Since the Book Illustration Competition launched in 2011, it has led to some fantastic opportunities for winners and runners-up. As well as the prestigious Folio Society commission recieved by the winners, a number of past entrants have gone on to illustrate further books for The Folio Society and other publishers. Here's what some of them had to say about the experience.
Howl's Moving Castle illustrated by Marie-Alice Harel
"Working with The Folio Society was one of my highest aspirations when I started out as an illustrator. I thought that the Book Illustration Competition was a great way to practice, experiment and learn. Turns out it was more than that! Illustrating Howl's Moving Castle was a dream job and an honour. It still feels unreal, but it boosted my confidence and brought opportunities I didn't even know were there... or within my reach."
- Marie-Alice Harel, Competition Winner 2019
The Selected Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes illustrated by Max Loeffler
"Winning the competition felt unreal, but working in depth with The Folio Society team on the illustrations was a real, pioneering experience for me."
- Max Loeffler, Competition Winner 2018
Mansfield Park illustrated by Darya Shnykina
"Looking back I can say that winning the Book Illustration Competition has changed my life in many ways. It gave me a great professional start and it also brought into my life more wonderful people and amazing opportunities than I could have imagined."
- Darya Shnykina, Competition Winner 2017
War Horse illustrated by Alan Marks
"People in the publishing industry take an interest when they discover that you have won the Book Illustration Competition. Perhaps the commitment to enter the competition, the amount of work and the professional rigour required is a good test in itself; the process reinforced everything I love about illustration. I was delighted to be longlisted, to be more involved and to have my work acknowledged - to win, to go on to work with The Folio Society and to illustrate War Horse is a highlight in my career."
- Alan Marks, Competition Winner 2016
The Folio Book of Ghost Stories illustrated by David McConnochie
"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, but aside from this there has been the knock on effect of radio and newspaper interviews and the invaluable internet exposure that came with it. This in turn has brought new commissions and opportunities that would otherwise may not have come in my direction. Winning the overall prize at the V&A Illustration Awards with The Folio Book of Ghost Stories just capped the whole experience off and made me even more aware of the impact of that decision I made to enter."
- David McConnochie, Competition Winner 2015
Heart of Darkness illustrated by Sean McSorley
"Winning the competition has given me a real underlying confidence in my work and my ability to tackle complex commissions. It’s been invaluable when approaching new clients, and coverage of the competition and the book has meant I’ve been offered commissions that certainly wouldn’t have come about otherwise. 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, Competition Winner 2014
Brave New World illustrated by Finn Dean
"Winning The Book Illustration Competition 2013 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, Competition Winner 2013
The Bloody Chamber and War and Peace illustrated by Igor Karash
"Participating in this unique competition was a great creative journey. As a re-emerging illustrator, winning the 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, Competition Winner 2012
A Clockwork Orange illustrated by Ben Jones
"The Folio Society and House of Illustration competition has offered me some great opportunities and experiences within my illustration career. Since being a Runner Up in the competition in 2012 for my illustrations for Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, I have gone on to work for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, The Guardian and BBC History Magazine. I was also commissioned by The Folio Society to illustrate their edition of Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange – a dream job. I am now represented by Heart Agency. The Folio Society and House of Illustration competition has played a big part in my recent success as an illustrator."
- Ben Jones, Runner Up 2012
The Outsider and In Praise of Folly illustrated by Matthew Richardson
"Winning the Book Illustration Competition with my illustrations for Albert Camus’ The Outsider was a real step forward in my career and seemed to make my work more visible – putting me ‘on the map’. As well as having my work for the book published and noticed, I also won a V&A Illustration Award for the cover design and earned new commissions from the ENO and BBC Music. I was recently commissioned by The Folio Society to work on another book – In Praise of Folly by the sixteenth-century humanist, Desiderius Erasmus – one of the most fascinating projects I have worked on."
- Matthew Richardson, Competition Winner 2011
Sons and Lovers illustrated by Anne-Marie Jones
"Entering the Book Illustration Competition has really helped me in terms of my illustration work. 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 Society edition of D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers in 2013."
- Anne-Marie Jones, Runner Up, The Book Illustration Competition 2011