Best Illustration in Canadian Magazines: 40th National Magazine Awards nominees

The National Magazine Awards jury reviewed a wonderful selection of candidates for this year’s award for Best Illustration from magazines and artists across the country.

On April 20 we announced the nominees for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards, and we are excited to welcome Canada’s best illustrators, art directors, writers, editors, and more to the gala on May 26. [Tickets]

Here’s a close-up look at the nominees for Best Illustration.

Tous menteurs ?
L’actualité
Gérard Dubois, illustrateur
Jocelyne Fournel, directrice artistique


Une vie sexuelle pour les prêtres ? Pourquoi pas ?
L’actualité
Gérard Dubois, illustrateur
Jocelyne Fournel, directrice artistique


Crib Notes
Maisonneuve
Selena Wong, illustrator
Anna Minzhulina, art director
Andrea Bennett, editor
Daniel Viola, editor-in-chief


Move or Improve?
MoneySense
Steven P. Hughes, illustrator
John Montgomery, art director


Trump, une anomalie qui nargue les politologues
Québec Science
Dushan Milic, illustrateur
François Émond, directeur artistique
Marie Lambert-Chan, rédactrice en chef


Fly Away Little Bird
THIS Magazine
Jori van der Linde, illustrator
Valerie Thai, art director


The Hidden Epidemic
University of Toronto Magazine
Gracia Lam, illustrator
Gilbert Li, art director
Scott Anderson, editor


Astronaut Wives
Vancouver Magazine
Byron Eggenschwiler, illustrator
Paul Roelofs, art director
Anicka Quin, editor


How did Wreck Beach get Naked?
Vancouver Magazine
Byron Eggenschwiler, illustrator
Paul Roelofs, art director
Stacey Maclachlan, editor


The winner of the National Magazine Award for Best Illustration will be announced on May 26 at the 40th anniversary NMA Gala in Toronto.
Tickets are on sale now.

Check out all the nominees for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards.

Follow us on Twitter @MagAwards for all the nominations news and an awesome live feed on the night of the gala. #NMA40.

Off The Page, with Adrian Forrow

Off the Page is a regular interview series featuring National Magazine Award winners. Recently we spoke with Adrian Forrow, who won his very first National Magazine Award in 2016, winning the Gold Medal in Illustration for his series of illustrations featured alongside the article “My Prescribed Life” (The Walrus). The story is a memoir about the longstanding link between mental health and prescription dependency, and it also received an Honourable Mention for Best Health & Medicine article.

NMAF: As splashes of colour that break up pages otherwise saturated by text, magazine illustrations give the reader a welcomed break, a moment’s pause before they jump back into reading. What do you think the role of an illustration is for people reading magazine articles?

Adrian: The role of editorial Illustration should be additive. It should help set the mood of the forthcoming text. The image can help evoke visual interest and transport the reader to a place where ideas and understanding intersect.

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NMAF: What details do you need before you can properly begin your creative, designing process? Are there certain elements or information that your client or partner needs to relay, in order for you to develop your concept?

Adrian: What I find that works best for me is to receive the brief and the text and really absorb the core idea before putting pen to paper. Once I feel I have a grasp of the idea, I might discuss the tone of the imagery that I feel is best for the article. This is where collaboration can happen with the art director and it’s a great way to help inform your imagery. I try not to think about the imagery at this stage–just the mood, atmosphere and tone of the picture.

The other detail that is critical for my process is the dimensions of the image. It’s really important for me to consider the whole compositional area. The dimension can ignite my conceptual approach and really make the art feel customized to the space available.

NMAF: You won Gold in Illustration at last year’s National Magazine Awards for your pieces featured in a memoir called “My Prescribed Life.” The story, published in The Walrus, discussed the link between the author’s mental illness and related dependence on medication. How did the subject matter of the memoir influence your creative conceptualization for the piece? How did you decide what tone would be most appropriate?

Adrian: This was a great article and so interesting. It was a delicate and somewhat saddening topic. I knew the colours were going to be really important. I didn’t want to do what was expected. I knew I had to take an approach that might have to be more ambiguous and surreal.

I didn’t want to use this illustration to summarize or define the problem. Instead my intent was to ask a question or pose a contemplative composition so the viewer would be left to decipher the visual symbols that I included.

The colours were mostly primary and that helped carry the idea of youth and aging. The colours also helped to create a surreal or even jarring feeling in relation to the content. The goal was for the colours and composition to carry ideas about an altered state of reality.

NMAF: Your Gold win last year was also your first time being recognized by the National Magazine Awards Foundation. How does winning awards for your illustration work help you, on both a personal and professional level?

Adrian: It feels great to know that my work is being received and appreciated within the industry. Personally, it helps to motivate me to keep developing my skills as a visual communicator. Professionally, it helps to open doors and possibilities for new and exciting opportunities.

NMAF: Your work has adorned coffee cups, been part of the creative for major music festivals and has been made larger-than-life by outdoor mural installations. Your work has also appeared in magazines, including The New Yorker, Corporate Knights and The Walrus. As an illustrator, what types of creative collaborations do you like to pursue? Do you try to not limit yourself to any one medium?

