic design in Bruneck in 1980. After her professional training she studied at the Scuola del Libro in Urbino (Italy) from 1981 to 1983 and then started to work as a freelancing illustrator and graphic designer in Bruneck and Vienna. She has been teaching at the Scuola d’illusstrazione di Sarmede since 1996 and designs covers for books and CDs as well as making illustrations for newspapers and magazines such as Die Zeit. She uses mixed media methods including drawing (in charcoal or colour pencil), painting (in acrylic, tea or alternative materials), spraying paint on paper, cutting out, gluing and crafting miniatures. In Wie war das am Anfang? (How was it in the beginning? 2009), illustrations are assembled on several levels of transparent paper.

Other important works include Daisy ist ein Gänseblümchen (Daisy is a daisy – except when it is a girl’s name, 2009), Der Elefant und der Schmetterling (The elephant and the butterfly, 2013), Arche (Ark, 2013) and The Camel in the Sun (2014). She has travelled widely, including extended stays in Nairobi and Teheran, describing herself as: a collector of impressions. Her books have won several Austrian Children and Juvenile Book Awards, as well as several Children and Juvenile Book Awards of the City of Vienna. 

HCAA Jury Comments:

Her every text elicits an original response from this extraordinarily gifted artist who never repeats herself. Collage, drawing, painting, and a deep understanding of how to make page and story come alive are the tools of this master of technique and storytelling.



Xiong Liang

The pioneering Chinese illustrator Xiong Liang was born 1975 in Jiaxing, a small city in southern China. From a very young age he began his study of traditional Chinese ink and brush painting. He is completely self-taught and studied classic works of art and literature from China and the rest of the world. Brought up in a household of diverse religious backgrounds, his art incorporates a variety of cultures and visual styles, and has always been able to work within a wealth of unconventional, interesting “alternative” influences. His singular personality and upbringing have given him an unconventional imagination, and enabled him to create one captivating work of illustration after another.

His creations span a diverse variety of genres, including novels, children’s books, plays, modern ink brush painting and works of illustration for adults. His first illustrated children’s book was The Little Stone Lion in 2007. He has since illustrated a three-book collection of nursery rhymes and games, Children at Large (2013) and several books where nature, weather and the seasons play a powerful role, The Solar Terms (2015), Monster of the Monsoon (2015) and Wandering with the Wind (2016). Xiong Liang himself has said: Writing and illustration are the work of a lifetime, and a work of unsurpassed beauty! Both are always fresh, always brimming with imagination. They are never held back by convention, always ready to listen and to exchange ideas. They build understanding between all people, between all groups and cultures, and even between all the living creatures on our planet. 

HCAA Jury Comments:

Xiong Liang, both modern and traditional, this artist is deeply connected to his roots and yet universal in his use of art as a storytelling medium.  Images tell the story, convey emotion, and suffuse this art that is both abstract and highly evocative.


Iwona Chmielewska

Iwona Chmielewska (born 1960 in Pabianice) studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, graduating from the Printmaking Department in 1984. At the beginning of her career, she illustrated children’s classics such as The Secret Garden be Frances Hodges Burnett and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, as well as Polish poetry. The turning point in her career came in 2003, when her books were published in South Korea. After publishing over 20 books, she was well known in Asia but hardly known in Poland. In 2011, Blumka’s Tagebuch (Blumka’s diary), originally published in Germany, was published in Poland as Pamiętnik Blumki. The book was loved by both readers and critics and she began to enjoy wide recognition in her own country. She had won the BIB Golden Apple in 2007 for the book Thinking ABC (2006) a book for Korean children learning the English alphabet. She won the Bologna Ragazzi Award twice for Korean books, in 2011 for A House of the Mind: Maum by Kim Hee-KyungeHH and in 2013 for Eyes. Thus far, she has published over 40 books, cooperating with authors and publishing houses in Poland and abroad. Her style has been described as subtle and melancholic. She often uses pencils, crayons; she cuts out pieces from old notebooks and journals and embroiders with one colour. Her drawings are clear, sometimes slightly naïve, realistic but poetic, always neat and studious. She leaves a lot of empty space in her illustrations and often uses blue, which reflects the spiritual and melancholic character of many of the books she has illustrated.

