Our Awards Team give their best tips on getting the most out of applying to Awards, Competitions and Prizes. These apply to the World Illustration Awards, but equally to any other competitions you might choose to enter.

  • Competitive opportunities can be a great way to increase exposure and get recognition for your work.
  • Many illustrators use them as a way to reflect on the work they have created over the past year.
  • Awards and prizes can also offer increased visibility, access to new audiences and opportunities to network.
  • They can be an important way of getting new commissions, and raising your profile as an illustrator.

‘…anyone who professes to be interested in illustration should consider their submissions to competitions and contests as business decisions. It’s not necessarily about winning. It’s more about an investment in your career as an artist. Take note on what the competition offers the winners and what kind of rewards you stand to receive if chosen. Ask yourself, “What can this do for my career as an artist?”.’ – Tony Rodriguez, World Illustration Awards 2017 Professional Editorial Category winner.

How do you make the most of your application and ensure that you have the best possible chance of success?

  • Read all the instructions carefully, and make sure you’re eligible to enter.
  • Make sure you do everything you need to send in the most complete application you can. There’s no point in spending money and/or time on something and not giving yourself the best possible chance!
  • Make sure that you answer questions accurately and clearly.
  • If you’re asked to describe your project or you’re proposing something new, try to cover the basic information such as what the illustration is for, how you did it, the outline of the concept etc.
  • Remember, the people reading through and judging your entries are not necessarily familiar with your work, or might be judging anonymised entries, so you may need to explain things that may seem obvious but actually might not be. Try, if you can, to cover the What, Who, When, How and Why of the project.
  • Ask a friend to read your submission, and give you objective feedback on your work.
  • Make sure your images are really good! You’d be surprised how often artists and visually-led creatives submit poor images to competitions or call outs. It’s your most important calling card, so make sure the images are fantastic, and of publishable quality. Don’t forget to double check sizing and formatting requirements.
  • It’s essential to title images as specified by the opportunity. If no particular title format is stated, it’s a good idea to use your artist name and title to identify your file to avoid your image becoming orphaned and ending up somewhere it shouldn’t.
  • Remember, if you’re entering a professional competition, your entry fees are tax deductible as a business expense – remember, awards, exhibitions and prizes are important ways to keep a public profile and make sure your work gets seen.