WIA2020 Curated Highlights: Illustration for Self-Promotion, curated by Directory of Illustration

WIA2020 delivery partners Directory of Illustration specialise in helping illustrators get the best out of their self-promotion. DI President Elizabeth Owen has curated her highlights from the WIA2020 shortlist of projects created specifically for the purpose of self-promotion or portfolio development.

This self-initiated work is often an important part of an illustrator’s professional and creative development, offering the opportunity to develop a creative voice, a signature style, or to help make a move from one sector of the illustration industry to another.

The World Illustration Awards 2020 Shortlist features 200 hundred projects by New Talent and Professional illustrators from all over the world organised within 10 industry relevant categories.

If you would like to learn more about a project, click on the title or image to see the full entry.

Anna Rupprecht : The Cut

What would it be like to be free of self-doubt? For this artist, it’s flowers, horses and beauty. Anna takes on the fear and questioning that every creative person experiences. The honesty of this piece is what makes it so effective.

Elizabeth Owen

Anna is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Berlin, Germany. Since graduating in summer 2019 she has worked as a freelancer for clients such as Netflix, New Yorker Magazine and Eye On Design Magazine.

Social Media:
facebook.com/Anna Rupprecht

Personal Website:

Evie Zhu : The River

Going overhead, the color palette and dense feeling help focus us on the character floating peacefully down the river. Evie makes a cinematic choice here. It’s as if a camera was flying over the forest and captured the moment just as the river traveller was floating by. Perfect timing.

Elizabeth Owen

Evie Zhu is originally from Nanjing, China. She is currently studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art, USA, as a graduate student in illustration.

Social Media:
facebook.com/Evie Zhu

Personal Website:


This captures the exact feeling I have when our dog commands attention. Even if I’m doing something solitary, like reading, her appearance changes everything. An illustration like this will always bring a smile – and that’s the hallmark of Iker’s work.

Elizabeth Owen

Iker Ayestaran is based in Spain. He specialises in digital, gouache and graphic art. Represented by Synergy Art and Shannon Associates, his clients include: The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, The New York Times, Fortune, Variety, Penguin Books and The Economist.

Social Media:

Personal Website:

Jessica Hannigan : After Party

This series takes almost everything I know about art and distorts it. In a good way. The strange angles and lack of focal point don’t offend at all. They make me applaud instead. I know art directors will want to work with bold artists like Jessica.

Elizabeth Owen

Jessica grew up in Ontario, Canada. She recently graduated from the Honours Bachelor of Illustration program at Sheridan College, Canada.

Social Media:

Personal Website:

Young Lee : Sunday Afternoon

It’s great when art can make you relax. I’m ready to grab a cup of coffee, a book, and find that perfect spot.

Elizabeth Owen

Young Lee is a freelance illustrator based in Seoul, Korea. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Design at Washington University, USA.

Social Media:

Personal Website:

Jacques Kleynhans : Zeb and the Bungle Bee of Death

So clever! This interactive game is the perfect way for Jacques to show off his conceptual talent, bold style and design skills all at once. It really drew me in and made me want to examine the meaning behind each character and icon.

Elizabeth Owen

Jacques Kleynhans is an illustrator and graphic designer born in The Free State, South Africa. Recently he has settled on illustration as a full-time passion and profession, and works alongside his wife between South Africa and The Netherlands.

Social Media:

Personal Website:

Liam Eisenberg : Wimbledon

Liam makes bold choices here. The figure fills the frame with oversized body parts. The shadows of the racket strings bend around a leg. And because there are so few colors, each one comes through with real power.

Elizabeth Owen

Liam Eisenberg is an illustrator based in New Jersey, USA. He is a graduate of Montclair State University (BFA Illustration/Animation), 2017 and School of Visual Arts (MFA Illustration), 2019.

Social Media:

Personal Website:

Mary Flora Hart : Flora

Art directors want to see consistency in a portfolio and one of the most effective ways an artist can demonstrate that is through series work.  Mary’s five great pieces work together to show her ability to elevate a concept in a fresh way.

The Ring-Tailed Lemur at the turntable is my favourite, with clever little details like the power strip in the middle of the jungle.

Elizabeth Owen

Mary Flora Hart is London born illustrator. She recently graduated from Arts University Bournemouth. 

Social Media:

Personal Website:

Rafael Lanfranco : Netfix

There’s no ambiguity here. As someone who admittedly uses television as a narcotic, I understand this immediately. The best editorial pieces present a strong point of view.

Elizabeth Owen

Rafael is a self-taught artist, sculptor, digital and traditional illustrator, and painter from Lima, Peru.

Social Media:

Personal Website:

Jia Liu : Grow Through Reading

Jia illustrates a point of view that is easily understood. This is the type of art that a commissioner is looking for.

Elizabeth Owen

Jia Liu is originally from China, and is now based in the USA. She graduated from the Illustration Practice MFA at MICA, and has since worked as a children’s book illustrator. Jia Liu is represented by Painted Words Agency.

Social Media:
facebook.com/Jia Liu Illustration

Personal Website:

Ruby Sgueglia : A Disappearance

Big strokes and big colors make a big statement. By minimizing the detail, Ruby’s image takes on a sculptured feel. Everything has shape and weight in this strong work.

Elizabeth Owen

Ruby Sgueglia is a New York native illustrator. She graduated with her BFA from Parsons the New School for Design in May 2020.

Social Media:

Personal Website:

Yining Li : Thank You For Coming My World

I can’t help but think of the term “Deep Dive” when I see this. It’s a deep dive into the artist’s concept, thought process and talent.

Elizabeth Owen

Yining Li is a US-based illustrator.

Social Media:

Personal Website:

If you enjoyed these highlights, why not explore the full WIA2020 shortlist, for more inspiration!

7th September 2020

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