Find the answers to some commonly asked questions below.
We encourage you to read through our terms and conditions in full before entering.

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What's new for 2020?

We have made some exciting changes to WIA for 2020.  These include:

  • Changing our judging criteria to draw out the illustrator’s voice and rationale more clearly
  • introducing a longlisting stage of 500 projects, to celebrate the breadth of excellent work that is submitted
  • refreshing the categories to reflect changes in the industry.
  • Moving our showcase to one of London’s most exciting new venues. The showcase will be on display in October at Elephant West, and will be accompanied by a programme of talks and events. Alongside the amazing showcase of shortlisted work you’ll be able to explore your ideas, meet friends and share a drink with your peers.
  • More opportunities for everyone, not just shortlisted illustrators, to join in with the programme, including social and professional development events.

Am I eligible to enter?

Any current student, recent graduate or professional illustrator based anywhere in the world can enter WIA2020.

You cannot enter if you are:

  • Under 18 years old.
  • A current AOI Patron, member of the AOI Board, or AOI or Directory of Illustration Staff Member.
  • A member of the jury (judges may not directly enter work, but artists may enter work that was commissioned by one of the judges.)

What can I enter?

We’re looking for work 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.

The work you enter can be in any medium, and realised or published in any format.

The work doesn’t have to be commissioned but has to have been created or published after 1 January 2019 up until the deadline.

Have a look at last year’s shortlist to see the breadth and diversity of work that has been shortlisted in the past – we’ve seen everything from Gifs, Ceramics, Virtual Reality Environments, Murals, Textiles alongside more traditional books and editorial pieces.

Work commissioned by the AOI cannot be entered into the Awards.

How do I enter?

To enter, you need to have an AOI account. To set one up is really simple, just enter your name and email into the form, and you will receive a confirmation email.

Once you’ve followed the simple steps to register on our website you will be able to access the entry form while the Call for Entries is open.

If you’re an existing member, or you entered the competition last year, you can use your usual login details.

To enter, go to and you will see the online form where you can enter your details and upload your image/s.

The work is reviewed online only, so ensure that your images show your work at its best.

Some of the information you enter (such as why and how you made the work) is seen by the judges, so make sure you complete these fields fully – a great description can make all the difference to your entry!

A succinctly written description helps the judges to understand your work and how it was used.

Visit our Entry Help page for our 10 Step Guide to entering WIA2020.

How should I format my images?

Images should be:

  • RGB colour profile
  • In either .jpg, .gif or .png formats (not .jpeg)
  • Up to 4MB and 3000px wide.
  • File names should not contain any special characters ([email protected]£$% etc),
  • Files should be named to include your artist name and title as follows: artistname_title_image1 (or image2 or image3 etc if your entry is a multiple)

When can I enter?

Entries are accepted from December 2019 until 18 February 2020 (until the end of the day in your local time zone).

I'm having trouble with the entry form, what do I do?

Please ensure you are viewing the form as a full page on your web browser at 100%. If the ‘submit’ button is not showing, please go back and double check all the required fields have been completed.

The form is best used with an up-to-date browser. Some users have been reporting difficulties with Firefox. If you are using Firefox and the form doesn’t work, please change to an alternative browser.

If the advice above doesn’t resolve your problem with the entry form, please email [email protected] so we can help you to submit your entry.

Which category should I choose?

There are ten categories that reflect the broad sectors of illustration being made today.

You can enter any category, and you can enter different projects into different categories, or enter the same project into different categories. You can only choose one category per entry.

It’s helpful to think about how you want to position yourself as an illustrator when choosing your category. If you want to be seen as a specialist in a certain field, then consider placing your work in that category.

How do I know if I can enter as New Talent?

The definition of New Talent is:

  • A student currently enrolled on a further or higher education (e.g. BA or MA) course
  • A recent graduate (graduated since January 2019)

Any other illustrators should enter as Professional. New Talent entrants can be represented by an agent, but represented illustrators will not be eligible for the SAA New Talent Award.

Does my work have to be commissioned to enter?

You can enter any category as either commissioned or uncommissioned.

You can enter work as ‘commissioned’ if someone asked you to make the work to a brief and paid you for the work. Similarly, you can enter the work as commissioned if you priced the work but then did it for a reduced or waived fee (see the AOI’s Price It Right campaign for more info).

You cannot enter yourself as the commissioner, and if you do enter this information into the form, it will be deleted prior to the first round of judging.

If your work was self-initiated, please choose the ‘uncommissioned’ option.

What’s the difference between a single and multiple entry?

We offer single and multiple entry options so you can decide how many images you want to submit.

Single entries are useful for things like book covers, single editorial illustrations, logos, packaging labels, or anything that is a standalone, single piece of work.

Multiple entries are useful for showing different aspects of a project, for example a series of inside spreads from a book, a series of spot illustrations for a website, a series of animations, different angles of a three dimensional or site-specific work, or any project that has more than one illustration as part of it that you would like to showcase.

Because of the way our entry form is set up, every entry has a ‘lead’ image – if shortlisted, this will act as the main image used on our website.

If you are entering a single entry, the lead image is the only image you need to upload. You also have the option to enter animations or gifs via a direct URL link. If you choose this option, you will also need to upload a still as the lead image.

If you are entering a multiple entry, you enter the lead image, and up to another four images – you only need to upload the lead image once, for a total of 5 images.

You can also enter a combination of URLs and still images, e.g. 1 lead image, 2 images and 2 URLs = total of 5.

How much does it cost to enter and how do I pay?

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 discount of 20% off their entry fees (applied automatically at the checkout). 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

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 until you pay for it.

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!

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 shortlist has been finalised, all entrants will be notified by email of the outcome of their entries.

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 and many more!

We will announce the WIA2020 as they are confirmed. Check here for the judges who have been announced so far.

What happens if I’m longlisted or shortlisted?

**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, and 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.

What are the Prizes?

Overall Professional Winner: 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: 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.

WIA Innovation Award: 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 2019 until 18 February 2020 (end of calendar day wherever you are)
  • Judging: March 2020
  • Longlist notification sent out: April/May 2020
  • Shortlist announcement: June 2020
  • Showcase, awards evening, and events programme: 21 Oct – 1 Nov 2020 showcase and celebration, London

What are your terms and conditions?

You can read 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.

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