World Illustration Awards 2022 – Celebrating Great Illustration!

The World Illustration Awards showcase the great work being made by illustrators all over the world today. In 2022, we will focus on supporting creativity and connecting illustrators to their peers and the industry.

The Call For Entries to WIA2022 closed on 23 February 2022.

Jump to a topic: Why Enter | Awards & Prizes | What to Enter | How to Enter | Judges | Schedule | Categories | Fees, Discounts & Bursaries | Help & Resources | About WIA | Rules

why enter?

Being part of WIA offers a host of significant benefits and opportunities.

During the call for entries:

  • Selected entries will be featured on WIA and AOI social media platforms. These are chosen to represent the breadth and diversity of illustration entered into the competition.
  • *NEW* Prospective entrants are invited to join us for a free, interactive webinar on how to enter on 25 January 2022 at midday – we will share a recording in due course.
  • All entrants will receive an email with exclusive resources for promoting their entries.

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.
  • *NEW* All longlisted illustrators will be invited to an exclusive AOI self-promotion masterclass focussing on getting the most out of being longlisted for WIA 2022.
  • 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 WIA2022 shortlist.
  • Receive a set of resources on self promotion and creating content around their participation in WIA2022.
  • See their work featured in a printed full-colour catalogue, which is distributed to commissioners worldwide.
  • See their work featured in an Online Showcase on the AOI website.
  • Be invited to attend the online Awards Announcements in November 2022, a highlight of the illustration industry event calendar.
  • Be invited to attend one of a series of online meet up events for WIA2022 shortlisted illustrators to give the opportunity to 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 well known platform for illustrators to consolidate and expand their professional networks.

20 Highly Commended Projects (one New Talent and one Professional per category) will receive:

  • A WIA Certificate.
  • An in depth profile feature on the AOI website as part of the Online Showcase.

Each of the 20 Category Winners (one New Talent and one Professional per category) will receive:

  • A WIA Trophy.
  • An enhanced entry in the catalogue.
  • An in depth profile feature on the AOI website as part of the Online Showcase.
  • A complimentary AOI membership with Folio for one year with all the benefits this brings including business advice, discounted online portfolio and more.

Overall Prizes include:

  • WIA2022 Overall Professional Winner, selected from the Category Winners will receive a coveted WIA Trophy.
  • They will win a generous cash prize of £2,000.
  • They will also receive a two-page marketing package in the Directory of Illustration, valued at $4,330 US Dollars, including a 100-image professional portfolio on
  • One of the ten New Talent Category Winners will be named as the WIA2022 Overall New Talent Winner.
  • They will win a generous cash prize £1,000, and a copy of the Directory of Illustration.

There are also four Cross-Category Awards on offer:

AOI Members Award, selected from any AOI Member shortlisted for WIA2022.

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
  • enhanced profile feature on the Online Showcase.

The DI Award, selected from all shortlisted Professional entries

  • The 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 have a profile feature on the Online Showcase.

One shortlisted project will be selected for a cross-category WIA Innovation Award

  • The Innovation award is given to a project displaying considerable innovation and experimentation with the artform.
  • The winner will be presented with a WIA certificate and enhanced profile feature on the AOI website.

All shortlisted unrepresented New Talent entries are eligible for the SAA Agents Award for New Talent

  • The winner is offered a six-month trial representation with one of the leading SAA Illustration agents.
  • This award includes mentoring and career development.
  • 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 enhanced profile feature on the Showcase.
  • Illustrators (including duos and collectives), commissioners, agents and tutors are invited to submit illustration created since 1 January 2021 into the World Illustration Awards 2022.
  • There is no limit to the medium or format of the illustrations that you can enter, but you do need to select one of the 10 categories for each of your entries.
  • You can enter as many projects as you like!
  • The competition is open to illustrators over 18 years old.
  • Current students and recent graduates are welcome to enter, as well as those without formal training.

Every entry is reviewed by an independent judge, who will use the following criteria to look for great illustration that 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 these 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.

You must enter using the online form. You will need to choose a category, format and whether to enter as a New Talent or Professional illustrator.


You can choose whether to enter a single or multiple image project. You can also decide if you wish to enter a URL to a moving image project, or animated gifs, or a combination of all of these.

You can enter up to 5 images for a multiple entry (or combination of images and links).

