Why en­ter­ing this year’s AOI World Il­lus­tra­tion Awards could re­sult in ex­cit­ing new prospects for il­lus­tra­tors

AOI Awards man­ager Sabine Reimer ex­plains how en­ter­ing this year’s World Il­lus­tra­tion Awards could re­sult in recog­ni­tion, ex­po­sure and ex­cit­ing new clients

Computer Arts - - Contents -

While the Os­cars is prob­a­bly the best-known awards scheme in the world – its im­pact is felt around the globe in col­umn inches, Twit­ter feeds and box of­fice tak­ings – there are plenty of other award cer­e­monies that have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact for en­trants and their re­spec­tive in­dus­tries. And the an­nual World Il­lus­tra­tion Awards (WIA) is no ex­cep­tion.

Pre­sented by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Il­lus­tra­tors (AOI), in part­ner­ship with the Di­rec­tory of Il­lus­tra­tion, the World Il­lus­tra­tion Awards is one of the in­dus­try’s largest and most es­teemed award schemes. With eight cat­e­gories that en­com­pass the breadth of il­lus­tra­tion, the cat­a­logue of short­listed work and ac­com­pa­ny­ing tour­ing ex­hi­bi­tion pro­vides a snap­shot of some of the best work in il­lus­tra­tion to­day.

With so many award schemes in ex­is­tence, it might be dif­fi­cult to see the value in en­ter­ing your work, but lots of il­lus­tra­tors be­lieve do­ing so is a worth­while prac­tice – even if the out­come isn’t what you hoped for. Awards raise aware­ness of your brand and work, give you cred­i­bil­ity in the eyes of ex­ist­ing and new clients, show­case you as an am­bi­tious pro­fes­sional, and pro­vide recog­ni­tion for your hard work.

Chil­dren’s Book cat­e­gory win­ner Alexan­der T. Smith sees in­dus­try recog­ni­tion as an im­por­tant as­pect of the WIAs. “What’s spe­cial about the AOI Awards is that they’re judged by the il­lus­tra­tion in­dus­try. It’s a lovely ex­pe­ri­ence to feel you have the nod of ap­proval from your peers and con­tem­po­raries,” he says.

Win­ning the award has also ex­panded his range of work: “The big thing to come out of my award is that the projects I’m be­ing of­fered or in­vited to work on are dif­fer­ent from be­fore. I will be work­ing on [projects that] are ter­rif­i­cally var­ied. This is both chal­leng­ing and re­ally ex­cit­ing, and is al­low­ing me to re­ally push my work in a new di­rec­tion,” he ex­plains.

Re­search and Knowl­edge Com­mu­ni­ca­tion (pro­fes­sional cat­e­gory) win­ner Flo­rian Bayer agrees on the va­lid­ity of the awards. “Win­ning the award meant a lot to me. It’s great to get your work val­i­dated by an in­sti­tu­tion with such a rep­u­ta­tion.” But that val­i­da­tion has also caused a dilemma: thanks to an in­creased num­ber of en­quiries, he’s had to turn down work. “Many of the com­mis­sions were very cool, which is re­ally great, but it’s re­ally sad when you have to say no to a pro­ject you would have loved to work on,” says Bayer, who’s cur­rently il­lus­trat­ing a spe­cial Re­view of 2016 is­sue for Süd­deutsche Zeitung Magazin while also work­ing on his first chil­dren’s book, Wild An­i­mals In Africa With Su­per Pow­ers.

Com­mis­sion­ers also value the awards. The AOI en­sures that the short­list – which has been vet­ted by the WIA jury – is pro­moted to a broad range of re­cip­i­ents, who use it to find fresh new tal­ent. They know that an il­lus­tra­tor who en­ters the WIAs is se­ri­ous about their work. It’s a great place to find the next il­lus­tra­tion su­per­star.

As il­lus­tra­tion cour­ses bur­geon and the num­ber of prac­ti­tion­ers reaches an all-time high, awards are an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant way to set your­self apart and be no­ticed. Just like at the Os­cars, win­ning a WIA trans­lates into ca­reer de­vel­op­ment and a raised pro­file.

To find out more and en­ter the WIAs, visit: www.theaoi.com.

The AOI is the UK’s lead­ing il­lus­tra­tion body. It strives to pro­mote, em­power and ad­vance the il­lus­tra­tion in­dus­try. www.theaoi.com

Clock­wise from far left: WIA launch evening; 101 Dal­ma­tians, by Alex T. Smith; Trump, by Flo­rian Bayer; Ni­canor Parra – 100 Years, by Diego Be­cas Vil­le­gas.

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