Adrian: I feel that in many ways I am just getting started. I have so many ideas and desires to push what I can do. The best thing about my profession is the variety it offers. One day I’m drawing a coffee cup, the next day I’m painting a huge outdoor mural. Variety is the spice of life, so I try to be diverse in the projects I take on.

I also love the collaborative process and making things that fulfill a need or desire. I have always experimented with different approaches and tools for making images.  I think it helps my clients see different possibilities and vary their experiences with illustration.

As of now, I have been collaborating with Warby Parker for a new store mural which I am really excited to share with people. I have also been collaborating with Keilhauer to make some artful promotional products.


Adrian Forrow is a National Magazine Award-winning illustrator whose work has been published in The Walrus, Corporate Knights, Canadian Running & Cycling Magazine and The New Yorker. His debut National Magazine Award was the Gold Medal in Best Illustration, for his series of illustrations featured in The Walrus memoir, “My Prescribed Life“. 

Check out his work at www.adrianforrow.com.

Read more Off the Page interviews with National Magazine Award-winning illustrators including Gracia Lam, Hudson ChristieByron Eggenscwhiler, Roxanna Bikadoroff, Jillian Tamaki and Selena Wong. 


Submissions to the 40th Anniversary National Magazine Awards
The 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards are open for submissions until January 20, including awards for Illustration and for Best New Magazine Illustrator.
Enter at magazine-awards.com.

In alternate years, the NMAF presents distinct awards for Best New Magazine Illustrator and Best New Magazine Photographer. For this year’s 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards, the Best New Visual Creator award will go to an illustrator whose early work in magazines shows the highest degree of craft and promise.

Read more about the Best New Creators Awards here.

Enter Best New Magazine Illustrator | 2017 National Magazine Awards

Are you an emerging Canadian magazine illustrator or graphic artist? Have you published your first major piece of visual work in a Canadian consumer or B2B magazine, a university magazine, or an arts journal within the last 3 years? Chances are you’re eligible to be named Canada’s Best New Illustrator from the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

The National Magazine Award for Best New Illustrator  goes to the artist whose early work in Canadian magazines shows the highest degree of craft and promise. The award includes a cash prize of $1000, an awards certificate, and nationwide recognition.

ELIGIBILITY
Eligible work–including illustration, photo illustration, infographics, graphic narratives and digital images–must have been published in a Canadian magazine (print, online or tablet) between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2016. The work can be a single illustration or a series accompanying an article or editorial package. Candidates must not have published any magazine work prior to 2014. 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 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, and must include a PDF of the work as well as a letter of reference (see requirements below). The deadline for applications is January 20. The cost to enter is $95 (freelancers who enter their own work may be eligible for the Freelancer Support Fund and an entry fee of just $50).

REQUIREMENTS

  • Upload a PDF of your work during the online application.
  • Upload a PDF of a letter of reference from a teacher, art director, mentor or colleague, which should introduce the candidate to the jury, attest to their eligibility, for this award, and provide context for the work submitted. Both the visual work and letter are reviewed by the judges.
  • Pay the submission fee by cheque or credit card.

FINALISTS AND WINNERS
A shortlist of up to 5 finalists will be announced in the spring, and all finalists receive a certificate and recognition in NMAF publications and at the gala. The winner will be revealed at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala.

PRIZE
There is a cash prize of $1000 and an awards certificate, and the right to call yourself a National Magazine Award winner. We’ll interview you for our blog and newsletter, and promote you and your work to art directors and magazine readers nationwide.

PREVIOUS WINNERS
Recent winners of the award for Best New Magazine Illustrator include Byron Eggenschwiler and Hudson Christie.

Don’t forget the deadline: January 20, 2017.

Ready to submit? Click here.

ABOUT THE NMAF
The National Magazine Awards Foundation is a bilingual, not-for-profit institution whose mission is to foster, recognize and promote editorial excellence in Canadian publications. The annual program of awards are presented in the spring and are followed by a year-long national publicity campaign and several professional development opportunities.

NMA 2016 Nominees: Best Illustration in Canadian Magazines

For this year’s National Magazine Awards the jury has selected 10 finalists for the category Illustration & Photo Illustration. Gold and Silver winners will be revealed at the 39th National Magazine Awards gala on June 10. Tickets are on sale now.

Here are the nominees for Best Illustration & Photo Illustration:

Kagan McLeod
The Trial of the Century
Maclean’s


Mike Ellis
Reduce, Reuse, RIP
Maisonneuve


Raymond Biesinger
An Anatomy Course Circa 2115
New Trail


Raymond Biesinger
See Changes
Reader’s Digest


Gracia Lam
Three’s Company
Reader’s Digest


Kinomi
Lost Boy
Reader’s Digest


Pascal Blanchet
Summer Reading
The Walrus 


Adrian Forrow
My Prescribed Life
The Walrus


Min Gyo Chung
Moosehide
THIS Magazine


Jeannie Phan
Divorce
United Church Observer


Which do you think is most deserving of the award for Illustration? Tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA16

Congratulations to all the nominees for the National Magazine Awards. The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed at the 39th annual NMA Gala on June 10 at The Arcadian Court in Toronto. [INFO & TICKETS]

Meet the nominees for:
Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Portrait Photography
Words & Pictures

Complete nominations coverage

2016 Sheridan Illustration Exhibit opens Thursday April 14

Thursday in Toronto the graduating class of Sheridan College’s diploma program in Visual and Creative Arts–Illustration, will showcase their work at the 99 Sudbury Gallery, in an exhibit titled The Neighbourhood.

