Judges’ Shortlist 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:

Natsko Seki: Broadway Market

Personal highlight, chosen by Lauren Debono-Elliot, Art Editor, Popshot Magazine, UK (Alternative Publishing Category judge)

I found this project so charming and full of life. I think it communicates the intended message perfectly and the 3D folding construction is creative, clever and well-considered. Each market stall has a story and an individual identity which works beautifully as a whole in building and celebrating community and diversity.

Curious Lauren: Wet Paint – A social experiment in social distancing

Personal highlight, chosen by Carla McRae, Australian-based artist and illustrator (Site Specific Category judge)

This project is smart, creative, unique and a tad cheeky! I loved the way ‘Wet Paint’ utilises illustration in public space in a really unexpected way. And the most incredible part is that the concept really works! Wet Paint is such a surprising and delightful project –  it really lingered in my mind as a stand out.

Paweł Jońca: I am cool

Personal highlight, chosen by Robin Cowcher, illustrator based in Melbourne (Editorial Category sponsored by Procreate Judge)

I liked the work of this illustrator whilst viewing the longlist but decided in the end to shortlist ‘I am cool’ for its lovely execution and because it tells the story of our online identity through the pandemic with quirky humour. Zoom and Teams meetings being common now, we can all identify with the sometimes split personality! This work for Agora is well drawn, designed and observed. I liked the retro styling, the limited palette and the contrasting details top and bottom. I could have chosen any of the work submitted by this illustrator.

Aiste Stancikaite: Lou

Personal highlight, chosen by Cécile Gariépy, an illustrator based in Montreal, Canada (Exploration Category Judge)

The use of a single colour in the Lou series creates textures that oscillate between realism and poetry. I fell in love with this singular technique, which reveals an intimate, somewhat futuristic universe. For the incredible mastery of the coloured pencil as well as for the intriguing subjects, Lou is a real favourite.

Anjali Nair: Election Burnout

Personal highlight, chosen by Dwuan June, Art Director, Washington Post, USA (Editorial Category sponsored by Procreate Judge)

What do you normally do with a burnt piece of toast? You toss it out and replace it with a new piece. Heading into the November elections, we in the States didn’t know what piece of toast we would get. Half of the country was tired and disgusted of President Trump and his antics. The other half adored the president but grew tired of hearing how awful and disgusting they were for supporting him. Both parties anxiously awaited to see if there would indeed be a peaceful transfer of power or a continuation of the same. Both were disappointed. Besides being a technically sound illustration that mixes the old and the new, it serves as a metaphor for the U.S. The country was reliving its history, the new who were now the old were fighting for their perception of reality. The new young were fighting for their view of the future. The country remains divided and – just like the piece of toast – burnt.

Natalia Zaratiegui Stories for Book Lovers

Personal highlight, chosen by Alla Kostovska, Managing Editor, KOMORA Publishing House, Ukraine (Commercial Publishing Category Judge) 

I was stunned how this simple execution can deliver so much story. I like the concept of this series, composition, contrast and clever use of black-white-yellow scale.

Sonia Alins: Illustrated notebook for Moleskine Studio Collection

Personal highlight, chosen by Zhang Zhong Yang Founder and President of the Shenzhen Illustration Association (Design, Product & Packaging Category judge)

I like how the illustrator uses creative techniques and materials to present the misty scene.

Elisa Seitzinger: COVID Anatomy

Personal Professional highlight, chosen by Elena Becker-Barroso, Editor, The Lancet Neurology, UK (Science & Technology Category Judge)

These impeccable illustrations are the right combination of classicism and contemporary edge. The use of colors (red, traditionally associated with danger; black, linked with obscurity or lack of knowledge) perfectly reflects the – perhaps not so unconscious – feelings of anguish and fear of the reader over the pandemic, while attracting the attention in a powerful manner. The aesthetic is so harmonious that the pages somehow transmit the order and rhythm of a music score.

Raffaela Schöbitz: Fare Thee Well, Scrambled Eggs!

Personal highlight, chosen by Hana Anouk Nakamura Associate Art Director for Abrams Books, USA (Children’s Publishing Category judge)

I found this style fascinating: a mixture of classic techniques but with a fresh feeling in the use of texture, color and white space. I also really enjoyed the style of the characters, a very nice balance of cute but without being too cutesy.

Emma “Honey” Beam: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell Cover Redesign

Personal highlight, chosen by Mark Cowan, Australian-based artist and illustrator (Book Covers Category judge)

I love the playful composition and colour palette in this design … unexpected but delightful and uplifting. The characters are also well executed and the giant hidden dragon was a welcome discovery. I like that it feels magical in a queer teen kind of way.

Meg Wileman: Doctor Sleep

Personal highlight, chosen by Livia Satriano, Founder Libri Belli, Italy (Book Covers Category judge)

I love what this book cover communicates and how it does it, it’s an unexpected yet perfect cover for a Stephen King novel. The paper-cut work, so beautifully made as if it were a pattern, suggests a claustrophobic sensation. I find this cover mesmerising and effective, as disturbing as a horror novel could be, but not in an obvious way.

Tabitha Wall, Sustainability Awareness Posters

Personal New Talent highlight, chosen by Elena Becker-Barroso, Editor, The Lancet Neurology, UK (Science & Technology Category Judge

These posters are incredibly compelling collages, almost poetic, that are able to transmit, at the same time, both the intimacy of a personal message and the universal aspect of nature. Each of them presents a tragic story, with characters in  full volume and movement, on just two dimensions..!  The observer is invited to change the narrative.

Chia-Ni Wu: Meat Thief

Personal Highlight, chosen by Maria-Elisabeth Niebius Senior Acquisition Editor, Gestalten, Germany (Children’s Publishing Category judge)

The illustration in its bold colors, clear shapes, and the dynamic of the scene caught my interest at first glance. Just one image and one sentence describing the idea, “This story happens on an afternoon, a cat wants to steal meat from a pork store” makes you so excited and eager to know more. What happens with the piece of meat? What’s the cat gonna do with it? Who is she meeting after running out of the store? Below the line, will it be pro or against eating meat? Dear illustrator, give me more, I want to read it!