Six illustrators have beaten hundreds of entrants from over 30 countries to be shortlisted for the fourth annual Book Illustration Competition, a collaboration between House of Illustration and The Folio Society.
The Book Illustration Competition invited entrants, who must not already be published by The Folio Society, to submit three illustrations and a binding design for Joseph Conrad’s masterpiece about a life-changing journey, Heart of Darkness. The winner will receive a highly sought-after commission, worth £5,000, to complete a total of nine illustrations and a binding design for the book, which will be published by The Folio Society in September 2014. Five runners up will each receive £500 cash. Three prizes of the six are awarded to student entries.
The winner will be announced at an award ceremony on 24 September at House of Illustration in King’s Cross.
After extensive debate the shortlist was selected by a judging panel comprising artist, critic, curator and committee chairman for the Royal Academy Tom Phillips, former Royal Academy of Arts Director of Exhibitions and House of Illustration trustee Kathleen Soriano, last year’s competition winner Finn Dean and Flora Craig from House of Illustration, together with Folio’s Production Director, Editorial Director and Art Director.
“I applaud the thought, skill and time that everyone put into their illustrations for the competition and hope to work with many of the entrants in the future! We were all particularly impressed by the intelligent responses to the text by the shortlist. Each has a unique style but is equally strong in technique and ingenuity,” said Folio Society Art Director Sheri Gee.
"A wonderfully varied collection of entries that were often surprising in their boldness and desire to depict the themes of the story and did a great job in capturing the atmosphere of the book," added last year’s Book Illustration Competition winner Finn Dean.
Reto Crameri graduated in visual communication from Geneva University of Art and Design. In 2012 he was awarded with a grant for book illustration by the City of Geneva. He has also performed live drawing and worked on playful visual settings for exhibitions.
Max Häring studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künste München in Munich, Germany, and has worked as an independent artist since 1983. He works in mixed media in pen, ink and acrylics then digitally adds shading.
Sean McSorley is a freelance illustrator, originally from Cumbria but now based in London. He graduated with a degree in English Literature at Queen Mary University of London in 2006, and in 2014 he completed an MA in Visual Arts: Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts. His clients have included Sony Television, Paramount and Universal Pictures. Sean’s work combines traditional ink drawing and printmaking with digital techniques, his subject matter often reflecting his interest in early- and mid-twentieth-century cinema and literature.
Kit Russell is a 23-year-old Scottish designer living in London. Having graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone college of Art & Design in 2013 with a First Class honours degree in Illustration, he has spent the last year offering freelance design services as well as interning at some of the top design agencies in London. Kit was runner up in last year’s Book Illustration Competition and also won ‘Best of Year’ in the D&AD student awards 2013.
Magdalena Szymaniec is a Polish illustrator currently residing in Richmond, VA. She will graduate Ringling College of Art and Design, majoring in Illustration, in 2014. Her digital work is inspired by traditional media including watercolour painting and printmaking. She aims to create decorative and intellectually stimulating illustrations. Symbolism and literature are her main inspirations for narrative work. She likes cats and David Bowie.
Bethany White is a 22-year-old artist and illustrator from Manchester. Her work aims to lift the veil on the esoteric and arcane, delving into the vast subjects of occult philosophy and the pantheons of ancient mythology. This is explored through the combination of highly controlled dot work, ungoverned chance textures, and a range of different print mediums. Since graduating from Manchester School of Art, Bethany has participated in group exhibitions across the United Kingdom and produced work for occult musicians. Her latest artwork will be released via the Italian record label ‘I Voidhangar Records’ towards the end of 2014.
Congratulations to all those short-listed and here are there fantastic illustrations. Which one would you award as winner? My personal favourite is bottom right.