News - V&A Illustration Awards 2019

Nora Krug has been awarded the Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year and Book Illustration prize at the V&A Illustration Awards 2019 ...

Press Release

Krug’s book, Heimat (Particular Books), on the lives of her German family members under the Nazi regime explores notions of identity and home. The judges praised her decision to blend almost childlike illustrations alongside photographs of her family and life in Germany during WWII. It was commended by the judges as brave and unique, for offering a new perspective on a sensitive, complex and painful subject.

 Her work will be displayed alongside the award winning artworks from each of the four categories and the commended student shortlist in Gallery 88a on the third floor of the V & A Museum until Sunday 25th August 2019.

The published categories were judged by Olivia Ahmad, Curator at the House of Illustration and Editor of Varoom Magazine, Nicholas Coleridge CBE, Chairman of the V&A Trustees and Chairman of Condé Nast and Jessica Voorsanger, Artist and Academic. The Student category was judged by Suzanne Dean, Creative Director at Vintage, Penguin Random House and Book Cover Winner 2018 and Cat O’Neil, Illustrator and Editorial Winner 2018. The competition has been running since 1972.

Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A said: “The V&A’s mission has always been to promote creativity, ingenuity and imagination. The V&A Illustration Awards perfectly encapsulate our founding purpose, celebrating some of today’s most talented artists and helping to inspire future generations. We are delighted to welcome such an exciting range of skilful works into our galleries as we celebrate this year’s award winners.”

Other category winners are as follows:

Winner of Illustrated Journalism Award: A. Richard Allen, Illustration for ‘My Lawyer was so bad I did the work myself’ (The Sunday Telegraph). The judges felt this was a perfect example of classic illustration. “The ‘Money’ section of a paper is notoriously difficult to make interesting, but this made you want to read the article – even though the illustration actually told the whole story of the piece! The composition was very strong, and both directed you to the text but also drew you back to look at the rest of the image. Part of the difficulty of illustration is tricking the viewer into looking at the image for longer than a few seconds but this image kept your attention with all the clever details and directions”.

Winner of Book Cover Award: Yehrin Tong for Their Eyes Were Watching God (Virago). The judges felt this was a luscious, evocative and appealing cover that made you want to pick up the book and buy it. “It was so beautiful that you would be proud to be seen walking around with it and reading it. It was good to see re-issues of classic literature with covers that had been created so beautifully, especially when it’s a book you love and want to see treated with respect”.

Winner of the Student Illustrator of the Year Award: Sophie Burrows for Crushing (Anglia Ruskin University). “Burrows tender illustrations in graphic novel format are both darkly amusing and wryly observed. Her shrewd use of just two colours conjures a quirky dreamlike atmosphere as well as evoking the essential loneliness of the central character”.

Student Illustrator of the Year: Runner Up: Yanyin Xu for One by One (University of the Arts London, Camberwell College of Arts). “One by One images are sculptural and atmospheric. The characters contort like curling paper in inexorable mazes and confined enclosures: their seeming simplicity hides a complex vision of humanity. Yanyin’s thoughtful and imaginative manipulation of traditional book formats were particularly engaging”.

Highly Commended Student: Harry Woodgate for Invisible Cities (University of Hertfordshire). “Invisible Cities are a frenetic psychedelic joy. The vibrant colours and free-form complexity are refreshing and original”.

Highly Commended Student: Junli Song for Dance (Anglia Ruskin University). “Dance, by Junli Song, is a joyous rendition of an anthropomorphic rabbit world that is replete with humour and charm. The use of simple blocks of restricted colour is entirely engaging and effective”.

Highly Commended Student: Ying Wang for Food Journey in London (University of the Arts London, Camberwell College of Arts). The judges thought it was good to see a student engaged in issue-based illustration. “The work exhibits a really strong level of research and a desire to engage an audience in its central and imperative themes of sustainability”.

The prize money for each of the four awards is £3,000, and the Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year Prize is worth an additional £5,000. The student runner-up prize is worth £2,000. This year’s shortlist was drawn from almost a thousand entries. Previous winners of the Illustration Awards include John Vernon Lord, Sir Quentin Blake, Ralph Steadman, Posy Simmonds, Sara Fanelli, and Yasmeen Ismail.

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