New Talent and Professional

New Talent illustrators are defined as current students, or recent graduates (since January 2021).

Everyone else should enter as Professional.

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

Meet our WIA2022 judges here – with more to be announced as they are confirmed!

14 February 2022 – deadline to enter

23 February – new extended deadline

March – April 2022 – judging

1 June 2022 – longlist announced

30 September 2022 – shortlist announced and showcase launch

1 November 2022 – winners announced

December 2022 – WIA2023 call for entries launch


The ten categories reflect the breadth of illustration being created today;

Image credit: Marie Doerfler

Advertising: Illustration sells

Illustration created for commercial advertising campaigns for products or services including:

• magazine print ads • billboards • TV commercials • broadcast • social media • websites • flyers • entire campaigns

Image credit: Amy Moss

Alternative Publishing: Beyond the book

Celebrating exciting new forms of publishing for readers of any age. Illustration in any book format can be entered into this category, including:

• zines • graphic novels • comics • artist books • poetry and anthologies • handmade books • limited edition books

Image credit: Shabazz Larkin

Book Covers: Judging a book by its cover

Any cover artwork for books for readers of any age. This category includes whole cover artwork made for:

• children’s books
• self-published books
• books for a general readership

Image credit: Dide Tengiz

Children’s Publishing, sponsored by Walker Books: Inspiring the next generation of readers

Illustration created for use in publications for readers under 16 years old including inside illustrations, whole book design or entire publications for:

• fiction • non-fiction • educational books • picture books • interactive books • reference books • pop-up books • e-books

Image credit: Nick Hayes

Commercial Publishing: Engaging readers

Commissioned or prospective illustration for use in commercially published books for readers 16+ years old. This category includes inside illustrations or whole book design for:

• works of fiction • non-fiction • text books • e-books • interactive books • reference books • poetry and anthologies • graphic novels • picture books and humour

Image credit: Zamo Peza

Design, Product & Packaging: Shaping our Visual World

Including illustration for branding, products, logos, packaging for:

• fashion • graphic design • product design • stationery, greetings cards and calendars • record sleeves • stamps • pattern, surface, textile and wallpaper design • typography and lettering • icons and logos • games
• annual reports • poster design

Image credit: Fatinha Ramos

Editorial, sponsored by Procreate: Beyond Words

Illustration for journalism and comment in digital or print format for example:

• feature articles • news items • cartoons • political satire • reportage • documentary • current affairs

Image credit: Dominic Bodden

Exploration: Show Ambition and Vision

Testing personal practice ideas that do not necessarily sit within any other category. This category recognises the importance of personal work to the practicing illustrator.

This category is for work made to establish a style, work through ideas, and develop a portfolio.

Sustainability awareness Poster
Image credit: Tabitha Wall

Science & Technology: Illuminating Complex Ideas

Illustration that represents or explains scientific, medical or technological concepts.

This category includes illustration in the following areas:

• medical • botanical • architectural
• forensic • scientific • archaeological • data visualisation • information visualisation


Site Specific: Enhancing Public Spaces

Illustration made for a particular place or space, for example:

• murals • street art • wall drawings
• graffiti • wayfinding systems • building wraps • window decals
• hoardings

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 (incl VAT)
€34 (EURO) per Single Entry // €58 (EURO) per Multiple Entry
$33 (USD) per Single Entry // $60 (USD) per Multiple Entry

Please note that VAT rules apply depending on where the entrant is based and may affect the final fee you are paying.


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.

Bursary scheme

For a second year, The Association of Illustrators and Directory of Illustration as WIA delivery partners are offering up to 20 UK-based and 20 USA-based illustrators the opportunity to enter one project into the World Illustration Awards 2022 free of charge.

This scheme has been devised to support illustrators who would otherwise not have the means to pay to enter WIA.

The WIA2022 scheme is now closed for applications.

Choosing your category (5min read)

How to Enter Guide (10min read)

Get the most out of your entry (5min read)

How to enter webinar replay (80min watch)

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.

Commissioners value the Awards for identifying current trends and finding undiscovered talent, and illustrators value the connection and sense of community participating can bring.

The Awards are open for submissions annually from December to February. The jury then evaluates submissions and choses the winners. Announcements made in May for the longlist, September for the shortlist and the Winners are announced in October.

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

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 and WIA Catalogues can be purchased here


Please read the Terms and Conditions before you enter.

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