The other night I was at the V&A Illustration Awards because Matthew Richardson had been nominated for the Best Illustrated Book Cover Award for his work on our edition of The Outsider. Actually – we arrived early and caught sight of the display – which meant we knew we had won in advance and did most of our jumping up and down in excitement before there was a crowd to witness it.
The Folio team still raised a cheer when Matthew won – we all felt he deserved it and were delighted to see our own judgement validated by the panel. It was also great hearing Moira Gemmill, V & A Director of Projects, Design and Estates, mention Folio’s impressive production standards.
It made Matthew a double winner, because he had won The Folio Society and House of Illustration annual award – the prize being a commission to illustrate The Outsider by Albert Camus. I had been one of the judges who selected Matthew on the basis of his three sample illustrations and binding design. Despite having been so impressed by Matthew’s work, we had never met in person, because I had gone on maternity leave the week before the award ceremony. So it was great to meet him in person – especially as I’ve been working with him on some new illustrations for a short story to appear in the next Folio magazine.
I have been asked to judge a few illustration awards – partly because The Folio Society has such a good name as a commissioner of illustrations. For our own illustration award, we deliberately reserve half the prizes for student illustrators in order to encourage fresh talent. Actually there’s no need for a ‘quota’, the young illustrators all won their places on merit.
I’m not allowed to say anything about who has won this year’s award – but I can say you should go and look at the sample illustrations from the shortlist. Once again we were very impressed by the work, and by the variety of interpretation. Do leave comments on what you think!