V&A Illustration Awards crowns George Butler

George Butler has won the V&A Illustration Awards’ top prize. The reportage illustrator, who began his career in Afghanistan, won the editorial category for his series Syria: the point of no return, before securing the overall crown

George Butler has won the V&A Illustration Awards’ top prize.The reportage illustrator, who began his career in Afghanistan, won the editorial category before taking the overall crown for his series Syria: the point of no return (published by the Guardian).

The series of drawings was made in Syria in June 2012 over a week (above image shows children examining the burnt-out remains of a Syrian army tank, below shows life in Azaz two weeks after an attack).

The awards included 18 shortlisted illustrators in editorial, book cover, book and student categories. The Book cover award was handed to Pietari Posti for Swallows and Amazons (Vintage), Anna and Elena Balbusso won the book illustration award for Eugene Onegin (Folio Society) and Grace Helmer secured the best student illustration for her interpretation of the Primo Levi short story The Fugitive, with runner-up Minho Kwon awarded for the The Neo Arts and Crafts Movement series of images.

Pietari Posti‘s book cover for publisher Vintage’s Swallows and Amazons

Illustration by Anna and Elena Balbusso for the Folio Society’s Eugene Onegin

Images from Grace Helmer‘s series illustrating Primo Levi’s short story The Fugitive

Student category runner-up by Minho Kwon

Butler says of his drawings, that, done in situ, they “are not designed to compete with news teams or photographers but I hope offer an insight into how people react at a wholly vulnerable time”, ‘and the judges deemed his work “Powerful reportage, brilliantly captured. Very skilful given the speed at which he must have had to work”.

For all entries and shortlisted work, visit the V&A website.

Pink Floyd fans may recognise the cover of our June issue. It’s the original marked-up artwork for Dark Side of the Moon: one of a number of treasures from the archive of design studio Hipgnosis featured in the issue, along with an interview with Aubrey Powell, co-founder of Hipgnosis with the late, great Storm Thorgerson. Elsewhere in the issue we take a first look at The Purple Book: Symbolism and Sensuality in Contemporary Illustration, hear from the curators of a fascinating new V&A show conceived as a ‘walk-in book’ plus we have all the regular debate and analysis on the world of visual communications.

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  • George Butler’s work is fabulous. I love his use of white space – what isn’t there is as powerful as what is.

  • George Butler deserves the award, as his illustrations are the master pieces of art. He is successfully explaining the war circumstances in Syria. I think booklet illustrations are the most difficult part of this field, because you have to describe the complete theme of the booklet in the illustration.