V&A Illustration Awards

The V&A Illustration Awards were established in 1972 and have since become the UK’s most prestigious annual illustration competition. Free to enter, the Awards celebrate excellence in student illustration and three categories of contemporary practice: book cover design, book illustration and illustrated journalism.

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

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2020 Award winners

2020 Award winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Awards.

From imaginary worlds and fairy-tales to the difficult reality of life in a refugee camp, the winners of this year's awards demonstrate the versatility and breadth of contemporary illustration.

The winners are each awarded a £3,000 prize and trophy. The student runner-up receives £2,000 and trophy. Ann Kiernan has been awarded the Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year prize of an additional £5,000. All winners and highly commended students receive a certificate.

Thank you to all participating illustrators.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we have had to regrettably cancel the V&A Illustration Awards 2020 display and the 2021 competition.
The V&A Illustration Awards 2022 will open to entries later this year (date TBC).

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 – 2019



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.

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