NMA 2015 Nominees: Top 7 Canadian Magazine Illustrations

Canada’s National Magazine Awards will be presented on June 5 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto, and among the prizes to be bestowed is the award for best Illustration or Photo Illustration. The finalists were announced on May 4 and include a great mix of first-time nominees and previous award winners.

The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed at the National Magazine Awards gala on June 5 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto. [Tickets & Gala Info].

And the nominees for Illustration & Photo Illustration are…

Gérard DuBois
Gerard is a 3-time National Magazine Award winner, most recently in 2012 for Spot Illustration, and also designed the cover art for the 31st annual National Magazine Awards in 2008.

Gérard DuBois
Learning to Fish
CPA Magazine

Raymond Biesinger
Raymond has previously been nominated for 3 National Magazine Awards for work in The Walrus, Alberta Views and Report on Small Business. This year he won 2 nominations: one for a cover illustration in Precedent, which is also nominated for Best Cover at this year’s Kenneth R. Wilson Awards; and the second which appeared in Reader’s Digest.

Raymond Biesinger
The Well-Oiled Machine
Precedent

Raymond Biesinger
Stop Shouting!
Reader’s Digest

Pascal Blanchet
Pascal won the 2010 National Magazine Award Gold Medal for illustration, for artwork published in enRoute, and is nominated this year for a cover illustration in the literary magazine Taddle Creek.

Pascal Blanchet
The Orphan
Taddle Creek

Byron Eggenschwiler
Byron is a 5-time National Magazine Award winner. As a rising star in magazine illustration, he won the 2008 National Magazine Award for Best New Visual Creator. Read our interview with Byron in which he talked about the process of creating illustrations for magazine stories.

Byron Eggenschwiler
Best Shot
The Walrus

Min Gyo Chung
Min Gyo is an emerging talent in magazine illustration who is also nominated this year for the award for Best New Illustrator or Photographer for artwork in Corporate Knights. This is his first National Magazine Award nomination.

Min Gyo Chung
Expos Nation
The Walrus

Melinda Josie
Melinda is another rising talent in Canadian magazines and one of three nominees this year whose work is published in The Walrus. This is her first National Magazine Award nomination.

Melinda Josie
Who Will Water The Wallflowers?
The Walrus


Who do you think is most worthy of this award? Leave us a comment or tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA15.

You can view the complete articles of all National Magazine Awards nominees at magazine-awards.com.

Tickets are on sale for the 38th annual National Magazine Awards gala, Friday June 5 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto.

NMA 2015 Nominees: Meet the Finalists for Best New Illustrator or Photographer

The 38th annual National Magazine Awards are coming up on June 5 and Canadian magazine creators and readers are getting excited to see whose work will be recognized at this year’s gala.

It’s exciting to see the nominees for our best new creator categories (Best New Photographer or Illustrator and Best New Magazine Writer) as we’re exposed to some of the Canadian magazine industry’s great, emerging talent.

The finalists have been announced and this year’s jury has nominated three finalists for the Best New Photographer or Illustrator award, sponsored by Red Point Media. The winner will be announced at the National Magazine Awards gala on June 5 in Toronto.  [Tickets & Gala Info].

Get to know the three finalists for Best New Photographer or Illustrator:

Hudson Christie

Hudson Christie,  A Portrait of the Artist with Testicles in Hand,  Maisonneuve

Gifted with a unique style and creative interpretation of the written word, Hudson Christie has been nominated for the Best New Photographer or Illustrator award after his piece “A Portrait of the Artist With Testicles in Hand” appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Maisonneuve. Since graduating from OCAD University in 2014, he has also worked with The New York Times, ESPN Magazine and the Association of Registered Graphic Designers.

