World Illustration Awards: interview with WIA2018 category winner Esther Goh

We interviewed Esther Goh, about the impact on her illustration career of winning the WIA2018 Professional Editorial Category sponsored by Eye Magazine.

Esther is a Singapore-based illustrator and art director whose work has been recognised and published internationally. Since beginning her career in illustration, she has collaborated with renowned brands such as Adobe, Facebook, Volkswagen, Shell, Esquire and Chanel.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your practice as an illustrator?


I graduated from design school and started out as a digital designer with a local agency for a few years before taking the plunge to do illustration full time. This would be my 5th year and it’s been quite a journey. Though my illustrations are purely digital, I’m always interested in exploring projects that allow my work to exist in different forms. So far, I’ve been lucky to have collaborated with different brands to create a festival key visual, a comic book, illustrations for luxury apparels, 3D window displays, book covers, packaging design and so on. At this point in my career I think it’s also good to be selective about clients, whether we’re a good fit in terms of creative direction and expectations, as doing so helps me focus on creating work that we’re both happy with.

Can you explain a bit about the work you entered into the WIA2018 Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
The piece that won is Emojiworld, an illustration for EYEYAH!, a magazine that aims to inspire creativity and improve observational and thinking skills in kids. Lots of us incorporate emojis in our text messages and I was intrigued by how they can tell a story when used together. The idea was to create a visual of a theme park using as many emojis as possible – I really went to town on it – and the result was chaotic and fun. It was one of the projects where I was given total creative freedom and despite the tedious process of tweaking the composition and getting the details right, I love how it turned out.

How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?


Winning an Award was definitely a boost to my creative confidence; I’m thankful to the AOI for the complimentary membership and the publicity my illustration has gotten across online platforms and social media. The recognition has also brought a more international audience to my portfolio and it pushes me to work harder to produce better work.

What would your advice be for illustrators who might be thinking about entering this year’s Awards?


I think it’s important to select your best pieces with a good combination of concept and craft. It could even be something fresh and experimental, especially if it showcases your unique style and helps communicate your ideas. You should take care not to submit your work under the wrong category – I’ve made this mistake myself. If unsure it’s best to check with the organisers because you don’t want your work to be overlooked for the wrong reasons

Can you tell us about any forthcoming projects or future plans?
I’m currently doing research for a potential graphic novel, learning new software skills and plan to spend more time this year developing my style and making long overdue personal projects happen!

The World Illustration Awards 2019 in partnership with Directory of Illustration are open for entries until 31 January 2019.

Find out more and enter


8th January 2019
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