Find the answers to some commonly asked questions below.

When can I enter?

  • The deadline for WIA2021 has been extended to 23 February 2021, at the end of the day wherever you are in the world.
  • We recommend submitting your entry before the final deadline, as we experience heavy traffic in this period, and it can take a while to upload your files.
  • If you have any problems entering, please get in touch, and we will help you to get your entry submitted to the competition.

What happens once I’ve entered?

  • Once you have filled in your form and clicked the ‘SUBMIT’ button, your work is saved in your account on the AOI website. You can then go back and edit it as much as you wish.
  • Once you are happy with the entry, you need to make your payment for it to be entered into the competition.
  • You will receive an email confirming your entry, and some information about how to share your entry with the AOI via social media – we will repost entries throughout the call for entries!
  • You can go back and edit paid for entries until the deadline.
  • Don’t forget that the judges will only see entries that have been paid for.
  • The AOI team will check all entries as they are submitted, and will notify you of any issues, e.g. if your image is corrupted. The AOI reserves the right to remove entries that are offensive, incite hatred or break the rules.
  • The judges will then log in to the site to view all entries and will choose their shortlist.
  • Once the longlist has been finalised, all entrants will be notified by email of the outcome of their entries.

What support do you offer for entrants?

Selected entries will be posted on our social media platforms during the call for entries, up until the Longlist is announced.

Once you’ve entered, you will receive access to a resource on promoting your entry to your own networks.

The AOI and Directory of Illustration are also offering bursaries to entrants from the UK and USA respectively. The bursaries offer 20 UK-based and 20 USA-based illustrators who have low incomes to enter a project for free.

Who are the judges?

WIA Judges are experts in their sectors, and are chosen to represent a global view of illustration.

Our judges in the past have included editors, art directors and publishers from organisations including Penguin, WeTransfer, Twitter, Laurence King, Google Images, TIME Magazine, Wired and many more!

We will announce the WIA2021 judges as they are confirmed.

What happens if I’m longlisted or shortlisted?

500 projects will be longlisted for the Awards

  • All 500 longlisted projects will feature on the AOI website. Each project will be displayed on its own page.
  • Longlisted illustrators will receive a digital badge for their website and social media, and a resource for promoting their inclusion in the longlist.
  • Selected projects will be showcased across our social media platforms.
  • All longlisted projects will be judged at the shortlisting stage.

200 projects will be shortlisted for the Awards. Shortlisted illustrators will:

  • Be invited to an exclusive webinar on promoting their inclusion in the shortlist.
  • Receive a set of resources on self promotion and creating content around their participation in WIA2021.
  • See their work featured in a printed full-colour catalogue, which is distributed to commissioners worldwide.
  • See their work featured in an Online Showcase as part of the Shortlist announcement in September 2021.
  • Be invited to attend the Awards Evening in October 2021, a highlight of the illustration industry event calendar. (We really hope to hold this event in person in London, but of course, it may have to take place online depending on the COVID 19 situation).
  • Be invited to attend one of a series of online meet up events for WIA2021 shortlisted illustrators to help you meet and connect.
  • 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.

What are the Prizes?

Overall Professional Winner: One of the 10 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: One of the 10 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 (subject to confirmation) 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 (subject to confirmation): 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.

WIA Innovation Award (subject to confirmation): One shortlisted project will be selected for a new WIA Innovation Award, to be awarded for a project displaying considerable innovation and experimentation with the artform. It will be judged by at least two jury members. The winner will be presented with a WIA certificate and profile feature on the AOI website.

What is the timeline for the Awards?

  • Call for Entries open from December 2020 until 15 February 2021
  • Judging: March – April 2021
  • Longlist announcement: May 2021
  • Shortlist announcement and Showcase launch: September 2021
  • Awards announcement: 12 October 2021
  • Celebration programme: November 2021

How much does it cost to enter?

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 when logged into member account).

Find out how to become an AOI member here.

Why do you charge for entry?

The AOI is a not for profit company that is fully funded by its membership, for the benefit of its members. The World Illustration Awards are delivered by The AOI in partnership with the Directory of Illustration.

We cover the costs of running the Awards by charging an entry fee, and securing sponsorship and in-kind partnerships. The income covers the costs incurred in running the Awards, including staffing, administration, development and delivery costs.

As part of the AOI, the World Illustration Awards are not for profit and all money goes back into the Awards.

We recognise that the past year has presented huge financial challenges for everyone, and that some people have suffered a significant loss of income. To ensure that the awards remain accessible to those on a low income, we have set up a bursary scheme, which you can read about here.

What are your terms and conditions?

Please download them here.

Please note, the terms and conditions are correct at the time of publishing, but may be updated during the course of the competition.

How do I contact the organisers?

You can contact the AOI Awards team via [email protected] – we usually reply back within two – three working days.