This illustrator has a distinctive and clear voice that will attract notice from audiences and designers. He uses wit and humour to address a provocative subject and he technique is a fresh and a unique approach to form. — National Magazine Awards jury

His work combines drawing, sculpting, photography and digital media, which he uses to turn theatrical three-dimensional settings into two-dimensional experiences within a magazine. He offers a fresh, new approach to traditional illustration and has a distinct, clear voice that is hard to ignore. Christie is unafraid to push boundaries or take risks with his work and has proven he can approach provocative subjects with wit and humour.

He works hard to ensure the concept precisely reflects the story and has a natural ability to find the most colourful details described in a piece, and then breathes life into them visually.

Min Gyo Chung

Min Gyo Chung,  Under The Climate,  Corporate Knights

His sophisticated and elegant approach to illustrating the link between mental health and climate change in the Summer 2014 issue of Corporate Knights is what earned Min Gyo Chung a nomination for Best new Illustrator or Photographer. In addition to Corporate Knights, his work has graced the pages of many other National Magazine Award-winning magazines such as The Walrus, Precedent and Cottage Life.

This entry demonstrated a sophisticated conceptual approach to complex subject matter. The communication is simple and elegant. The content and composition are thoughtfully linked and the image distills ideas to their essential form. — National Magazine Awards jury

Min has been named one of the “100 Best” in Creative Quarterly’s hardcover annual for 2014, graduating from the illustration program at OCAD in the same year. He has won numerous awards including the grand prize in last year’s Adobe Design Achievement Awards and also made CMYK Magazine’s top 100 list of new creatives.

Min’s ability to distill ideas to their essential form and take a thoughtful approach to complex issues help to further distinguish his skills in seamlessly uniting content with composition. His confident and deceptively simple aesthetic of work deceives the audience of his youthful age.

Min Gyo Chung is also nominated in the Illustration & Photo Illustration category for “Expos Nation,” which was published in The Walrus.

Kiana Hayeri
Kiana’s work demonstrates the photojournalist’s instinct to anticipate and frame moments loaded with narrative and meaning, as was shown by her photographs which accompanied the story “Mission Accomplished” in the March 2014 issue of Report on Business. Kiana Kayeri’s photographs, in which she travelled to Afghanistan to shoot, supplement the story of a Canadian cellphone company in Afghanistan.

A young photographer with an old soul. Kiana’s pictures connect beautifully with the story. Alone they could tell a story but alongside the writer’s work they compliment and elevate the story. — National Magazine Awards jury

Since graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University in 2011, she has been featured in numerous exhibitions and has an extensive list of awards and achievements. She has held four solo exhibitions, both in North America and abroad, including one at the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression 2012 Gala at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Her work has also been featured in Newsweek, Le Monde, Time Magazine and the CBC.

Kiana Hayeri,  Mission Accomplished,  Report on Business

Hayeri has documented her personal struggle of a family living apart, as she immigrated to Canada from Iran when she was a teenager. She later returned to Tehran, where she began her career as a freelance photographer. She currently resides in Kabul, Afghanistan where she is available for assignments.


Who do you think is most worthy of this award? Leave us a comment or tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA15.

You can view the complete articles of all National Magazine Awards nominees at magazine-awards.com.

Tickets are on sale for the 38th annual National Magazine Awards gala, Friday June 5 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto.

Special thanks to Leah Jensen for her reporting.

Off the Page, with Gracia Lam and the Spot Illustration

Gracia Lam, by Gracia Lam.
Gracia Lam, by Gracia Lam.

Off the Page is a regular interview series produced by the National Magazine Awards Foundation. Today we’re chatting with illustrator Gracia Lam, whose work has been published in Maisonneuve, The Walrus, More, Corporate Knights, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic and others. At last year’s National Magazine Awards, Gracia won both the gold and silver awards for Spot Illustration for two pieces of work published in Maisonneuve, the first illustrator ever to achieve that distinction.

NMAF: The spot illustration holds a special place in the makeup of a magazine. Diminutive, often playful, sometimes underrated in comparison to larger elements of artwork. What do you think makes spot illustration such a fundamental component of a magazine story? 

