Open daily 10.00 to 17.45 Admission free Menu

Supported by the Enid Linder Foundation

The V&A Illustration Awards celebrate the best illustration published over the last year. Original artwork from the best illustrated book, book cover, editorial illustration and student illustrator of the year are recognised.

Published Category

Sarah Carr, illustration to 'How to Drink' by Victoria Moore, published by Granta Books, London, 2009

Sarah Carr, illustration to 'How to Drink' by Victoria Moore, published by Granta Books, London, 2009

Book Illustration Award & Overall Winner

Sarah Carr

Sarah Carr’s innovative and complete use of letterpress printing to form the illustrations of How to Drink immediately caught the judges’ attention. The fact that only two colours are used throughout, and the stylised look of the illustrations in addition to the quality of the paper, kept bringing them back to touch and engage with the book. It was described as a ‘friendly book’.

Carr took inspiration from the work of the Dutch artist and typographer H.N. Werkman:

‘I tried to create images by abstracting the letter-forms. The textured quality achieved in woodblock printing gives character and warmth to the print, which helps the illustrations feel lively and animated.’

Carr graduated with a BA Honours degree in Graphic Design from Kingston University in 2003. She currently works within a small team of multi-disciplinary designers at Here Design agency based in east London. She has worked for a variety of design studios dealing with clients such as Waitrose, Green & Black’s, Fortnum & Mason, Nude, and We Are What We Do.

Marion Deuchars cover illustration to 'Burmese Days' by George Orwell, published by Penguin Books, London, 2009.

Marion Deuchars, cover illustration to 'Burmese Days' by George Orwell, published by Penguin Books, London, 2009.

Book Cover Illustration Award

Marion Deuchars, cover to 'Burmese Days' by George Orwell

Published by Penguin Books, London, 2009

Marion Deuchars produced a range of cover illustrations for Penguin's recently republished series of Orwell titles. Her cover design for Burmese Days particularly impressed with its powerful composition and vibrant use of contrasting colours. She found the Cornell University Library: Windows on the Past digital archive provided a treasure trove of source material to achieve the photographic feel desired for the series:

'The image of the Madame jumped out…she was almost too perfect with her comical cigar, decadent and confident appearance'.

The artist created the cover's identity through a combination of collage and hand-painted elements. The large, imposing panel of predesigned typography that runs through the whole Penguin Modern Classics series is cleverly interwoven into the overall cover design. The cover also contains delicate elements such as the photo printed in pink to create the feel of a Burmese sunset.

Deuchars has worked with major design and advertising agencies worldwide. Clients include: Royal Mail, JP Morgan, Adidas, the Guardian, the Barbican, the Design Museum, Volkswagen, British Airways, Formula One and Harrods.

Visit Marion Deuchars' website

Matthew Richardson, 'Phantom Space Storms’, author Jon Cartwright, published in New Scientist, 11 December 2009.

Matthew Richardson, 'Phantom Space Storms’, author Jon Cartwright, published in New Scientist, 11 December 2009.

Editorial Illustration Award

Matthew Richardson, 'Phantom Space Storms'

Author Jon Cartright , New Scientist, published by Reed Business Information, 3 October 2009.

The winning Editorial category illustration accompanied a New Scientist article which explored the effects that storms in outer space have on the weather patterns within the Earth's atmosphere. The inspiring use of collage drew praise from the judges. They also commented on the powerful dynamics and unusual use of poetic imagery for an illustration found within a scientific journal.

Matthew Richardson studied Graphic Design at Middlesex University, Illustration at Central Saint Martins and more recently gained an MA in Fine Art at UWIC, Cardiff. He exhibits his work nationally and has won several awards from the Association of Illustrators. The artist is regularly asked to contribute editorial illustrations to the New Scientist for scientific concepts. He looks for an 'initial punch' within the subject matter but then concentrates on a thorough exploration into the hidden depths of the article. The idea for this piece draws on the vision of a mythical Greek god wreaking havoc on the Earth.

Visit Matthew Richardson's website

Student Category

Hanshen Gu, 'How Does Transport Destroy My Life?' Collage with mixed media.

Hanshen Gu, 'How Does Transport Destroy My Life?' Collage with mixed media.

Student Illustrator Award Winner

Hanshen Gu, 'How Does Transport Destroy My Life?'
Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London

Hanshen Gu lets his work develop in an organic way and takes delight in the random elements he produces. He tries to draw as much as possible, taking his sketchbook with him when out and about. Holding a degree in Graphic Design, he is currently studying for an MA in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins.

He explores the uneasy but dependent relationship we have with the machines we use to transport us everyday.

'Most parts of my work are chosen from my sketchbook. There are many illustrations in it relating to public transport … I try to express my feelings and emotions when I spend too much time on it.'

Student Award judges Graham Rawle and Slawa Harasymowicz said:

'Hanshen Gu's extraordinary images are imaginatively conceived and skillfully executed. His free and expansive thinking contrasts wonderfully with his compulsive attention to detail. Gu's highly individual unconscious thoughts seem to be let loose on the paper, ultimately fixed in position through strong compositional choices and his predilection for obsessive and mesmerizing pattern. He makes idiosyncratic personal statements through his clever and unexpected interplay between image and text. The consistently high standard throughout his prolific output of work is astounding.'

Visit Hansen Gu's blog

Frank Laws, 'Pink Towel', acrylic and ink on paper.

Frank Laws, 'Pink Towel', acrylic and ink on paper.

Student Illustrator Award Runner-Up

Frank Laws, 'Ongoing Project...'

Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London

Frank Laws graduated from Norwich School of Art and Design in 2007 and is currently studying for an MA in Illustration at Central Saint Martins. He likes to work in watercolour paints, drawing ink and acrylic on stretched watercolour paper, applying layer upon layer to obtain richness and depth. He also uses photographic reference sources to help capture his thoughts on chosen subjects:

'I like to involve the viewer in the world I portray, making them become the observer and create a sense of human life and activity without the need to show the human form.'

Judges of the Student Award, Graham Rawle and Slawa Harasymowicz said,

'Frank Laws' compelling paintings explore the anonymity of urban living through the prolonged meticulous study of neighbouring dwellings. Despite the relative proximity of the buildings and the intensity of his inquiry, clues about their occupants remain eerily scant. The blank vacancy of the rooms from which they're seen invites us to place ourselves as the viewer looking out onto his world. With a subject matter and working method that is very much his own, Frank Laws creates intensely personal images that are honest, intriguing and quietly unsettling.'

Visit Frank Laws' website

Shop online

Award-Winning British Design: 1957-1988

Award-Winning British Design: 1957-1988

In 1957 the UK Design Centre launched the first annual Designs of the Year Awards to identify and promote the very best of British design. For the nex…

Buy now

B.N. Goswamy - Matters of Detail: Indian painting seen from up close

Tue 12 January 2016, 18:30 – 19:30. Join Professor B.N. Goswamy, one of India’s most eminent art historians, as he reveals the exquisite detail of Indian paintings.

Free, book online

Event - V&A Illustration Awards 2016

Tue 24 May 2016–Sun 21 August 2016

DISPLAY: The V&A Illustration Awards are held annually to recognise the very best of book, editorial and student illustration in the UK.

Book online