Welcome to the WIA2021 showcase!

Explore the WIA2021 Shortlisted Projects through our curated displays and galleries of work in context, sketches, flipthroughs and much more.

Curated by the AOI Awards team, with guest features, find out how everything from personal stories to global events inform and inspire illustrators to create great illustration.

“The World Illustration Awards offer a brilliant platform to discover exciting new illustrators. The shortlist brings diverse talent from across the world together in one place. Illustrators at every career stage, from emerging to established are represented. The shortlist is a fantastic place to find global talent and in the face of recent challenges, now more than ever, it’s so important for the industry to connect illustrators with new clients and commissions.”

Ren Renwick, CEO, The AOI

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Winners in the spotlight!

Read insightful interviews with all our WIA2021 winners!

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Explore the WIA2021 showcase:

Image credit: Elisa Seitzinger

Illustrating COVID-19

The event that defined 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, is perhaps unsurprisingly, a defining theme of this year’s shortlist. From scientific illustrations explaining the nature of the virus, to work exploring the social and economic impact of this global challenge, illustrators responded with speed and creativity to visually document and explain unfolding events.

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Image credit: Anna Vasilieva

Bold Graphics

‘Deceptively Simple’ might be an alternative title for this curated selection! Using shape, line and colour, these illustrators use unashamedly bold, powerful, punchy visuals to draw us in and reward closer inspection with clever details and complexity.

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Image credit: Luisa Jung

AOI Members Cross Category Award shortlist

See the 10 projects by current AOI Members in the running for this cross category award

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Image credit: Lotte Cassidy

SAA Agents Award for New Talent shortlist

For a third year, the Society of Artists Agents are awarding a currently unrepresented New Talent illustrator an incredible six-month trial representation and mentoring.

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Image credit: Stephan Schmitz

Innovation Award shortlist, selected by Workbook

Meet the four illustrators shortlisted for the WIA2021 Innovation Cross Category Award, selected by Heidi Goverman, Senior VP, Development and Client Relations, Workbook LLC

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Image credit: Jordan Robertson

DI Award shortlist, selected by Directory of Illustration

This shortlist for the DI Award was selected by: Bryan Allen, Sara Jaqua and Kolea Kent from Directory of Illustration.

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Image credit: Yiting Sun

Interior Worlds

Evocative and subjective, illustration is a wonderful way to show our interior, emotional worlds.

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Image credit: Katie Isobel Scott

Life In Lockdown

As COVID-19 spread across the world in 2020, countries across every continent went into lockdowns. The need to stay at home became a unifying experience, and one that inspired many illustrators on our shortlist to create visual responses to the impacts of the pandemic.

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Meet the Shortlist!

Read brand new Q&As with shortlisted illustrators to find out more about the artists behind the projects!

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Image credit: Aiste Stancikaite

Judges’ Highlights

The World Illustration Awards judges carefully consider all the projects submitted for the competition, and collaboratively decide on their winners.
We asked them to tell us their personal favourites! Read on to find out what they loved on this year’s shortlist

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Image credit: Ruo-Hsin Wu

Black and White

Nothing beats the simplicity of black and white for conveying a clear message. Here, form, line and tone take centre stage to create powerful, evocative images.

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Image credit: Carlos Arrojo

Idea to Product Gallery

A look at the journey of illustration from imagination to a physical product.

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Image Credit: Xin He

Sketch Gallery

Discover how sketching is an important part of any visual artist’s practice.

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Image credit: Qu Lan

Flipthrough Gallery

Take a tour through some of the books on this year’s shortlist.

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Image credit: He Yizhou

Sustainable Futures

While COVID has dominated the headlines, perhaps a far greater challenge is that of climate change, and how we can create a sustainable future for everyone.

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Image credit: Elena Resko

Illuminating Complex Ideas

Our partners at the Directory of Illustration have a specialist industry insight into scientific illustration through their Medical Illustration and Animation program. This selection is curated by Marika Carradine, who offers a view from the USA on a range of illustrations themed around Science and Technology from across the categories.

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Image credit: Felicia Fortes

Identity and Diversity

Illustration can be used really effectively to raise awareness of issues such as racism, disability and feminism. Illustration is a flexible medium that allows for nuance and sensitivity, as well as subjectivity and personal stories.

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Image credit: Virginia Lorente

Exploring Cultural Heritage

The World Illustration Awards bring together illustrators from across the globe. This curated selection showcases work that explores cultural heritage from a range of perspectives.

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Image credit: Cinta Arribas

Work in Context Gallery

See how illustration lives in the real world.

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Image Credit: Jialei Sun

Feelgood Illustration

Uplifting, fun and joyful illustration to inspire you!

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Image credit: Victoria Nakada

Timelapse Gallery

See how work builds up from line drawing to a completed image.

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Image credit: Yadi Liu

Self Promotion and Portfolio Work

An important part of any illustrator’s practice is developing work to showcase their style and ideas. These can be presented to potential clients as a calling card, and shared on social media and other networks to increase reach and visibility.

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Image credit: Kate Isobel Scott

Innovative Techniques

From burnt toast, to lit paper sculptures, to prints on glass, to plasticine models, there is incredible scope for innovation by using unusual materials and exciting, boundary pushing techniques.

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Image credit: Tabitha Wall

Creative Processes Gallery

See the creative process behind some of the projects on this year’s shortlist.

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Image credit: Maryam Khaleghiyazdi

Printed, Painted, Drawn, Tactile

Both analogue and digital media can offer an almost limitless range of tactile marks for the illustrator to draw upon to add interest, depth and texture to their work.

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Image credit: Li Ya Wen

Storyboard Gallery

See how illustrators plan out the narratives of their projects through the use of storyboarding.

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Image credit: Eszter Godina

Narrative Formats

Increasingly popular, the comic book or graphic novel format and aesthetic is having a renaissance.

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Image credit: Emilie Gill

Telling Tales

Explore some of the illustration on this year’s shortlist produced specifically for children and young people in this curated list.

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Image credit: IC4Design

Hyperreal and Figurative

This curated selection of illustrations showcases virtuosic technique that helps to create extraordinary figurative images – some could almost pass for a photograph.

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Image credit: Patti Ruan

Food and Drink

The adage goes that we ‘eat with our eyes first’. The global market for food and drink products is vast, and illustration plays an important part in the industry to create enticing and appetising products. Illustration here includes food and drink packaging, as well as work created for hospitality venues.

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Image credit: Olga Shtonda

Inside the Sketchbook Gallery

Take a look inside the sketchbooks of some of the illustrators on this year’s shortlist for a wonderful insight into their thought process and creative imagination.

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Image credit: Laura Garcia Serventi

Flora and Fauna

The natural world is a bountiful source of inspiration for the illustrator; pattern and colour proliferate. Read on to uncover the diversity of animals, insects and plants used in a wide range of illustration projects.

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Image credit: Colin McElwaine

Visual Metaphor, Surreal Imagery

One of the joys of illustration is seeing how artists use their boundless imagination to create dreamy images that reference the surreal and strange. These works leverage visual metaphor to create arresting images that linger in the memory.

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Image credit: Karolis Strautniekas

Work in Progress Gallery

See the build up of illustration through a look at work in progress.

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