How to… Make your Illustration Award entry stand out from the crowd

Word and Image
October 10, 2023
Yanyin Xu, detail from One by One, V&A Illustration Awards runner up 2019 (Student) © Yanyin Xu

The V&A Illustration Awards 2024 are closed for entries. Judging is now taking place and announcements on the Awards’ judges and this year’s shortlisted items will appear on our website soon.

**This is is an old blog post and entries are now closed. We have had a great response. Thank you to everyone who has entered and we wish you the best of luck!**

The V&A Illustration Awards 2024 are now open and we are looking forward to seeing this year’s entries! The awards are free to enter here and you can find information about the competition categories in our FAQs. We are expecting A LOT of entries and the following hints and tips will help yours stand out from the crowd. 

Kate Rolfe, Navigating Dyslexia, Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge School of Art). V&A Illustration Awards winner 2022 (Student Illustrator of the Year) © Kate Rolfe

Brief Descriptions: 

As part of your entry, you will be asked for a brief description of each project that you submit. Our judges will be reading hundreds of these, so brief means exactly that! Descriptions are read alongside the images and should give context and insight into your process. Do not just describe the pictures.

Descriptions should: 

  • Describe the product or story in as few words as possible
  • Explain the brief, audience and purpose 
  • *Most important* describe how you approached the idea 
  • Briefly describe your artwork (materials and technique) 
  • Stick to key points and stay within advised word limits.  
  • If you are submitting an animation (see below) please let us know the overall length of the film 
Luisa Jung, Detail from Brain Fables, by Alberto Espay and Benjamin Stecher, published by Cambridge University Press. V&A Illustration Awards runner up 2022 (Book Illustration) © Luisa Jung /Cambridge University press


For each entry you will add images. We accept all standard digital file types. Put your most striking image first. This is what the judges will see before clicking into your full entry and should grab their attention. You can play with the order of images using the arrows at the top of the file tiles.


Because of the volume of entries, our judges can only view up to one minute (or less) of video at the short-listing stage. You can either upload this directly into the entry platform or give us a link to your hosting site. If your link is to a film that is longer than this, then please let us know which minute you want us to watch! Otherwise, our judges will watch for one minute from the beginning.

You can also add up to five still images. That is your chance to show us anything that you think is missing from the shorter reel. 

Remember – Image 1 is seen first – make it your best.

Frazer Hudson, All The World is a Stage, by Paul Laidler, Published by Beneficial Shock! Ltd. V&A Illustrations Award entry 2022 © Frazer Hudson/Beneficial Shock! Ltd


  • DO Describe the project 
  • DO Describe your approach 
  • DO Be brief. Stick to key points. 
  • DO Put your best image first 


  • DON’T Just describe your images
  • DON’T Overdo it. Stay within word limits. 
  • DON’T Use the same image more than once

You can save, review and edit entries before submitting, so take some time to present your work at its best. You have until 23:59 GMT, Friday 5 January 2024. Good luck and we look forward to seeing your entries!

Sign-up to our emails to hear when the shortlist is announced by Summer 2024, or keep an eye out on the website. The winners will be contacted by September 2024.

The Awards are generously supported by the Linder Foundation and the Moira Gemmell Memorial fund.



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