Off the Page, with Byron Eggenschwiler

Byron Eggenschwiler (Photo by Kelly Johnson)
Byron Eggenschwiler (Photo by Kelly Johnson)

Off the Page is a regular interview series produced by the National Magazine Awards Foundation. Today we catch up with Byron Eggenschwiler, five-time National Magazine Award-winning illustrator whose work has been published in Swerve, Maisonneuve, Cottage Life, Canadian Business, Up Here and other Canadian magazines.

NMAF: You call Alberta home and graduated from the Alberta College of Art + Design. Like so many other graduates of programs at ACAD and the Ontario College of Art and Design, you’ve found great success in the Canadian magazine industry. How has your education helped shape your art and your future as a magazine illustrator?

Byron: My education was pretty invaluable, it gave me an environment that encouraged exploration of media and ideas and forced me to sit down and start thinking about the kind of work I wanted to make. The program at ACAD was really great for teaching us about both design and illustration and how the two intersect. Having both those backgrounds has been helpful in my illustration work.

I actually didn’t even know illustration was a career or what it really meant until going through the program. I was lucky to have teachers who encouraged me and steered me in the right direction and some really talented friends in my classes that challenged me to push myself out of my comfort zone to make better work.

"Be Worried. Don't Be Happy" by Byron Eggenscwhiler (Swerve). Gold Medal, Spot Illustration, 2008.
“Be Worried–Don’t Be Happy” by Byron Eggenscwhiler (Swerve). Gold Medal, Spot Illustration, 2008.

NMAF: A year after winning your first NMA for Spot Illustration in Swerve for “Be Worried–Don’t be Happy” in 2008, you were the first-ever winner of the award for Best New Visual Creator [now known as Best New Illustrator or Photographer] for “Tales from Riverheights Terrace” (also in Swerve). How did this recognition help propel your career?

Byron: I am unsure how these things directly affect future work but it helps to get your name out into the world a bit more, which can’t hurt. It is a great event celebrating the Canadian magazine industry and an honour for me to be acknowledged for the work I am doing within that [industry]. It gives a guy a confidence boost to keep moving forward in an otherwise fairly solitary profession.

NMAF: You have a distinct and recognizable style. How much direction do you take from your clients in the magazine industry and how much of your own creative voice goes into designing your illustrations for each piece?

Byron: It can be a balance and depends on the magazine itself, but sometimes an art director has something specific in mind for an idea and I work with that. Sometimes that can be a jumping off point for an even better idea. There are times where there is a bit of back and forth along the way but most of the time it is left in my hands to see where I can take a piece and how I want to finish it. Compromising is part of the job and hopefully no matter what it still carries a bit of me with it at the end.

"Death of a Salesman" by Byron Eggenschwiler (Canadian Business). Silver Medal, Illustration, 2011.
“Death of the Salesman” by Byron Eggenschwiler (Canadian Business). Silver Medal, Illustration, 2011.

NMAF: Many of your pieces seem to be more of an article within an illustration as opposed to an illustration meant to accompany an article. How does conceptualization for some of these, more image-heavy, pieces work?

Byron: I start by distilling an article down to a core point or phrase and then start sketching whatever ideas come to mind with that theme in the back of my mind. I don’t tend to have too many thoughts until I can see the forms taking shape on the page and it is somewhere in that mental wandering and playing around that ideas will emerge for me. Depending on the feel of the story itself this can lead off in different directions, and as long as that initial idea is still there I am pretty open to anything.

I like the idea of creating a new story with my illustrations to tell the author’s story. I think it can add another layer to the article and enrich it.

NMAF: When drawing, do you aim to create an image that contextually matches the text of the article, or does the tone or theme of the piece dictate what imagery will accompany it?

Byron: I like to read an article a few times to get an overall feel for the content and then decide how I want to approach it. If the tone is more serious or if it is humorous it will have a big influence on my thinking of how to approach the piece. I find the end result is much better if I can keep myself open to surprises through the sketching phase and let thoughts show up no matter how out-there they are. I try to make work that captures the feeling you get when you read the story and will speak to you with or without the text.

