V&A Illustration Awards – FAQs

When do the V&A Illustration Awards run and how often?
The Awards are now biennial. The next competition opens in October 2023. The deadline for entries is 23:59 GMT on 5 January 2024. Winners will be contacted by the summer of 2024, with prizes announced and awarded at a special event launching the display in September 2024.

Does it cost anything to enter?
The Awards are free to enter.

What period do the 2024 Awards cover?
The Awards cover work created (if entering the Emerging Illustrator category) or published in the period between 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2023.

How do I enter?
Entry to the V&A Illustration Awards takes place via the online competition platform in digital format only. Email and postal submissions cannot be considered.

What are the Award categories and what do they include?
There are five categories, four published and one for emerging illustrators and students:

Adult Fiction

  • Book and magazine illustration, including book covers of fiction, including poetry
  • Artists' books
  • Comics and graphic novels
  • Illustration applied to television, film and theatre, e.g. storyboards
  • Illustration for animations for fictional contexts

Adult Non-Fiction

  • Editorial illustration (in print or online), including reportage, case studies, features and reviews
  • Cartoons for newspapers and magazines (in print or online)
  • Artists' books and sequential illustrations for non-fiction contexts, including television and film
  • Illustration for animations for non-fiction contexts

Illustration for Children (for audiences under 16)

  • Book and magazine illustration (in print or online), including covers, picture books, pop-up books, fiction or non-fiction
  • Cartoons for newspapers and magazines (in print or online)
  • Sequential illustration, including comics and graphic novels
  • Illustration applied to television, film and theatre, e.g. storyboards
  • Illustration for animations

Advertising and Commercial

  • Original illustration (not adapted from other purposes) for packaging and products
  • Illustration for advertisements, including animated

Emerging Illustrator

The Emerging Illustrator competition is open to students who have attended a UK course in 2022 or 2023 and emerging and aspiring illustrators resident in the UK who are not yet commercially published or commissioned. The project submitted must not have been published or be commissioned for publication before the launch date of 12:00 GMT on 2 October 2023.

Is there a limit on the number of entries I can submit?
No, but work from the same project should form part of a single entry and cannot be entered to more than one category. If you are an illustrator who has had work published previously, you are not eligible to enter the Emerging Illustrator category.

Can I enter work in more than one category?
Yes, you will need to complete a new form for each separate project you enter. Work from the same project should form part of a single entry and cannot be entered to more than one category.

Can I enter self-published work?
All entries in the published categories must be available for purchase, including self-published work.

Who can enter?
Individuals can enter on their own behalf. Agents, publishers and tutors may enter on illustrators’ behalf but are responsible for ensuring the illustrator's consent and acceptance of the V&A Illustration Awards' terms and conditions, including copyright.

Who is eligible?
You must be aged 18 or above on 31 August 2023. The Awards cover work published, or created (Emerging Illustrator Category), in the period between 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2023.

The published awards are open to illustrators resident in the UK, and international illustrators working for UK clients.

The Emerging Illustrator competition is open to students who have attended a UK course in 2022 or 2023 and emerging and aspiring illustrators resident in the UK who are not yet commercially published or commissioned. The project submitted must not have been published or be commissioned for publication before the launch date of 12:00 GMT on 2 October 2023.

I am not an illustration student. Is the Emerging category only open to students of illustration?
No. The Emerging Illustrator category is open to any emerging and aspiring illustrators resident in the UK but not yet commercially published. Any student on a UK course in 2022 or 2023 can enter the competition. In the past we have had entries from students of illustration, graphic design or fine art, but also students of architecture, interior design and journalism.

I am not a UK citizen but am resident or studying in the UK. Can I enter?
Yes. The published awards are open to illustrators resident in the UK working for clients anywhere in the world. The Emerging Illustrator category is open to any emerging and aspiring illustrators resident in the UK.

I live abroad. Can I enter?
The published awards are open to illustrators resident anywhere in the world as long as they are working for UK clients. To enter the Emerging Illustrator award you need to be resident in the UK, or have attended a UK university course in 2022 or 2023.

What formats of artwork are eligible?
The Awards are open to illustrators and students of illustration working in any media, traditional and digital, but not AI (artificial intelligence). Note that entry to the V&A Illustration Awards is via the online competition platform, in digital format only. Guidance is provided through the competition platform. Also, look out for our How to Enter blog appearing on the V&A blog when we launch.

When do I hear if I have been successful?
You will receive confirmation that your entry has been received upon submission. Judging begins soon after the deadline of 23:59 GMT on 5 January 2024. If you are shortlisted, you will be contacted by email and if you are successful, you can expect to hear from us by summer 2024. Correspondence is by email, so make sure your contact details are correct when you submit your entries.

What are the prizes?
There is a winner and runner-up in each category. Five category winners each receive £3,000 and five runners-up each receive £750. 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. Selected artwork from each of the winners and runners-up will feature in a display in the V&A.

What happens to my copyright?
Rights remain with the holders, but entrants grant the Victoria and Albert Museum a non-exclusive licence to reproduce artwork for use in the V&A Illustration Awards display, web presence and printed media publicity. Any party submitting an entry (illustrator, agent, publisher or tutor) is responsible for contacting the copyright holder to ensure their consent to these terms.

What is the history of the Awards?
The V&A Illustration Awards have been running since 1972 when Ralph Steadman was a winner. Find out more about the history of the Awards.

How do I keep in touch with news about the V&A Illustration awards
Look out for the Awards launch or sign-up for updates.

Any personal data that is included as part of an entry will be used in accordance with the V&A's Privacy Notice. It is only visible to staff assigned to manage the competition.

Find out more about the V&A Illustration Awards

The V&A Illustration Awards are generously supported by The Linder Foundation and the Moira Gemmill Memorial fund.

Header image: Student Illustrator of the Year 2020, Kate Rolfe, Navigating Dyslexia. Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge School of Art)