30.07.2012  •  Illustration NEWS


V&A AWARDS •  V&A Illustration Awards 2012 : the winners and their winning work on GoSee

The annual London V&A Illustration Award trophy is presented in the following categories: Illustrated Book, Book Cover, Editorial and best Illustration Student. GoSee presents artwork entries from 2012 and congratulates the winners who were announced on 11 June.

The winner in each category receives £2,000 and a trophy and the judges select an overall winner of the V&A Illustration Awards who can take home an additional £2,000. The winning student of the year also receives £2,000 and a trophy. The runner-up in this category receives £1,000.

The 2012 judges were designer Orla Kiely, broadcaster and cultural commentator Emma Freud OBE and V&A Director of Design Moira Gemmill. The winning work is displayed in Gallery 74 until 31 December 2012.

As in previous years, entry for the 2013 awards is only available online – the entry form will be live on the website in late November 2012.

Published Category: Editorial Illustration Award 2012
(Newspaper, Magazine and Comic Illustration)
Supported by the Enid Linder Foundation

Editorial Award Winner
Nick Lowndes illustration to ‘Mastering Growth’ in Financial Times
Published by FT Group, 1 July 2011

Nick Lowndes holds a degree in Illustration and Animation from the University of Manchester and has worked as a freelance illustrator for fourteen years. His conceptual work displays a bold, iconic and graphic style and he has an array of influences including Picasso, Patrick Caulfield, Andre Francois, Matisse and Jean-Michel Basquiat. He is represented by Eastwing illustration agency and has worked for a variety of UK and US clients including The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Economist, Adobe and Barclays.

Lowndes’ winning illustration was for part three of a Financial Times special report on small and medium enterprises, called ‘Mastering Growth' about which he says, ‘I wanted to create a bold, graphic image based on a strong idea, so the illustration focuses on a small enterprise aspiring to grow and survive in the daunting world of business. The final artwork was produced digitally using a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator.’

The judges all agreed that this image delivered the story in a concise yet eye-catching way. Orla Kiely said, ‘This design is creative but clearly illustrates the article. Simple and cleverly designed. A strong idea.’ Moira Gemmill found the work, ‘Simple, punchy and to the point. Gets the message across in an instant.’

Nick Lowndes website: eastwing.co.uk/artist/nicklowndes

Editorial Shortlisted Entrants
Luke Best, Chivalric Fiasco (Harper’s Magazine)
‘I like the stylised flat perspective of this illustration and the colour is good.’ - Orla Kiely.

Stefano Morri, Henry’s Demons (BBC Radio Times)
‘A strong way of illustrating such a moving story. The message is very powerful.’ -

Published Category: Book Illustration Award 2012

Supported by the Enid Linder Foundation

Book Illustration and Overall Winner 2012

Laëtitia Devernay, illustrations to ‘The Conductor’ by Laëtitia Devernay
Published by Chronicle Books, London, 2011

Laëtitia Devernay is a French artist who trained in Strasbourg, and at the École nationale supérieure des arts appliqués Olivier de Serres in Paris. She works as a graphic designer and teaches illustration to children. ‘The Conductor’ is her first book, she weaves a wordless story of a fantastical conductor who summons leaves from the trees, directing them to take flight as a flock of birds that swoops in formation above his head. In explaining how she created it she says,

‘I wanted to make the Conductor a silent hero. What does he do when he is away from his musicians? How does he find inspiration? Like me, he looks to nature. To create a living forest I thought about the imagery of music; the strings, the scrolls, the bow tie and swallow tailed suit. The horizontality of the score became the verticality of the trees, sheets turned into feathers, birds into notes. I used pure imagery to tell my story so that it is open to the interpretation of the reader. I also think it's nice to represent music with a totally wordless illustrated book.

I haven’t represented a piece in particular but an air in general. A swarm of birds announces the moves of violins, a unique row in a desert sky represents an oboe soloist…an entire symphony…then, silence, while the small conductor takes a bow. It’s a story that can be read over and over, as in nature, everything changes, but the cycle continues.’

Judge Emma Freud said, ‘Beautiful and meticulously executed – a work of art.’ and Orla Kiely agreed, ‘What a lovely book! It comes alive with her beautiful drawings.’

Laëtitia Devernay’s blog: chat-terton.over-blog.com

Book Illustration Shortlisted Entrants

Cathy MacLennan, Bunny Bunny Catkin (Boxer Books)
‘Children would love it.’ - Orla Kiely.

