You could be Neil Gaiman's new artist

Folio Book Illustration Award; illustrations for Neil Gaiman's book covers
(Image credit: @Cristina Bencina 2023 / @Evangeline Gallagher 2022)

The annual Folio Book Illustration Awards is now open for submissions to all artists or all kinds styles, anywhere. This is the prestigious awards created by The Folio Society designed to find and promote new illustrators.

The big news this year is author Neil Gaiman will be a guest just at the Folio Book Illustration Awards, which will shortlist six new artists, with the winning entry receiving £2,000 and five runners-up being awarded £500. But the real gem of a prize is the winner will also be commissioned to illustrate the interior art of the forthcoming limited edition of Gaiman's short stories.

If you're unaware of The Folio Society, this is a book publisher dedicated to crafting limited edition books with an emphasis on incredible art and innovative print processes. For examples, read my recent interview with award-winning illustrator Zoë van Dijk who created the art for a limited edition of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet; or my interview with Neil Packer, the artist behind The Folio Society's beautifully illustrated 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s first folio. 

Folio Book Illustration Awards; an angel falls out of the sun

Cristina Bencina won Folio Book Illustration Award 2023 for her illustration of Ursula K. Le Guin's novel The Fliers of Gy.  (Image credit: @Cristina Bencina 2023)

At the Folio Book Illustration Awards announcement Neil Gaiman said: "The Folio Society consistently makes some of the most beautiful books in the world. I'm thrilled that they will be making an original and unique collection of my stories, to sit on the shelves as an object of beauty or (I hope) taken off the shelves to be read and enjoyed."

Neil Gaiman is one of five judges, with last year's Folio Book Illustration Awards winner, Cristina Bencina, now on the panel. Last year the awards had 750 entries from 58 countries, and Cristina Bencina won for her illustration of Ursula K. Le Guin's novel The Fliers of Gy. Other judges this year are Folio Art Directors Sheri Gee and Raquel Leis Allion as well as Folio Society publisher Tom Walker.

"We're thrilled to have Neil Gaiman judging alongside us for this third iteration of the FBIA," said Tom Walker. "Folio has published many of Neil's novels, and to be working with him on a limited edition of his short stories is a dream come true. Rich in visual imagery, and a story to read over and again, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains is just so inviting for illustrators. We can't wait to see the range of artwork it inspires."

If you're inspired to enter this year's Folio Book Illustration Awards then maybe it's time to upgrade your kit, read my guide to the best drawing tablets to see what's on offer. Also, pick up some tips in our list of the best Procreate tutorials.

The Folio Book Illustration Awards closes at midnight UK time, on 3 April 2024. A longlist of 20 entries, selected by the judging panel, will be exhibited on The Folio Society website from June 2024 with the five runners-up and one winner announced online in July 2024. T&Cs available at foliosociety.com/FolioBIA.

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Ian Dean
Editor, Digital Arts & 3D

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & 3D at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.