Returning to Somerset House for a fifth year, the World Illustration Awards Exhibition, in partnership with the Directory of Illustration, presents highlights from this year’s shortlist of contemporary illustration, entered by emerging and established talent to the Association of Illustrators’ (AOI) annual competition.

This unique exhibition, now in its 40th year, presents over 50 of the very best artworks across the diverse field of illustration. Selected from submissions to this year’s World Illustration Awards, the breadth of work is celebrated across 8 categories, including advertising, children’s books, editorial and public art. The shortlisted and winning pieces comprise posters, book illustrations, animations and GIFs to sculptural pieces and textiles.

Entries were received from 66 countries and while a number of the entries exhibited are from the UK and America, there is also a strong representation from South Korea, Australia, Israel, China, Japan and illustrators across Europe.

The exhibition balances these serious works, such as David Foldvari’s evocative image of the migrant crisis commissioned by Save the Children, with lighter works such as Richard Lewington’s stunning depictions of bees for Royal Mail and Levente Szabo’s arresting BAFTA Award brochures. 

Also of note is Balbusso Twins’ Portrait of Richard II commissioned by Penguin Press for its series of books on Britain’s kings and queens. Ella Cohen’s Playground Israel image, commissioned by Berlin based Theater an der Parkaue and the Israeli Embassy, exemplifies the ability of illustration to communicate compellingly across boundaries.

Two overall winners will be announced by illustrator David Hughes at the awards evening on Wednesday 3 August. David is himself an award winning illustrator and most recently author of the brilliant and disturbing The Pillbox graphic novel. David is a Patron of the Association of Illustrators.

On display will be original artwork and, whenever possible, also the work in it’s original context or published form.

Daria Petrilli

Mark Borgions

David Foldvari