top of page

Competitions for Children's Book Illustrators

Updated: Jan 24

Finding the whole 'I want to be a children's author' process stressful? Check out my awesome, colorful, illustrated planner for children's book authors on Amazon.


Nowadays there are numerous opportunities for children’s book illustrators to showcase their skills and be handsomely rewarded for it! We have listed a selection of the top renowned children’s book competitions available for illustrators, to give you the best chance to achieve the recognition and success you deserve. We have categorized our competition between those that are free, those that have fees, and finally some general competitions for illustrators. Without further ado, let us explore a world of opportunities!

Competitions with entry fees


One of the most prestigious global children’s book competitions is the silent book contest. It cost approximately 50 Euro to enter and the deadline for entry is the 15th of February 2022. The Silent book contest was first formulated by renowned artist Gianni De Conno. Mr De Conno’s works have been showcased on a global scale, and have been exhibited in Japan, Italy, and the US. Gianni De Conno has also won numerous prestigious awards in his lifetime, with the inclusion of the ‘Illustrator of the year award 2005’. Mr De Conno was passionate about illustration and creating opportunities for young artists to creatively flourish. The unique challenge for potential competition candidates is to create a novel whose narrative relies solely on the use of imagery! All text is completely forbidden, and the story must be on a topic that appeals to as wide a target audience as possible.

Terms and Conditions

1. The competition is exclusively reserved for new and unpublished authors.

2. The narration must solely be carried out exclusively through illustrated images.

3. Applicants must be over 18 years old on the 15th February 2022.

4. Projects must be submitted by a deadline of the 15th of February 2022.

5. The Registration fee of 50 Euro made by the 15th of February 2022. This fee is not refundable.

6. Each author can submit up to three unpublished works.

7. The completed work can not contain words with the exclusion of the title. This strict requirement also excludes Photographs, pop up books, cartoons, comic strips and colouring books that will not be accepted.

8. The work must be completely original and unpublished.

9. The illustrations can be in black and white monochrome or colour.

10. The Project Dimensions are very specific. The project must be presented on double pages, with a format of 57 Cms in width and 28.5 cms in height (closed format 28.5×28.5cms and opening from right to left). The Number of double pages is prefixed: 14 internal double pages of 57×28. 5 cms, 1 double-page as frontispiece with dedication, and a front and back cover. You must not add bleed areas, margins, or crop marks.

11. The Project format – Each book submitted must be in PDF format. This Single digital file must be a maximum of 10 Mb in size high-quality PDF format.

12. The work must be anonymous with a Pseudonym chosen by the author.

13. Do not send paper/originals as they can't be returned.

Competition prize

The International Jury is nominated by the organization and is formed of nine high profile professionals from the literary, illustration and publishing world. The works of 8-14 finalists will be selected by March 2022. These works will be presented and exhibited at the Bologna Children’s book fair 2022. Then by reviewing the finalists the jury will select the winning project. The Winning book project will be published in October 2022 by Cathusia Edizioni Milan. The Winning Author will also receive a cash prize of 4000 Euro.

B. World Illustration awards

The world illustration awards have an impending deadline of the 14th of February 2022. The Awards focus on sourcing creative works and promoting illustrators on a globalized scale, alongside fostering a sense of solidarity amongst artists across the globe. Although there are numerous categories available for illustrators to enter work into, Children's book illustration features prominently as a category. Your work must cater for readers under 16 years of age. It cost illustrators 34 Euro for a single entry and 58 Euro per double entry.

Terms and Conditions

1. 34 Euro non-refundable entry fee.

2. Deadline 14th February 2022.

3. Select one of the 10 categories to enter your project into.

4. All illustrators in the competition must be over 18 years of age

5. The judge will look at criteria such as technical excellence/creativity / Deeper narrative meaning or message.

6. The format of your work can be in URL / moving animated project or gif! You can enter up to 5 separate images.

Competition Prize

The Overall winner of the competition will win 2000 pounds, a WIA trophy and a two-page marketing package in the directory of illustration which is valued at 4330 Dollars. However, there is a multiplicity of another enticing runner up prizes available which enable illustrators to showcase their work in the WIA catalogue and receive the WIA digital badge for their social media.

Free Competitions for Illustrators

A. The Penguin Cover Design Award 2022

The Prestigious publishing house Penguin is offering illustrators the opportunity to enter the Penguin Cover Design award competition for free!! The closing date is Thursday 12th May 2022 at 2 pm GMT. This gives all prospective illustrators plenty of time to brandish their brushes and get working! If that wasn't enticing enough, Penguin is also offering applicants the opportunity to gain a six-month mentorship with a designer in Penguin Design studios, and a design kit package worth 1000 Pounds! This potential award allows newbie illustrators to land their first role. You could be involved in the creative formation of real book cover design briefs! Are you interested?! We know we are! Let’s look at some of the rules and regulations.