"Post-Secondary Distress" by Byron Eggenscwhiler (More). Gold Medal, Spot Illustration, 2011
“Post-Secondary Distress” by Byron Eggenscwhiler (More). Gold Medal, Spot Illustration, 2011

Byron Eggenscwhiler is an award-winning illustrator based in Calgary. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Discover, More Magazine, BusinessWeek, National Post, O, The Oprah Magazine, LA Weekly, Canadian Business, Swerve, Runner’s World, Wired, The Walrus, Maisonneuve, Quill & Quire, Uppercase Gallery, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers & more. See more of his work at byronegg.com.

Special thanks to Melissa Myers for conducting this interview with Byron for the NMAF.

Read more about the National Magazine Award for Best New Illustrator or Photographer.

Byron Eggenschwiler created the image for the 33rd annual National Magazine Awards gala in 2010.
Byron Eggenschwiler created the image for the 33rd annual National Magazine Awards gala in 2010.

Byron Eggenschwiler in the National Magazine Awards archive:

How the Nest was Done” (Cottage Life); Honourable Mention, Illustration 2013
Post-Secondary Distress” (More); Gold Medal, Spot Illustration, 2011
Towns on the Brink” (Up Here); Honourable Mention, Illustration, 2011
A Family Falling Out” (More); Honourable Mention, Spot Illustration, 2011
Death of the Salesman” (Canadian Business); Silver Medal, Illustration, 2011
Can You Have a Midlife Crisis on a Bicycle?” (Swerve); Silver Medal, Spot Illustration, 2010
Outlaw Country” (Maisonneuve); Honourable Mention, Spot Illustration, 2009
Be Worried–Don’t Be Happy” (Swerve); Gold Medal, Spot Illustration, 2008

The National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer

Are you an emerging Canadian magazine journalist or creative non-fiction writer? Did you publish one of your first major stories in 2014 in a Canadian consumer magazine, university magazine or literary journal? Chances are you’re eligible to be named Canada’s Best New Magazine Writer from the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

The National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer goes to the writer whose early work in Canadian magazines (print, online or tablet) shows the highest degree of craft and promise.

Last year’s winner, Catherine McIntrye, published an investigative story in THIS Magazine about cancer rates in New Brunswick and correlations to heavy industry. Read our interview with Catherine about her story and ambition to become a magazine journalist.

The 2012 winner, Sierra Skye Gemma, published a personal essay about grief in the literary journal The New Quarterly. Read our interview with Sierra about her approach to creative writing and how she came to enter her story for a National Magazine Award.

Previous finalists and winners have been published in Ryerson Review of Journalism, The Walrus, Maisonneuve, Prairie Fire, Chatelaine, Alberta Views, NOW Magazine, Toronto Life, Maclean’s and more.

ELIGIBILITY
Eligible work must have been published in a Canadian magazine (print, online or tablet) between January 1 and December 31, 2014, and must be at least 1000 words in length. Open to non-fiction work only. Articles published in university/college magazines are eligible. Candidates must not have published any magazine work longer than 1000 words prior to 2013. The intent is to restrict this award to students and magazine writers with a maximum of 2 years’ experience in professional journalism. One entry per person. See the NMAF’s general rules for further information about eligible publications.

HOW TO ENTER
Submit now at magazine-awards.com. Submissions may be made by the writer or by their publisher, editor or teacher. Entrants must complete the online application and submit required hard copies (see below). The deadline for applications including all required hard copies is January 19. The cost to enter is only $25 +HST.

REQUIREMENTS

  • Upload a PDF of your story during the online application.
  • Submit in hard copy four (4) sets of original tear sheets and four (4) copies of a letter of reference from a teacher, editor, mentor or colleague which attests to the candidate’s eligibility and provides context for the work submitted. Both the article and letter are reviewed by the judges.
  • Pay the submission fee ($25 + HST) by cheque or credit card.

FINALISTS AND WINNERS
A shortlist of 3 finalists will be announced on May 4, and each finalist will receive recognition in the NMAF’s publications and a certificate. The winner will be revealed at the 38th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 5.

PRIZE
$500 cash; plus the right to call yourself a National Magazine Award-winning writer. We’ll interview you on our blog and promote you and your writing across Canada.

More information and to submit:
magazine-awards.com/bnmw 

Don’t forget the deadline: January 19, 2015.

What’s New for the 2014 National Magazine Awards

For the 2014 NMAs, upload single-page spread PDFs of your complete article for all written categories. No more photocopies!
For the 2014 NMAs, upload single-page-spread PDFs of your complete article for written categories. No more photocopies!

As the National Magazine Awards Foundation announces the 2014 Call for Entries, there are a few important changes this year.

