Book Illustration Competition 2017: We hear from past finalists

With less than three weeks to go until the deadline for our annual Book Illustration Competition, in partnership with The Folio Society, we caught up with previous finalists to find out how the competition helped them - and what they’ve been up to since…


  • Competitions

“Winning the Book Illustration Competition was really the beginning of an amazing period of time for me. The highlight of it all was getting to illustrate the book of course but aside from this there has been the knock on effect of radio and newspaper interviews and the invaluable online exposure that came with it.” – David McConochie, Winner 2015.

The Folio Book of Ghost Stories illustrated by David McConnochie

“Participating in this unique competition was a great creative journey. As a re-emerging illustrator, winning the House of Illustration and Folio Society Book Illustration Competition opened a path to new publications, including a two-volume edition of War and Peace for The Folio Society, several illustration awards, showcases and exhibits.” – Igor Karash, Winner2012

“Being acknowledged as a runner up in the 2011 competition gave me the confidence to try to pursue illustration as a career, and led to me being asked to illustrate a Folio edition of D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers in 2013” –  Anne-Marie Jones, Shortlisted 2011. Her work on A Farewell to Arms, a Folio Society commission, will be shown as part of the 2017 exhibition.

Illustration from A Call to Arms, illustrated by Anne-Marie Jones

“Winning the 2013 Book Illustration Competition has helped raise my profile on a scale that wouldn’t have been possible beforehand. I’ve joined Pickled Ink illustration agency, picked up some excellent commissions, and my entry was shortlisted for the V&A illustration awards that year.” – Finn Dean, Winner 2013

“Winning the competition has given me a real underlying confidence in my work and my ability to tackle complex commissions. […] Having my work accompany a real literary classic and seeing the finished book on the shelf alongside the other Folio Society editions is a wonderful experience, and fulfilled an ambition I’ve had since I first started to pursue illustration.” – Sean McSorley, Winner 2014.

Heart of Darkness illustrated by Sean McSorley

Entering the competition is the perfect way to present relevant work to the Art Directors at The Folio Society.  Many winners and shortlisted entrants have gone on to be commissioned for other titles as it gives them the opportunity to see a coherent project rather than a wide ranging portfolio.  Sheri Gee of The Folio Society says: ‘Being part of this competition since it’s inception, looking at thousands of illustration entries, has been a real privilege. It has enabled me to see work from illustrators world wide who are really passionate about illustrating fiction. It has been a real pleasure to work with each winner and shortlisted illustrators alike on stunningly illustrated Folio editions.’ 

The deadline for entries to the Book Illustration Competition is Monday 16 January 2017. Apply here.