Terms and Conditions

1. The competition is open to all aspiring designers/ illustrators who haven't had significant experience in a creative role.

2. Applicants must be 18 or over to enter the competition.

3. Artists have a choice of numerous briefs which include Children book illustrations, Adult fiction / Adult nonfiction.

4. Entries can be submitted via the submissions form

5. Entrants are limited to submitting only one design into any of the above categories.

6. Submissions –Candidates should enter digitally via the entry page. If entries are submitted via other methods such as email / Hardcopy should still be in the format of a high-Resolution PDF, 300 DPI, CMYK.

Competition prize

The Shortlisted entrants will be contacted by email Thursday 28th April 2022. A first, second, and third prize winner will also be selected by Judges. The winners will also be announced on the Penguin Cover Design Award website in June 2022. The first prize winner of each of the three categories will receive a 6-month mentorship programme, with a member of Penguins Art Department (dates to be confirmed) The first prize winner will also receive design equipment and access to software to the value of 1000 pounds. The second prize winner will receive design equipment and inspiration tools to a value of 500 pounds. Third prize winners will receive design equipment and inspiration tools to a value of 35 pounds. Penguin also features the winning illustrations on their website. This opportunity to gain coverage and work with a prominent publishing house should not be missed!

B. The HI Illustration 2022 Competition

The Hiii Illustration 2022 Competition is an International illustration competition open to all illustrators, creative professionals, and agencies with a broad range of categories available including children’s book illustration.

Terms and conditions

1. The competition deadline is the 21st of February 2022.

2. The Competition is free to enter but if a candidate progresses to the second round the fee is 20 dollars.

3. The maximum number of entries an illustrator can submit is 10.

4. Download the entry form to enter, complete the form and email the application via

5. The submission image is saved as JPG/GIF/PNG, 72 dpi or more, RGB (not CMYK) 1024 pixels on the longest side, less than 1 MB.

Competition Prize

The main award granted for winners of the competition is that they are published in the Annual HII illustration 2022 online catalogue, and their works will form part of a series of exhibitions across various cities! It is an opportunity not to be missed.

C. Apilas first printing award

The Apilas first printing award competition is open to all Children’s book illustrators completely free of charge! However potential candidates better hurry fast as the impending January 21st deadline is near approaching. The competition was first formulated by Apila Ediciones publishing house in Spain and was created to foster a creative space for illustrators to further enrich Children’s literature.

Terms and Conditions

1. Illustrators must submit their projects in either Spanish or English.

2. The Project can be in any format, but it can’t exceed 36 pages.

3. The project is open to illustrators worldwide who have not published a book with an ISBN.


The lucky winner of the Apila Ediciones project will receive 4700 US dollars, alongside featuring in the online exhibition! Similarly, their book will be published by the Apila Ediciones publishing house.

D. Wonderbly Children’s book publishers

Wonderbly is a renowned children's book publisher who is currently on the lookout for children’s books illustrators. It is completely free to submit work to Wonderbly at any stage, and winning entries will be shown cased on Wonderbly's Instagram channel and considered for upcoming projects!

Additional General Competitions

As well as the specialised children’s books illustration competitions mentioned above, there are also several other generalised competitions available for illustrators/ content creators and publishers to enter. We have listed some of them down below.

A. The Communication arts Competition

The Communication Arts competition offers a broad range of creative professionals the opportunity to showcase their work. The Cost of entry is usually dependant on category but averages at about 40 Dollars a submission.

Main Categories for illustrators / Content creators and associated pricing

· Advertising – This includes illustrated advertisement posters, music, product packaging –One submission cost 40 Dollars. A series of 5 costs 80 Dollars.

· Books – This would include the design of book covers/ Jackets /Interiors. One submission costs 40 Dollars. A series of 5 costs 80 Dollars

· Editorial – This includes the potential design of magazines/newspapers. This cost 40 Dollars. A series of 5 costs 80 Dollars

· Institutional – This would include commercial submissions such as Company association publications/annual reports. One submission cost 40 Dollars. A Series of five costs 80 Dollars

· Motion / animation -This category encapsulates time-based media/ film /television etc. It costs 90 Dollars per single submission and 180 dollars for a series.

· Self-Promotion – The category would include promotion for illustrator’s design firms, ad agencies, art schools, printers, and paper companies. It costs 40 dollars for a single submission and 80 dollars for a 5-piece series.