Rob Ryan, A Sky Full of Kindness (Hodder & Soughton)
‘Unique, emotional, inspiring, brilliant. I adore this.’ - Emma Freud

Published Category: Book Cover Illustration Award 2012
Supported by the Enid Linder Foundation

Book Cover Award Winner
Matthew Richardson, cover for ‘The Outsider’ by Albert Camus
Published by Folio, London, 2011

Matthew Richardson studied B.A. Graphic Design at Middlesex University, post-graduate Illustration at Central St. Martins and recently studied M.A. Fine Art at UWIC, Cardiff. As well as working as a commercial illustrator, he exhibits his own work nationally and currently lectures part-time at Norwich University College of the Arts. Describing his winning work he says,

‘I designed the cover for Albert Camus’ ‘The Outsider’ for Folio books along with seven inside illustrations. I really enjoyed the challenge of making images for ‘The Outsider’ – images that needed to relate directly and specifically to the content of the story. As a lot of my work is more ‘conceptually’ based and abstract, I needed to find a way to make the illustrations ‘believable’ and rooted in a ‘place’. I chose to bring out the mood of the book and the main character through subtle colour and sparse composition that echo rather than directly illustrate the environments inhabited by Camus’ protagonist Mersault. The illustrations were composed from found imagery and hand drawn and painted forms and then assembled digitally.’

Judge Orla Kiely said, ‘I love the approach to the design of this book cover and interior pages. The colour work is especially strong.’ Moira Gemmill felt the work was, ‘Exquisite - highly sophisticated design perfectly complemented by superb production values and craftsmanship.’

Matthew Richardson’s website: matthewxrichardson.com

Book Cover Shortlisted Entrants

Petra Börner, Emma (Bonniers)
‘I think the colour and illustration is very striking. It is also very eye-catching.’ - Orla Kiely

Vicky White, Can We Save the Tiger (Walker Books)
‘Arresting, powerful, respectful, affectionate’ - Emma Freud.

Student Category: Student Illustrator Award 2012

Supported by the Enid Linder Foundation

Student Winner 2012
Holly Mills, Camberwell College of Arts: ‘Hothouse’

Holly has just completed a B.A. in illustration. Her winning work shows scenes from Brian Aldiss’s 1962 novel ‘Hothouse’. Of her illustrations Holly says, ‘I like to work with a variety of media; applying layers of watercolour, drawing ink, acrylic, and colour pencils to obtain depth and create patterns. When faced with a narrative I often begin by thinking about the atmosphere of the writing, then later focus on certain moments of interest. I am drawn to fictional writing with dark or surreal undertones and plenty of description, and so 'Hothouse' immediately appealed to me. I wanted to tell the story by trying to relate the intense, hectic atmosphere of the book. I used layering and pattern to get across the image of a busy jungle full of life and tried to represent the often strange, dark atmosphere of the book through use of colour. I like the challenge of retelling a story without words, capturing the mood of the whole as well as specific scenes.’

Student category judges Laura Carlin and Luke Best said, ‘Holly’s work didn’t immediately remind you of someone else’s. It – perhaps most importantly – makes you want to read the book (and makes us want to go and draw!) It’s exciting, unreserved use of colour and space makes the illustrations jump off the page. The way she mixes media feels very honest as opposed to contrived – it’s not trying to be illustration. Holly’s interpretation of the narrative feels very contemporary, but also accessible. This suggests she would approach new projects and commissions with gusto.’

Student Runner-Up
Daniel Clarke, Camberwell College of Arts: ‘Heygate Memories’

‘This project was based on the Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle, London. Only seven people were still living in the entire estate which once housed three thousand. I talked to the remaining inhabitants about how life used to be there. The media described it as ‘a mugger’s paradise’, but I discovered it wasn’t like this at all. My project aimed to show that the Heygate wasn’t so bad and that the council was destroying what was once a great community. I created a book to go with the illustrations, focusing on the architecture alongside memories of former residents.’

The student category judges said, ‘A beautifully crafted book that is also poignant with its content. Daniel proves that there is a form of reportage illustration that can be both contemporary and informative. In ‘Heygate Memories’ he gives us an insight into something we pass daily and take for granted. Daniel has actively sought out the personal stories behind this façade rather than just looking in and making artwork based on assumptions.’

Daniel Clarke’s website: daniel-clarke.com

Student Category Shortlisted Entrants

Faye Coral Johnson, Nonsensical Thoughts
‘Drawings that are not afraid to remain under worked, not depicting everything as we see it. They contain playful and energetic mark making to make self-directed work. Faye mixes abstraction and figuration to form small intriguing narratives.’ – Student Judges Luke Best and Laura Carlin

Rachel Lillie, Born Fighting
‘A sophisticated, confident use of materials and space to communicate what is a very current issue. Rachel shows great ability to play with pace and variety to bring together a dynamic narrative. Whilst being about Afghanistan the work becomes more universal and symbolic of mans cycle of violence.’ – Student Judges Luke Best and Laura Carlin

Joe Lyward, My Fear
‘Joe’s project proves an ability to play with design whilst telling a story. Sensitive line drawing with graphic elements form a human everyday narrative. His storytelling projects contain subtle yet effective combinations of materials and textures on the page.’ – Student Judges Luke Best and Laura Carlin