Gracia Lam

Gracia Lam: I think that spot illustrations are a splash of colour within a sea of text, constructing direction or a break for the reader’s eye. Within a confined space, it is carefully conceived to enhance the content of an article. It assists in the creation of tone and mood, and is used purposefully to amplify a reader’s senses and experience.

NMAF: You achieved an unprecedented feat at last year’s National Magazine Awards, winning both the Gold and Silver medals in Spot Illustration for two different works published in Maisonneuve. The jury awarded gold to your spot illustration accompanying a story called “The Elite Yellow Peril,” which is a very evocative work. What was your creative vision for this piece, and was it created specifically for the text or did you have a broader idea in mind when you created it?

Gracia: I often describe my two-dimensional pieces of illustrations as a short film. In film, the story is narrated through multiple frames and over a time period; my illustrations reveal the climax of a story in one frame.

My vision for the “The Elite Yellow Peril” was to create a connection with the viewer that is immediate and impactful. To achieve this, I created an illustration with imageries and representations as closely related to the text as possible.

NMAF: The article that featured your Silver winning spot, “The Tar-Sands Trap” dealt with the highly controversial, nationally debated topic of the Keystone XL pipeline. As a spot illustrator, how does your level of awareness on the associated story influence your creative process? Before you begin working on an illustration, how does your familiarity with the topic guide your conceptualization process?

Gracia: When working on any assignment, I allow the story to directly inform my creative process from conceptualizing initial sketches to final colourization. During the first read through of the assignment, I take notes and highlight bits and pieces of writing that round up the theme.

For “The Tar-Sands Trap” article, I needed to familiarize myself with specific elements of the story such as its location, the visualization of its landscape and environment, and the pipeline.

When the Art Director gives me complete freedom, I approach the conceptualization process with how I think the mood should be represented—which is to portray the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline as a danger to the community.

NMAF: Your work has appeared in a large number of magazines, including many National Magazine Award-winning publications. Is there a “Gracia Lam” style that is boldly consistent throughout your work in various publications? And what is the process of adapting that style to align with the vision of the art director or of the textual part of the story?

Gracia: My visual language is created using mixed media, combining hand painted and drawn elements along with digital execution. I love to delight the audience with wit by reimagining everyday objects, mundane environments, and familiar situations with visual puns.

The process of adapting that style is mainly through practice. I am grateful that throughout my career I have been given many opportunities on various topics and stories from business and finance articles to science and health stories. These challenges allow me to identify my strengths and edit out my weaknesses, so each project contributes to the gradual tightening and refining of my work and portfolio.

NMAF: You swept the Spot Illustration category at last year’s gala, taking home both the Gold and Silver awards. Before that, you had been nominated three times since 2010. Winning both top spots within a single category is no small feat. Can you describe the difference in transitioning from nominee to two-time winner? What effect have the awards had on your career since last year’s ceremony?

Gracia: I was absolutely blown away by last year’s awards and want to thank the judges who recognized my work. I have always been excited to be nominated alongside many known names in the field—many of which are my peers and idols. The transition from nominee to winner is humbling because winning any award from the NMAs had been a goal. Since the awards last year, I have been working proficiently to improve on each piece to be on top of my own game.

Gracia Lam is a National Magazine Award-winning illustrator, born in Hong Kong and raised in Toronto. She likes to reinvent everyday objects and mundane environments.. To view more of her work visit GraciaLam.com

Special thanks to Leah Jensen for conducting this interview with Gracia Lam. To view more nominated and winning work, visit the National Magazine Awards online archive at magazine-awards.com/archive.

Check out more of our Off the Page interviews with National Magazine Award winners, including illustrators Byron Eggenschwiler, Roxanna Bikadoroff, Jillian Tamaki and Selena Wong.

The nominees for this year’s National Magazine Awards will be announced right here on the NMA blog on May 4. This year’s awards gala is June 5 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto. 

