V&A Illustration Awards

The V&A Illustration Awards have provided a platform for exemplary British illustration for 50 years. They now run biennially, with the next competition opening in October 2023.

Free to enter, the V&A Illustration Awards celebrate excellence in student illustration and contemporary practice. Each of four winners receives £3,000 and their work features in a display in the V&A. An overall winner is named the Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year, receives an additional £5,000 and their artwork enters the V&A's collection, joining work by renowned artists such as Aubrey Beardsley, Sir John Tenniel, E.H. Shepard, Quentin Blake and Posy Simmonds.

We are rethinking the Award to better reflect the wider illustration industry. Look out for our survey appearing here soon, or to be kept up to date with Illustration Awards news sign up to our email updates below.

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

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The 2022 Award Winners

The 2022 Award Winners

For our 50th anniversary year, we received a record 1,440 entries. These span a broad range of illustration styles and subjects, from the tragedies and challenges of the past two years to the stories which have comforted us.

The 2022 winners were selected by a judging panel of illustrators Dapo Adeola, Ann Kiernan, Axel Scheffler and Posy Simmonds, chaired by V&A Director Tristram Hunt.

Award winners and the student winner, runner-up and highly commended entries, will feature in a display of digital prints in the V&A South Kensington galleries 20 July 2022 – 9 October 2022.

Winner of the Book Illustration Award and Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year

Gérard DuBois, The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Published by Folio Society, 2021

Gérard DuBois, The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Published by Folio Society, 2021
Gérard DuBois, The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Published by Folio Society, 2021

Based on Cormac McCarthy's The Road, the work depicts a man and boy making a harrowing journey through post-apocalyptic America, inching towards the sea in the hope of salvation. In Gérard DuBois' stunning illustrations, striking moments of tenderness between father and son provide bright spots amidst the desolation. Judge Posy Simmonds described the works as 'magnificent, rich, poignant and melancholic'.

Runner-up of the Book Illustration category

Luisa Jung, Brain Fables: The Hidden History of Neurodegenerative Diseases and a Blueprint to Conquer Them by Alberto Espay and Benjamin Stecher. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2020

Luisa Jung, Brain Fables: The Hidden History of Neurodegenerative Diseases and a Blueprint to Conquer Them by Alberto Espay and Benjamin Stecher
Luisa Jung, Brain Fables: The Hidden History of Neurodegenerative Diseases and a Blueprint to Conquer Them by Alberto Espay and Benjamin Stecher. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2020

Book Illustration Award shortlist

  • Kate Leiper: The Queen of the Birds by Karine Polwart. Published by Folio Birlinn Books, 2021
  • Georgie McAusland: Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. Published by Batsford Books, 2021
  • Laura Merz: 1,001 Creatures by Aino Järvinen. Published by Restless Books, 2020. Originally published as Tuhat ja yksi otusta by Etana Editions
  • Chris Ofili: Greek Myths by Charlotte Higgins. Published by Jonathan Cape, 2021
  • Neil Packer: One of a Kind by Neil Packer. Published by Walker Studio, 2020
  • Hannah Peck: Kate on the Case by Hannah Peck. Published by Piccadilly Press, 2021
  • Jenny Robins: Biscuits (Assorted) by Jenny Robins. Published by Myriad Editions, 2020
  • Natsko Seki: Broadway Market: A Celebration of Multicultural Independent Shops in London. Published by Design for Today, 2020

Winner of the Book Cover Award

Kerry Hyndman, The Rich House by Stella Gibbons. Published by Penguin, 2021

Kerry Hyndman, The Rich House by Stella Gibbons
Kerry Hyndman, The Rich House by Stella Gibbons. Published by Penguin, 2021

Kerry Hyndman's work is primarily digital, incorporating hand drawn textures and layers to the image to add depth and detail. Observed from a clifftop, three women stroll across a beach. The encroaching sea and hovering seagull, and their footprints and shadows, suggest the setting of Gibbons' novel – a seaside resort on the eve of World War Two – and its story of intertwined relationships. The judges praised Hyndman's eye-catching composition and beautiful draughtmanship.

