Be Ambitious, Be Seen, Be Celebrated!
The World Illustration Awards celebrate the most inspiring work being made by illustrators all over the world today.

Delivered by the AOI in partnership with USA-based Directory of Illustration, the Awards build on a 45-year tradition of the AOI organising juried survey competitions.

This high-profile competition is judged by distinguished professionals from the global illustration industry.

The awards for 2020 will be judged across ten exciting, refreshed categories that represent breadth and ambition of work being made globally today.

Commissioners value the Awards for identifying current trends and finding undiscovered talent.

Over the years, many shortlisted and winning illustrators have received significant, career boosting exposure through the awards.

*NEW FOR 2020* 500 illustrators will be longlisted for the Awards:

  • All 500 longlisted projects will feature on the AOI website on a dedicated page
  • Selected projects will be showcased across the AOI’s social media platforms.

200 shortlisted projects will be selected from the longlist. Shortlisted illustrators will:

  • See their work featured in a printed full-colour catalogue, which is distributed to commissioners worldwide.
  • See their work featured in a two-week long showcaseat a central London arts venue in October 2020.
  • Be invited to attend the Awards Evening in October 2020, a highlight of the illustration industry event calendar.
  • Be offered an exclusive discount on AOI membership for one year.
  • Receive a digital badge for their website and social media.
  • Receive incredible exposure across our digital and real-world networks: the WIA is a proven platform for illustrators to consolidate and expand networks.

This year we have an array of exciting prizes and awards on offer including:

  • Overall Professional Winner sponsored by Winsor & Newton: One of the eight Professional Category Winners will be named as the WIA2020 Overall Professional Winner. They will win a generous cash prize of £2,000, and a two-page marketing package in the Directory of Illustration, valued at $4,330 US Dollars, including a 100-image professional portfolio on
  • Overall New Talent Winner sponsored by Winsor & Newton: One of the eight New Talent Category Winners will be named as the WIA2020 Overall New Talent Winner. They will win a generous cash prize £1,000, and a copy of the Directory of Illustration.
  • Professional and New Talent Category Winners: All 20 Category Winners (one New Talent and one Professional per category) will receive a WIA Trophy, an enhanced entry in the catalogue, a profile feature on the AOI website, and a complimentary AOI membership for one year with all the benefits this brings including business advice, discounted online portfolio and Varoom subscription.
  • Professional and New Talent Highly Commended in each category: 20 Highly Commended Projects (one New Talent and one Professional per category) will receive a WIA Certificate.
  • AOI Member Award: Selected from any AOI Member shortlisted for WIA2020. The winner will receive a complimentary year-long membership plus folio, a copy of the Guide to Law and the current Directories, worth £296.95, a WIA Certificate and profile feature on the AOI website.
  • SAA (Society of Artists Agents) Agents Award for New Talent: All shortlisted New Talent entries will be eligible for the SAA Agents Award for New Talent, offering the winner a six month trial representation with one of the leading SAA Illustration agents, which will include mentoring and career development. During that time, the winner will also benefit from having their work showcased on the SAA’s website and across their social media platforms. The winner will also be presented with a WIA certificate and profile feature on the AOI website.
  • DI (Directory of Illustration) Award: The DI Award winner will receive a single page marketing package in the Directory of Illustration, valued at $2,695 US Dollars. The program includes a 100-image professional portfolio on plus a one-on-one consultation with a professional Directory of Illustration marketing consultant on how to best present your work to the American market. The winner will also be presented with a WIA certificate and profile feature on the AOI website.
  • Innovation Award, supported by It’s Nice That: One shortlisted project will be selected for a new cross-category Innovation Award, supported by It’s Nice That, to be awarded for a project displaying considerable innovation and experimentation with the artform. It will be judged by It’s Nice That staff. The winner will be presented with a WIA certificate and profile feature on the AOI website.

The Awards celebrate illustration which is:

  • Technically excellent
  • Communicates its idea or message brilliantly
  • Explores illustration as an artform

When you are thinking about what to enter, as well as considering those judging criteria, think about illustration that really sings – work with the spark that lifts it off the page or screen.  It may be that it has come from a personal passion, or challenged you technically – or been one of those surprise commissions that just works.  There is no right or wrong  – most illustrators will have at least one project that makes them sit up and think ‘Yes! That’s what I want my work to do’.  Usually, those are the projects to enter.

How to enter

Illustrators, commissioners, agents and tutors are invited to submit work created, commissioned or published since January 2019, until the deadline into the ten categories of the Awards.

Every entry is reviewed by an independent judge.

Entries need to be made via the online application form into one of the ten categories.

Read more advice on how to enter HERE.

The ten categories are:

  • Advertising
  • Alternative Publishing
  • Book Covers
  • Children’s Publishing
  • Commercial Publishing
  • Design, Product & Packaging
  • Editorial
  • Exploratory
  • Science & Technology
  • Site Specific

Important information

Entry Fees

Entry fees can be paid in three currencies: GB Pounds (£), US Dollars ($) and Euros (€). Any other currency will be converted by your card issuer at point of payment.

The entry fees are:
£29 (GBP) per Single Entry // £49 (GBP) per Multiple Entry (inclusive of VAT)
€34 (EURO) per Single Entry // €58 (EURO) per Multiple Entry (inclusive of VAT)
$33 (USD) per Single Entry // $60 (USD) per Multiple Entry

Current individual AOI Members (or corporate members entering their artists at time of payment) receive a 20% discount on their entries (applied automatically at the checkout). Find out how to become an AOI member here.


  • Call for Entries DEADLINE EXTENDED until 25 February 2020 (end of calendar day wherever you are)
  • Judging: March 2020
  • Longlist notification: April/May 2020
  • Shortlist announcement: June 2020
  • Showcase, Awards Evening, and Events Programme: 21 Oct – 1 Nov 2020 showcase and celebration, London


Please read the Terms and Conditions before you enter

Our 45-year Awards History

The AOI first ran an annual competition, called Images, in 1975 that was open to any British Illustrator. It was unique then, as the selection for the publication was made by a jury, selecting the best contemporary submissions each year to be published in the annual. In 2012, Images was replaced by the AOI Illustration Awards. These ran for two years, before The AOI formed a partnership with the Directory of Illustration in the USA and created the World Illustration Awards in 2015.

Previous Images annuals can be purchased here

World Illustration Awards 2023 – Winners Announced!
The WIA2023 Winners Have Been Announced!
Guide to Law & Business book
"An essential guide for all practicing illustrators" Purchase today!
Get Varoom 42 Free
Join AOI today and you'll receive a FREE Varoom 42!


Join our mailing list to get the latest news.