Each year the NMAF reviews its awards program in consultation with our stakeholders, participants, judges and industry experts in order to ensure that we continue to provide the best service to the Canadian magazine industry. This year is no exception, and we want to thank those stakeholders who took time to contact us, respond to surveys and participate in our round-table discussions to give their voice to proposed changes to the National Magazine Awards. We at the NMAF are looking forward to another great year of evaluating, recognizing and awarding the best in Canadian magazines.
Joyce Byrne, President, NMAF

THE END OF PHOTOCOPYING!
Yes, that’s right—you’ll save countless hours and avoid numerous paper cuts (and so will we) as we no longer require six photocopied, collated sets of every written-category entry.  Instead, we are moving to a print-on-demand format, which means you’ll need to upload an 8.5″x11″ printable PDF for each entry in written categories.  (Double-page spreads are preferred for visual and integrated categories.) Please read the “How to Package” instructions carefully as hard copies are still required for whole-book and some special and integrated categories.

ONE NEW AWARD: BEST MAGAZINE BRAND 
Magazine publishers work hard to extend their brand across multiple platforms to attract readers and grow their business, and this year the NMAF will recognize this with the award for Best Magazine Brand. Whether you’re advancing your publishing mandate with mobile apps, radio and television broadcasts, live events, SIPs, social media campaigns or other innovations in audience engagement, we want to recognize your work and showcase your brand to the industry. Read more about this new award and its submissions requirements.

10% FEWER CATEGORIES
We hear you: everyone wants fewer categories, but no one wants us to cut their categories. So we did our research, talked to stakeholders, reviewed past entries, discussed many options and determined the following:

  • How-To and Service Journalism: What was 4 categories is now 2 – Service: Lifestyle and Service: Family, Health & Personal Finance. Submitters will find a home for their entries in these refurbished categories.
  • Blogs and Columns: The former Blogs category has been merged with Columns, so that submissions from both print and online columns are eligible in the new Columns category. Blogs that are more curated creations of dynamic and thematic content may be eligible in the category Editorial Package (Web).
  • Creative Photography and Beauty: These categories, which were created in recent years, have not received enough participation to merit continuation. Submitters in these categories will find their work may be eligible for the awards Still-Life Photography, Fashion, Portrait Photography and/or Words & Pictures.

Please review the  complete list and definitions of categories before submitting your work for this year’s National Magazine Awards.

A LITTLE HELP FOR SMALL MAGAZINES
We understand that smaller magazines have a tough time competing when budgets are tight. So this year we’re introducing a Small Magazine Rebate—one FREE entry to every Canadian magazine whose annual revenue is $200,000 or less. Read more about how to apply for this great opportunity for small and literary magazines.

 A NEW NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS GALA 
In the spring of 2015 we’ll be announcing a few changes to the annual awards gala with the aim of providing a more enjoyable, affordable and rewarding experience for guests. We’re also accepting suggestions from you about how we can improve the gala experience, and who you’d like to see as Master of Ceremonies. Get in touch with us with your ideas.

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2014 National Magazine Awards. Early-bird deadline: January 11. Final deadline: January 19.

Call for Entries: 2014 National Magazine Awards

CfE_Horiz

The 2014 National Magazine Awards are open for submissions. Enter your best magazine work for awards in 45 written, visual, integrated and special categories. Digital content is eligible in most categories. The early-bird deadline for entries is January 11. Final deadline (including all required hard copies) is January 19.

Before you submit, you’ll want to review the categories, rules and FAQ, and you’ll also need the following:

  • Name and email of the author/creator and editor/art director of each piece;
  • Title, date and publication of each piece;
  • PDF of each piece (printable, single-page spreads 8.5 x 11 for written categories; single- or double-page spreads for all others);
  • Method of payment (cheque or credit card);
  • Statement of editorial mandate (for new magazines and for certain categories).

Visit magazine-awards.com to submit.

A few changes this year:

No more photocopies! All written categories except Editorial Package no longer require 6 sets of photocopies. Submit only a printable, single-page-spread (8.5 x 11) PDF version of each entry.

One new category: Best Magazine Brand. This Special Award will go to the publisher whose brand best delivers on their editorial mandate through at least three platforms. The platforms may include a print or digital magazine, a website, SIP(s), mobile app(s), tablet, social media, television shows, radio broadcasts, live events, innovations in print or digital media and other forms of audience engagement.

