Everything you need to know about WIA2023

The Association of Illustrators has run a juried illustration competition since 1976. The latest incarnation, the World Illustration Awards in partnership with the Directory of Illustration, has been going strong and growing since 2015.

WIA2023 offers significant opportunities to have your work seen, connect with the industry and celebrate great illustration.

Read our FAQs about WIA2023:

Why should I enter?

Being part of WIA offers a host of significant benefits and opportunities from the call for entries stage right through to the winner announcements.

This includes self-promotional tools, networking events and features on WIA platforms.

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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.
• Prospective entrants are invited to join us for a free, interactive webinar on how to enter on 17 January 2023 at 3pm.
• 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.
• All longlisted illustrators will be invited to an exclusive AOI self-promotion masterclass focussing on getting the most out of being longlisted for WIA2023.
• 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 WIA2023 shortlist.
• Receive a set of resources on self promotion and creating content around their participation in WIA2023.
• See their work featured in a digital 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 September 2023, a highlight of the illustration industry event calendar.
• Be invited to attend one of a series of online meet up events for WIA2023 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.

What can I enter?

Illustration, or projects featuring illustration, in any format or usage can be entered into WIA2023. This includes still images, animated gifs and animations.

Entries that have been created with the use of AI text-to-image generating software or platforms are not currently eligible to be entered into WIA.

Work can be self-initiated, such as coursework, or commissioned, and created by illustrators working in any sector. The illustration must have been created, commissioned or published since January 2022.

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• Illustrators (including duos and collectives), commissioners, agents and tutors are invited to submit illustration created since 1 January 2022 into the World Illustration Awards 2022.
• There is no limit to the style 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.

How do I 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.

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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 element project into any of the categories.
• A single entry is one lead ‘hero’ still image or animated gif (under 4MB size)
• A multiple entry is one lead ‘hero’ still image or animated gif PLUS up to four additional still images, animated gifs, or direct URL links to Vimeo or YouTube, or a mix in any combination.
• Animations (other than animated gifs with a file size under 4MB) must be entered as a multiple entry with a “hero” image or gif PLUS up to four direct URL links to Vimeo or YouTube.

New Talent and Professional

To apply as New Talent you must be one of the following:
• a current student on an undergraduate course (bachelor’s or equivalent).
• a recent graduate (graduating from a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in 2022)
• an illustrator without a bachelor’s degree or equivalent with less than one year’s work experience as an illustrator.

Everyone else should enter as Professional.

What are the Awards and Prizes?

Winners of WIA2023 can look forward to some exciting prizes, from trophies and AOI memberships, to cash for the Overall Winners.

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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 digital catalogue.
• 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:

WIA2023 Overall Professional Winner, selected from the ten 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 directoryofillustration.com

One of the ten New Talent Category Winners will be named as the WIA2023 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 WIA2023.

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

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 directoryofillustration.com 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.

The Huion Digital Innovation Award (绘王数字创新奖), selected from all shortlisted entries using digital media in all or part of its creation

• Huion Digital Innovation Award (绘王数字创新奖) is given to a project displaying considerable innovation with digital media.
• The winner will win a Huion pen display (high-end).
• They will also be presented with a WIA certificate.

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

What are the categories?

The ten categories reflect the breadth of illustration being created today. Your project may fit into more than one category, so do check the descriptions to select which is the best for you. It can help to consider how you want your project to be seen, or the type of clients you might want to attract.

Image credit: Paul Sirand


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: Sarah Walsh

Animation, sponsored by Huion

Moving Images

Illustration made for animation, including animated gifs, and short or long-form films or videos.

This can include:

  • traditional animation
  • stop-motion animation
  • character animation
  • 2D or 3D animation
  • animation for apps, websites, social media campaign or games
  • Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality with an animated element.
Image credit: Quim Torres

Book Covers, sponsored by London Book Fair

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: Carole Bouvier

Children’s Publishing

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: Andrew Bannister

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: Ana Yael

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: Carina Lindmeier


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.

Image credit: Yehrin Tong

Publishing, sponsored by Rebelle

Books and Beyond

Illustration created for any book format 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
  • artist books
  • handmade books
An animation of a girl snowboarding
Image credit: Alicia Blasco

Science & Technology

Illuminating Complex Ideas

Illustration that represents or explains scientific, medical or technological concepts including:

  • medical
  • botanical
  • architectural
  • forensic
  • scientific
  • archaeological
  • data visualisation
  • information visualisation
Veedu Mural By Kneethee
Image Credit: Kneethee

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

What are the key dates?

  • 2 December 2022 – call for entries opens
  • 3 January 2023 – early bird fee ends (midday UK time)
  • 23 February 2023 – deadline to enter
  • March – April 2023 – judging
  • 16 May 2023 – longlist announced
  • 6 July 2023 – shortlist announced and showcase launch
  • 12 September 2023 – winners announced
  • December 2023 – WIA2024 call for entries launch

Who are the judges?

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

Emma Houlton, Creative Director, VCCP

Emma will be judging the Advertising Category

Raul Aguiar, Freelance Illustrator and Art Director

Raul will be judging the Animation Category, sponsored by Huion

Monique Sterling, Independent Graphic Designer

Monique will be judging the Children’s Publishing Category

Wang Lin, Director of Children’s Publishing Department, People’s Education Press

Wang Lin will be judging the Children’s Publishing Category

Meeta Mastani, Maker and Social Entrepreneur, Bindaas Unlimited

Meeta will be judging the Exploration Category

Nakabachi Issao, Illustrator, Graphic Designer and Art Director

Issao will be judging the Publishing Category, sponsored by Rebelle

See all the judges for WIA2023

How much does it cost to enter?

Early bird discount until 3 January 2023 (midday UK Time):

  • GB Pounds – £29 per Single Entry, £49 per Multiple Entry
  • Euro – € 34 per Single Entry, € 58 per Multiple Entry
  • US Dollars – $33 per Single Entry, $60 per Multiple Entry

Midday 3 January 2023, until the deadline:

  • GB Pounds – £32 per Single Entry, £53 per Multiple Entry
  • Euro – € 36 per Single Entry, € 60 per Multiple Entry
  • US Dollars – $38 per Single Entry, $62 per Multiple Entry

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. VAT applies to payments made from he UK.

We also have discounts for current AOI Members (20% off).

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Discounts for AOI Members

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). The discount can be used on early bird and standard entry fees.

Find out how to become an AOI member .

Bursary scheme

The Association of Illustrators and Directory of Illustration as WIA delivery partners are offering 40 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.

This year’s scheme opened on 3 January 2023 and closed for applications on 31 January 2023. Applicants to the bursary scheme have been notified if they have been awarded a bursary. If you applied for a bursary, please check your email.

Why we charge a fee to enter WIA

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 have increased our fees this year, having frozen them for over four years running. To support illustrators this year, we have introduced an early bird fee. Additional support is available to AOI members via a discount, and a limited number of bursary entries are available for illustrators on low or no income.

Help & What are the rules?

Please read the WIA2023 terms and conditions here.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: We cannot accept entries from Russian or Belarusian illustrators or any persons currently living in Russia or agencies based in Russia as more specifically set out in clause 1.1 in the Terms and Conditions.

Help & Resources

10 Step Guide to Entering WIA2023

Get the most out of entering

How to choose your category

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