Illustrator Jillian Tamaki to launch SuperMutant Magic Academy, new book based on webcomic

Four-time National Magazine Award-winning illustrator Jillian Tamaki’s latest book, SuperMutant Magic Academy, hits stores on April 28, and the celebrated artist will appear at the book’s official launch event in Toronto at The Central on Markham Street.

An ongoing webcomic since 2010, whimsical and poignant and delightfully honest, SuperMutant Magic Academy the book is a compendium of the webcomic updated with new material including a forty-page closing story, and is published by Drawn & Quarterly.

Science experiments go awry, bake sales are upstaged, and the new kid at school is a cat who will determine the course of human destiny. In one strip, lizard-headed Trixie frets about her nonexistent modeling career; in another, the immortal Everlasting Boy tries to escape this mortal coil to no avail. Throughout it all, closeted Marsha obsesses about her unrequited crush, the cat-eared Wendy. Whether the magic is mundane or miraculous, Tamaki’s jokes are precise and devastating.

 

Perhaps best known today for the Governor General’s award-winning book, This One Summer, Jillian’s work has appeared in The Walrus, The New Yorker, More and other magazines. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

In our 2012 interview with Jillian, she talked about the process of building a portfolio as a magazine illustrator as part of a purposeful career path in illustration. “It’s incredibly advantageous to be able to do editorial work when you’re starting out, because it’s one facet of the industry that regularly takes chances on new talent.”

Check out Jillian’s new book and, if you’re in Toronto, join her at the launch of SuperMutant Magic Academy on April 28.

And check out Jillian’s award-winning magazine work at the National Magazine Awards archive.

Sheridan College Graduate Illustration Show: April 16

The soon-to-be graduates of Sheridan College‘s Bachelor’s of Illustration program will present their annual show in Toronto on Thursday April 16, at 99 Sudbury Street.

Entitled “Colour War,” the exhibit promises visual delight and all fans of illustration–especially magazine illustration–will want to check it out. The exhibit will also be available for public viewing on Friday April 17.

More information at Sheridan Illustration.

The National Magazine Award for Best New Illustrator or Photographer

"Top Shelf" (Report on Business Magazine) by The Coveteur, former winner of Best New Illustrator or Photographer
“Top Shelf” (Report on Business Magazine) by The Coveteur, former winner of Best New Illustrator or Photographer

Are you an emerging Canadian magazine illustrator, photographer, graphic artist or digital image creator? Have you published your first major piece of visual work in a Canadian consumer magazine, university magazine or arts journal within the last 3 years? Chances are you’re eligible to be named Canada’s Best New Illustrator or Photographer from the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

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

The inaugural winner of this award, illustrator Byron Eggenscwhiler, has been nominated for 9 National Magazine Awards in total, winning 5 times, and his work has been published in Cottage Life, Swerve, More, Up Here, Maisonneuve and elsewhere. Read our interview with Byron about his career.

Another winner, the fashion & beauty collective The Coveteur, have been published in Report on Business, Toronto Life and elsewhere. Read our interview with The Coveteur about their creative work.

ELIGIBILITY
Eligible work–illustration, photo illustration, photography, infographics, graphic narratives and digital images–must have been published in a Canadian magazine (print, online or tablet) between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2014, and must be at least one full page in size or digital equivalent, a single or series accompanying an article or editorial package. Candidates must not have published any magazine work larger than one page prior to 2012. The intent is to restrict this award to students and visual artists with a maximum of 3 years’ experience in professional journalism. One entry per person. See the NMAF’s general rules for further information about eligible publications.

HOW TO ENTER
Enter your submissions at magazine-awards.com. Submissions may be made by the artist or their art director 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 work 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, art director, mentor or colleague which attests to the candidate’s eligibility and provides context for the work submitted. Both the visual work 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 all finalists receive a certificate and recognition in NMAF publications and at the gala. 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 winner. We’ll interview you on our blog and promote you and your work nationwide.

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

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

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