· Student work – This category includes student Illustration/animation school assignments. It cost 20 dollars for one submission, 40 dollars for a series.

Terms and Conditions

1. Entries format -All Digital Images must be RGB in JPG format with a maximum size of 2 MB. Motion / Animation Entries must be in MOV /MP4 /MPG format maximum size 500 B

2. The competition any illustration first published or produced from January 2021, through to January 2022 is eligible.

3. Descriptions must be written in English below the illustration.


The winner of the Communication Arts competition will receive a personalized trophy and an award cert. The Jury is composed of prestigious members of the publishing industry thus will be an excellent opportunity to network whilst showcasing material! Winning entries will be distributed Worldwide in the communication Arts illustration annual.

B. ADC 101st Annual awards

The ADC 101st Annual awards focus on entries submitted by Industry professionals, including freelancers. Part of the one club creativity is the oldest running industry award show celebrating a wide variety of different illustrative art forms, including Advertising / digital media/ graphic and publication design.

Terms and conditions

1. January 31st, 2022 is the deadline for the competition.

2. It cost 100 dollars for a single submission, and 150 Dollars for a series.

3. A written project descriptor is required on all entries which are 300 words in length.

4. PDF files are the only format accepted through the online entry system.

5. All images must be High and graphics must be in a single file.


Finalists will receive one of the below awards.

1. Gold /silver/bronze cube with the artist’s work also published in the online archives

2. Artists will receive a merit award with their work also published in the online archives

C. The Applied Arts 2022 Illustration Awards

The applied arts 2022 competition is Canada’s largest multidisciplinary award. It costs 30 dollars to enter and is open to all visual content creators/ illustrators.

Terms and Conditions

1. 30 Dollars for applicants to enter.

2. There are 3 Main entry categories - Illustration/ Motion/ Youngblood and community

3. Impending deadline of February the 4th 2022.


Prizes are awarded by an independent jury of award-winning creative professionals. Winners’ works are published in the applied arts illustration Award 22 issue. They also receive a personalized awards cert.

D. Pixarra Art Competition.

The Pixarra art competition is a free contest open for entries from illustrators. It is an International digital art contest that promotes 2d and 3d digital paintings created with specialised digital software. The main terms and conditions are outlined below. The deadline for this competition is the 24th of January.

Terms and Conditions

· Traditional photographic pieces /photo manipulations collages /animation are not accepted.

· Illustrators can only enter digital images made with digital software.

· Illustrators can use whichever software they wish and there is no limit to the number of images that can be produced.

· The Competition main theme is ‘winter’.

· File size can’t exceed 10 MBS.

· Only png and Jpeg image files are accepted.

Prizes / Awards

· 1st place Twisted brush pro studio.

· 2nd place pixarra studio bundle 3.

· 3rd place pixarra studio product.

E. Aesthetica Art Competition

The Aesthetica Art competition is open to illustrators/artists on a globalized scale. The deadline for submissions is the 31st of August 22 and it cost 25 Dollars to enter.

Terms and Conditions

1. 25 Dollars entry fee.

2. All genres including photography, sculpture, installation, digital media video paintings are welcome to enter.

3. All submissions must be entered by August 31st, 2022.


The first prize is a monetary award of 10 000 Euro. The work of finalists also will have coverage in the Aesthetica Magazine which is a great opportunity to gain recognition from a reputable source.

F. Oscars Book Prize For publishers

The Oscars book prize 2022 prize caters for publishers and is accepting submissions until 21st January 2022 from publishers on behalf of talented children’s book illustrators!

Terms and conditions

1. The Closing date for applications is Friday 21st January 2022.

2. Publishers may enter up to 5 works.

3. The Works must be suitable for 0–5-year-olds.

4. The Books must have been published between 1st Jan 21 and 31st Dec 21.

5. All Books must be published by the established publishing house.

6. The Authors and illustrators must be British.

7. Authors and illustrators can’t be employees of the evening standard or Amazon.

Prizes/ Awards

Judges are looking for the best pre-school book of the year that celebrates a child's love for magical stories. The Judges will select a shortlist of at least five books and one winner. The prize for winners has mysteriously not been announced yet!


Overall, we can conclude from this review that there are numerous opportunities for both budding and seasoned children’s book illustrators to showcase their work, with a plethora of reputable organisations. Similarly, the pressure of an impending deadline may pique your creative interests and help you to build your fantastic unique portfolio! We wish you the very best of luck in whichever competition you may choose.

Author: Jessica Mc Carthy


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page