We’ve also reduced by 10% the total number of categories. Read more about What’s New This Year.

Other important information:

Small Magazine Rebate – One free entry to small magazines with less than $200,000 in annual revenue.

Call for Judges – Nominate yourself or a colleague to serve on a jury.

Guide to Entering Digital Content – Information for digital magazines and content.

Magazine of the Year – Awards for best overall magazine, best tablet magazine and best magazine website.

Best New Creators – Awards for Best New Magazine Writer and Best New Illustrator or Photographer.

Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement – Individual award for innovation and creativity in support of the Canadian magazine industry.

Read more and submit at magazine-awards.com

Deadlines:
January 11 – Early bird
January 19 – Final

En marge, avec Dominique Forget

Dominique Forget (photo :  Martine Doyon)
Dominique Forget (photo : Martine Doyon)

La FNPMC a le plaisir de présenter « En marge », une série d’entretiens réalisés avec des auteurs primés aux Prix du magazine canadien. Pour amorcer la série, la Fondation s’est entretenue avec la journaliste scientifique Dominique Forget.

Maintes fois récompensée aux Prix du magazine, Mme Forget raflé pas moins de cinq prix: quatre mentions honorables et une médaille d’or. En 2012, elle a récolté trois mentions honorables pour des textes publiés dans autant de magazines. Lors de la plus récente édition des prix, elle s’est encore une fois illustrée, avec l’équipe de Québec Science, en remportant la médaille d’or dans la catégorie Dossiers thématiques : imprimés.

Par Dominique Forget et al (Québec Science), Médaille d’or, 2013, Dossiers thématiques

FNPMC : Québec Science a accumulé les honneurs aux Prix du Magazine canadien au fil des ans. Cette année, votre équipe a remporté la médaille d’or dans la catégorie Dossiers thématiques- imprimés. Que fait la force de Québec Science à votre avis?

Dominique : Québec Science occupe une niche peu exploitée. Il est le seul magazine au Canada qui aborde des sujets de société sous l’angle des sciences.

L’équipe est petite, mais dévouée. Malgré les pressions grandissantes des annonceurs pour publier du contenu payé dans le magazine, Québec Science arrive à préserver farouchement son indépendance et à miser sur des sujets qui comptent.

Continue reading

Important dates for the 2014 National Magazine Awards

At the National Magazine Awards Foundation we are getting very excited about the upcoming year, our 38th recognizing and rewarding the very best in Canadian magazines. We’ll be announcing our call for entries on December 1. Here are the important dates for the coming year:

Dec 1: Call for Entries
Jan 5: Small Magazine Rebate Deadline
Jan 11: Early Bird Submissions Deadline
Jan 19: Final Submissions Deadline
May 4: Nominations Announcement
Jun 5: 38th National Magazine Awards Gala
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As always, there are many ways to keep current with news and updates from the National Magazine Awards: sign up for our e-newsletter; follow us on Twitter @MagAwards and Facebook; and come back and visit this blog often.
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Starting next week, you can submit your entries to the National Magazine Awards at magazine-awards.com.

New Edmonton city mag The Yards launches in December

A brand-new “hyperlocal” city magazine is coming to Edmonton readers next week. The Yards, edited by National Magazine Award-winning writer Omar Mouallem, promises to be a “quarterly glossy/newsprint publication [that] focuses on cultural, planning and social issues in central Edmonton, particularly in Downtown and Oliver, two neighbourhoods experiencing enormous growth over the decade.” The magazine’s name is a tribute to the rail yards which pass through those two dynamic neighbourhoods.

Said Mouallem via press release:

“Newspapers and newsrooms are shrinking, but there’s still hunger for local news—especially in a city growing as steadily as Edmonton. Nowhere is this excitement and uncertainty more visible than in the city’s core. So as a hyperlocal magazine we can home in on that growth, in on our backyards, and we can understand it and access it better than anyone else.”

The first issue will launch next week in a partnership between the Central Edmonton News Society and the Oliver and Downtown Edmonton Community Leagues. In addition to Mouallem as editor, the staff includes Vikki Wiercinski as designer and the first issue will include contributions from Jennifer Cockrall-King, Tim Querengesser, Tyler Biard, Studio Tipi and Scott McKeen.

Find out more at theyardsyeg.ca.

The call for entries for the 2014 National Magazine Awards is coming on December 1.