Runner-up of Book Cover category

Lela Harris, The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Published by Folio Society, 2021

Lela Harris, The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Lela Harris, The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Published by Folio Society, 2021

Book Cover Award shortlist

  • Owen Davey: Curious About Crocodiles by Owen Davey. Published by Flying Eye, 2021
  • Sally Dunne: Crooked House by Agatha Christie. Published by Folio Society, 2021
  • Daniel Dzonu-Clarke: The Dancing Face by Mike Phillips. Published by Penguin, 2021
  • Joe McLaren: The Way Under Our Feet by Graham B. Usher. Published by SPCK, 2020

Winner of Illustrated Journalism Award

James Albon, 'Tiktok' by La ZEP, in Libération, 2021

James Albon, ‘Tiktok’ by La ZEP, in Libération
James Albon, 'Tiktok' by La ZEP, in Libération, 2021

James Albon's illustration accompanied an article, written by young people, speaking to their first-hand experiences of the social media platform Tiktok, especially its hypnotic and negative effects on their self-image and mental health. The hypnotizing effect of social media is destabilizing Albon's image: entranced by their phone, the figure's eyes swirl, as do their hair, clothes and bedding. The eerie nocturnal scene is created with a blue and yellow palette, working in watercolour and gouache. The judges praised the humour and energy of the work.

Runner-up of Illustrated Journalism category

Alexis Tsegba, 'The price of having black hair in a white world' by Tamara Gilkes Borr, in The Economist's 1843 Magazine, 2021

Alexis Tsegba, ‘The price of having black hair in a white world’ by Tamara Gilkes Borr, in The Economist’s 1843 Magazine
Alexis Tsegba, ‘The price of having black hair in a white world’ by Tamara Gilkes Borr, in The Economist’s 1843 Magazine, 2021

Illustrated Journalism Award shortlist

  • Ellie Foreman-Peck: 'Boris Johnson must make the security of women a national priority', in The Financial Times, 2021
  • Ben Jones: 'Behind the Times', in History Today Magazine, 2020
  • Jennifer N.R. Smith: 'The Gender Pain Gap' by Elinor Cleghorn, in BBC History Magazine, 2021
  • Mark Smith: 'She Has A Name' by Louise Farr, in Alta Journal, 2021

Student Illustrator of the Year

Kate Rolfe, Navigating Dyslexia. Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge School of Art)

Kate Rolfe, Navigating Dyslexia.
Kate Rolfe, Navigating Dyslexia. Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge School of Art)

In Kate Rolfe's work, letterpress characters form impenetrable forests, tumble from books and pile high in an overwhelming wave of anxiety. Based on her personal experience, Navigating Dyslexia combines cyanotype and letterpress processes to communicate the nuanced experience of a person with dyslexia. The judges praised its humour, simplicity and ingenuity. Using traditional printmaking in a non-conventional manner allows Rolfe to ask important questions in an accessible and engaging fashion.

Student Runner-up

Chenyue Yuan, Pearl’s Daughters. Royal College of Art

Chenyue Yuan, Pearl’s Daughters.
Chenyue Yuan, Pearl’s Daughters. Royal College of Art

Highly commended in the Student Illustration category

Jessica Ciccolone, Five Puffins in Antarctica. Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge School of Art)

Jessica Ciccolone, Five Puffins in Antarctica.
Jessica Ciccolone, Five Puffins in Antarctica. Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge School of Art)

Highly commended in the Student Illustration category

Klara Bianka Gryglicka, My Summer | Visual Diary. Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge School of Art)

Klara Bianka Gryglicka, My Summer | Visual Diary.
Klara Bianka Gryglicka, My Summer | Visual Diary. Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge School of Art)

Highly commended in the Student Illustration category

Yehyeon Yu, My Answer Sheet. Kingston University

Yehyeon Yu, My Answer Sheet.
Yehyeon Yu, My Answer Sheet. Kingston University

Student Illustrator of the Year 2022 shortlist

  • Sarah Edge, My cancer scars map the pain of animals held in research labs. Falmouth University
  • Amy Hunter, Sea Fever. Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge School of Art)
  • Jiatong Liu, Blue Things. Kingston University
  • Leo Ioviero, ‘waiting’. University for the Creative Arts (Farnham)
  • Sara Parodi, How Many Times? Falmouth University
  • Billy Partridge, Jabberwocky. Leeds Arts University
  • Amy Sutton, The Chip Eaters of Falmouth. Falmouth University

Contact: villa@vam.ac.uk

History of the awards

History of the awards

The V&A has been running an illustration competition since 1972 when the Francis Williams Awards were presented for the best illustrated books. In 2004 new categories were introduced for Book Cover Design and for Editorial Illustration, covering illustration in newspapers, magazines and comics. Editorial Illustration has recently been renamed Illustrated Journalism. The student category was created in 2005, with a runner-up prize introduced in 2009.

View a selection of winning works 1972 – present

Blog

Blog

The V&A Illustration Awards blog brings you the latest updates throughout the year including the shortlist and winner announcements. You can also hear from our previous winners and receive words of advice from former judges.

Email updates

Background image: Student Illustrator of the Year 2019 shortlist – Harry Woodgate for Invisible Cities (University of Hertfordshire)