Established in 1972, the V&A Illustration Awards are a stamp of approval many practitioners dream of achieving, and yesterday evening its 2019 winners were announced.
Spotlighting the work of both student and established illustrators, the awards have separate judging boards for both categories. The established, published illustrators awarded this year were chosen by Olivia Ahmad, curator at the House of Illustration and editor of Varoom magazine, chairman of the V&A Trustees Nicholas Coleridge and Condé Nast’s Jessica Voorsanger. The student awards were chosen by the creative director at Vintage, Penguin Random House Suzanne Dean, and last’s year’s Book Cover Winner, Cat O’Neill.
Picking up the prestigious Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year and Book Illustration prize was Nora Krug’s book, Heimat. A book which has already received several accolades including Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, Heimat is an illustrated memoir looking at her own family’s history under the Nazi regime in Germany.
The Illustration Journalism Award went to A.Richard Allen’s Experts. An editorial illustration created for a Sunday Telegraph article “My Lawyer was so bad I did the work myself”, judges felt the illustration enticed readers to read the piece it accompanied, saying: “The ‘Money’ section of a paper is notoriously difficult to make interesting, but this made you want to read the article -–even though the illustration actually told the whole story of the piece! Part of the difficulty of illustration is tricking the viewer into looking at the image for longer than a few seconds but this image kept your attention with all the clever details and directions.”
Illustrator Yehrin Tong received the Book Cover Design Award this year, selected for her jacket design of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. A cover design which features intricate drawings of nature and insects, judges felt her illustration “was so beautiful that you would be proud to be seen walking around with it and reading it.”
This year’s Student Illustrator of the year, and one to keep an eye on, is Sophie Burrows who is currently studying at Cambridge School of Art. Chosen for her piece Crushing, Sophie’s work is described by judges as “both darkly amusing and wryly observed.” This year’s runner up in the student category is Yanyin Xu from Camberwell College of Arts. Her commended piece, One by One is celebrated by judges for its “thoughtful and imaginative manipulation of traditional book formats”. Other highly commended students include Junli Song from Cambridge School of Art, Harry Woodgate from the University of Hertfordshire and Ying Wang from Camberwell too.
The winning entries are each on display at the V&A Illustration Awards exhibition, until 25 August 2019.
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.