Norwich artist shortlisted for Waterstone’s illustration competition

A Norwich artist has been shortlisted to illustrate a fairytale which is being rewritten by a bestselling children's author.

Matt Robertson's drawings of Beauty and the Beast were picked from hundreds of entries to feature in Michael Morpurgo's book. The 29-year-old, who lives in Rosebery Road said: 'I heard about the competition through a friend. The closing date for entries was in June and I found out I was through in mid-July. It's a lot of work and it's a lot to deal with at the moment as my dad died last week, so it's a hard time to do this.'

The seven finalists now have to provide full colour artwork for two more pages and sketches for the remainder of the book.

As Mr Robertson did not find out about the Picture This competition, which is run by Waterstone's, until after it had launched, he had just two weeks to create and submit his drawings. He made three drawings of Beauty, the Beast and Beauty's father using brush pens and watercolours.

He said: 'I wanted to give it a Sixties feel. I'm a big fan of Mad Men and thought it would be quite cool to put the beast in a blue suit.

'I did loads of drawings and chose from the best. So much work goes behind each picture.

'I wasn't very pleased with them and when they phoned me to tell me I was shortlisted I was surprised.'

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Mr Robertson was inspired by the illustrator David Roberts, who focuses on time periods such as putting Rapunzel into the Seventies. He also took inspiration from Sixties cartoons. Mr Robertson, who works part time as a barister, plans to go to Anglia Ruskin university this year to study an MA in Children's book illustration. Art runs in the family as his dad was a designer and his brother is a painter.

He said: 'It would be nice to win. It's difficult and the competition is very high.

'Everyone's work is very different and I don't know what the judges are looking for but it's good for my personal career.'

The winner will be announced in October. They will receive a �6,000 contract and see their work illustrate Michael Morpurgo's words when the book is published next year.

Have you been shortlisted for a national competition? Contact reporter Lucy Wright on 01603 772495 or email