HCAA Jury Comments:

Iwona Chmielewska shows a remarkable ability to combine text and illustration to express philosophical ideas that encourage readers to look and think deeply. With a truly international career that began in Korea she is one of the most sophisticated creators of books for children working today.


Igor Oleynikov

Igor Oleynikov (born 1953 in Lyubertsy near Moscow) is a painter and illustrator. He began drawing as a child but studied at the Institute of Chemical Engineering; after six years of study he worked for three years as an engineer. In 1979 he began working as an artist at the animation studio, Soyuzmultfilm and later at the Christmas Film Studios. In 1986 he began working as an illustrator for children’s periodicals and on book projects. He is very prolific and his illustrations are very dynamic with unusual characters, often rendered like cinema shots. He prefers to paint with gouache and work with textures.

He has illustrated more than 80 books for children and young adults, including many classic fairy tales and works of children’s literature. Among these, Ballada o malen’kom buksire (The ballad of a little tugboat, 2011) by Joseph Brodsky was included in the 2012 IBBY Honour List. Other important titles include Mahalia Mouse goes to College (2007) by John Lithgow and Fairy Tales (2016) by Alexander Pushkin. In addition to numerous exhibitions in Russia, he has exhibited at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2004 and 2009 and at the BIB in 2003 and 2005.

I use everything that comes to hand: broom, rags … as long as the idea is implemented expressively. For me the biggest compliment of the reader could be a surprised shout “Ah!” when he opens a book with my illustrations.

HCAA Jury Comments:

Igor Oleynikov is a master of design and creates rich, beautifully designed books that are deeply rooted in Russian tradition and yet entirely new. He is able to communicate with the traditional texts he tends to illustrate but also to challenge them in art that is sophisticated, expressive, alive, courageous and filled with deep feeling.



Albertine was born in 1967 in Dardagny, near Geneva. She studied at the École des arts décoratifs and the École supérieure d’art visuel in Geneva.  She obtained her diploma in 1990 and opened a screen-printing workshop in the same year. She became a press illustrator a year later and in 1996 she married the writer Germano Zullo. Their many joint children’s publications have received several awards, including: BIB Golden Apple in 1999 for Marta et la bicyclette (Marta and the bicycle); Prix Suisse Jeunesse et Médias in 2009; Prix Sorcières in 2011 and New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book in 2012. Her drawings are lively and full of humour using a very fine line and often bright and cheerful colours. Her natural spontaneity appears throughout her works, but with a sense of detail, an infinite precision, a relevance, as well as a sense of humour. She gives every image different layers, which, in turn, offer the reader several levels of interpretation. She has exhibited her drawings, screen prints, lithographic works, wood engravings, objects and notebooks in Geneva, Paris, Rome, Valencia and Tokyo. Among her most important books for children are the titles: La rumeur de Venise (The Venice rumour, 2009), which was selected for the 2010 IBBY Honour List, Les Oiseaux (Little bird, 2011), Les Gratte-Ciel (Sky high, 2011) and Ligne 135 (Line 135, 2012). Her book, Mon tout petit (My little one, 2015), an endless embrace between mother and child that unwinds in a flipbook, was selected for the 2016 IBBY Honour List, it won the 2016 Bologna Ragazzi Award for Fiction and won the Green Island Award at the Nami Island Concours in 2017.

It is thought that drawing is something simple, random, although it entails reflection, perspective, ten drafts, three attempts, two retouches ... It is back-breaking, twelve hours a day … a total commitment of body and consciousness.

HCAA Jury Comments:

Albertine exemplifies exuberance, joy and attention to her small readers. Child friendly and close to the heart, she employs sophisticated, elegant and abstract drawing in ways that are humorous, story telling and immediately accessible to children, while offering lots of room for further exploration.