BEST OF THE BEST: TOP 5 Illustration Award Editorial winners

Word and Image
November 2, 2015

With limited page space and tight commission deadlines, the editorial illustrator must demonstrate the flare and imagination to sum up complex ideas quickly.

Here we list – in no particular order – 5 of our favourite winners of the V&A Illustration Awards Editorial category. 24 artists have won the prize since its inception in 1988. But these 5, we think, are the Best of the Best.

Richard Parent Chernobyl 1988









(1) 1988 WINNER – Richard Parent, “The Chernobyl Effect”, New Scientist,  April 1987

Summoning art-historical precedents from pre-historic cave-paintings to Edvard Munch’s The Scream, Richard Parent’s cover is a gut-wrenching statement of the horrors of the nuclear fallout at Chernobyl. For the 1988 judges, it reinforced the idea that an editorial illustration can give visual form to key events that shape society and alter the course of history.  Image © Richard Parent.    See Richard Parent’s portfolio


(2) 2012 WINNER – Nick Lowndes “Small Business”, Financial Times, July 2011

Relying on a single image to convey complex ideas, the very best illustrators will employ the use of symbolism and metaphor to state their case eloquently and succinctly. Nick Lowndes’s illustration on the challenge of running a small business against big multi-national competition is simple, eye-catching and straight to the point. Image © Nick Lowndes. See

Angela Hogg First fold your protein 1995 - Copy

(3) 1995 WINNER – Angela Hogg “First fold your protein”, New Scientist,  December 1994

Where the subject-matter is academic, specialist or just plain tedious, the illustrator’s sense of humour can make a technical article accessible and appealing to an otherwise uninterested audience. Angela Hogg playfully drew on Victorian Literary cliché to enliven this medical article about unhealthy proteins in the body.  Image © Angela Hogg. See

2007 Winner Editorial Brett Ryder Looking for the Next Fix

(4) 2007 WINNER – Brett Ryder “Looking for the next fix“, Daily Telegraph Magazine, February 2007

Brett Ryder’s illustration accompanied an article in the Daily Telegraph (“Looking for the next fix“) on cosmetic surgery and its potential addictive effects. He drew on the idea of cut-out photoboards, a staple of the British sea-side holiday, and adapted the concept to brilliant satirical effect. His illustrator’s flare for making us see the familiar in new ways won him the 2007 Editorial category award. Image © Brett Ryder. Read Brett Ryder’s Bio

2013 Winner Editorial George Butler Syria

(5) 2013 WINNER – George ButlerSyria, point of no return“, The Guardian G2, August 2012

Like all great artists, the very best illustrators are truth tellers. George Butler’s sketches were the very first images of Syria made available to Western audiences. Without a local guide, a press pass or even a firm grasp of the language, the intrepid Butler travelled on foot from the Turkish boarder. Then, on a burnt-out street in the small village of Azaz, he hastily sketched out a number of street scenes that capture the sense of everyday life among people soldering on, despite the horrors of war, devastation and loss. Image © George Butler. Follow George Butler

VILLA logo blogCould you be one of the best of the best? Entry to the 2016 competition is now open!

Deadline for entry submission – Thursday 10 December 2015.

2016 Awards Ceremony at the V&A – Monday 23 May 2016.

The judges’ decision is final. Artwork by previous winners is held in the Library at the V&A.


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