Our Top 10 insights from past winners on how to make the most out of entering the World Illustration Awards!

There are many great reasons to enter the World Illustration Awards, from increased confidence, to more exposure, and even new clients or commissions.

We love catching up with illustrators and seeing how their careers develop after winning an Award. Here are our favourite pieces of advice from past winners – they’ve done it, and you can too!

1. Entering an illustration competition is a business decision – consider it an investment in your career

“Anyone who professes to be interested in illustration should consider their submissions to competitions and contests as business decisions. It’s not necessarily about winning. It’s more about an investment in your career as an artist. Take note on what the competition offers the winners and what kind of rewards you stand to receive if chosen. Ask yourself, ‘What can this do for my career as an artist?’.” – Tony Rodriguez, Professional Editorial Category Winner WIA2017

2. Submit the work you love and feel really good about – even if it’s not your most high-profile commission

“Don’t overthink it and don’t worry if the work isn’t for a big client – the piece I submitted in the end was a personal project I felt really passionate about – if you feel fired up by the work, go for it!” – Abi Langridge, aka PAPERFACE, SAA Agents Award for New Talent WIA2019

3. Choose your work and categories carefully to give yourself the best chance of success

“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…you don’t want your work to be overlooked for the wrong reasons.” – Esther Goh, Professional Editorial Category Winner WIA2018

4. You have to be in it to win it! 

“The most important piece of advice I can give is that you’ll never win if you don’t enter. Select your best work and get involved. Even if you don’t win it’s still a great opportunity to shout about your work, get it in front of people who matter, and promote yourself. On the other hand, if you win it’s an ever-greater opportunity to promote yourself, get noticed by new clients, and just solidify your reputation.” – Tim Easley, Professional Design Category Winner WIA2019

5. Don’t play it too safe

“The field of illustration is always growing and so are the ways in which illustration is done. This is reflected in the recently added awards categories site-specific illustration, exploration, and alternative publishing, making space for new and unusual ideas to be seen and celebrated. I would encourage artists who believe their work may not fit a conventional category to explore their options and to submit the work that excites you instead of playing safe.” – Astrid Jaekel, Professional Site Specific Category Winner WIA2019

6. Use the opportunity to look at your work objectively and focus your portfolio

“It’s really good to think about your work in this way, and it helps you focus your material and understand where your work sits in relation to others. I entered twice before (in 2015 and 2016) and was shortlisted both times, and that gave me a real boost and encouraged me to keep going.” – Carol Adlam, Professional Research Winner WIA2018

7. Be confident in your work and enjoy sharing it with the illustration industry

“Do it! I plan on entering again. It sounds cheesy but it really isn’t about winning, it’s more about having confidence in your work, sharing it with others and being a part of what’s being created in the industry right now.” – Claudine O’Sullivan, Professional Advertising Category Winner WIA2017

8. Keep experimenting and exploring new things to avoid creative blocks

“I think it’s important to remember that no matter what stage in your illustration career you are, you should always keep experimenting with your work and trying new things. This could be in the form of going to see new exhibitions or museums to help inspire a new project, trying a new medium of work, or drawing things from life. This will help you to keep your work fresh and inspired, and keeps the ugly creative-block-monster at bay!” – Bethan Woollvin, New Talent Children’s Books Category Winner WIA2017

9. Use your successes to keep motivated and increase your visibility

“Winning an award proved to me that my style and skill at this stage of my career are good. It will push me to be more competitive by filling in gaps in my CV and increasing my visibility. Also seeking out senior colleagues who will cheer for me help me build a strong support base. It is a good motivation to push me forward and keep on my way.” – Lin Chen, New Talent Editorial Category Winner WIA2019

10. Enjoy it and don’t give up

“Do what you enjoy. It’s very easy to see other illustrators and even friends pushing their work in a direction that works for them and gets them plenty of work, but you have to be true to what you enjoy doing. If you do what enjoy and create plenty of work then sooner or later it will get seen and someone may hire you create something similar.” – Thomas Paterson, AOI Members Award Winner WIA2019

The World Illustration Awards 2020 are open for entries until 18 February 2020! All the information you need is HERE

7th January 2020

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