Each year this presentation by emerging illustrators proves to be spectacular, and a great way to check out the next generation of graphic artists.

The exhibit is open to the public on Thursday evening, April 14, at 7pm at the gallery at 99 Sudbury. The exhibit continues Friday afternoon from 2-9pm.

The Sheridan illustration program is led by Donna Braggins, formerly the art director of Maclean’s and Canadian Business magazines, and past president of the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

Off the Page, with Hudson Christie

Off the Page is back! Our interview series with National Magazine Award winners returns this week with Hudson Christie, winner of the 2015 award for Best New Magazine Illustrator, sponsored by Red Point Media. Hudson generously gave us some of his time recently to talk about his winning work, the significance of his award and building a career as a magazine illustrator.

NMAF: Congratulations on the award for Best New Magazine Illustrator. Your winning piece accompanied a story in Maisonneuve called “A Portrait of the Artist with Testicles in Hand,” (itself a National Magazine Award finalist in the humour category; a personal essay about an angst-ridden young man having a scrotal examination). Can you talk a bit about the process of creating that illustration—from your design brief with Maisy art director Anna Minzhulina, your reading of the text, and the actual construction of the sculptures?

Hudson Christie (portrait by the illustrator)
Hudson Christie (portrait by the illustrator)

Hudson Christie: This was my first commission from Maisonneuve, and Anna smartly matched me with a simultaneously silly and dark article. I’m happiest when I get to work with unhappy themes! Illustrating a testicular cancer scare demanded both a degree of sensitivity for the reality of cancer while leaving room for the nervous laughter that accompanies the dodging of a bullet.

For the picture, I wanted to express the way that this event interrupted the author’s everyday life. We went through a variety of sketches until landing on the classic thinker pose, contrasting the humor inherent to banal, contemporary life (in the form of frozen food) with the (conveniently phallic) home decor.

NMAF: Your style of illustration—clay sculptures, painted and photographed, and sometimes animated—is striking and unique. (The NMA jury called it a “fresh approach to traditional illustration” that proves you are “unafraid to push boundaries and take risks.”) When did you start developing this style as an editorial art form; was it while you were studying at OCAD, or even earlier?

Hudson Christie: I started working on this approach during my 3rd year at OCAD. I was really charmed by figurative folk sculpture at the time and was trying to come up with a way to integrate its uncanny geometric features and deliberate colour palettes into my work.

I had some mental hurdles to clear in order to figure out a way of making this inherently three-dimensional medium conform to the framed two-dimensionality of editorial illustration.

A huge personal breakthrough was learning how to use the computer to plot measurements of my dioramas, giving me final pictures which are 90% true to the original sketch.

NMAF: One of my favourite recent pieces of yours was your work for Alberta Venture magazine’s “Best Workplaces” issue (June 2015). Every element seems precise and yet whimsical—the oversized water cooler, the dog dish, the first aid kit, etc—conveying a sense of a scene that is both exemplary and fun. What’s the biggest challenge in working with clay to create an illustration like this?

Hudson Christie: There’s always a bit of randomness that takes control between the sketch and the final props I build. For the Alberta Venture cover, I had to employ a bit of trial and error, changing the angle and position of the figures in order to remove confusing contours.

Lighting is another aspect that’s hard to predict during the sketch phase. In this case, lighting the crowd of co-workers while maintaining a sense of depth where they overlapped took plenty of fiddling.

 

NMAF: Can you describe your studio and workspace? I imagine a large table littered with discarded clay limbs and eyeballs, dog tails and unicorn horns. And of course a large oven emitting the earthy aroma of baked clay. Is that close to the mark?

Hudson Christie: You’re pretty close! I work out of a bachelor apartment in Parkdale, so it’s instead a fairly small desk that’s covered in tiny clay body parts. I also have a separate table (read: piece of plywood with detatchable Ikea legs) where I set up my dioramas. I use two halogen photo lamps and a DSLR camera.

Replace “large oven” with “toaster oven” and “earthy aroma of baked clay” with “vaguely burnt odor of Super Sculpey” and you get the idea. I use polymer clay for the speed and versatility, even though it’s a lot less romantic than the real thing.

Hudson Christie 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 his technique is a fresh and a unique approach to form.
— National Magazine Awards jury

NMAF: What is the significance to you as a young illustrator to win the National Magazine Award? Has it helped create other opportunities to publish your work, or amplify your work to art directors and agencies? And is there anything new you’re working on at the moment that you can tell us about?

Hudson Christie: Winning a National Magazine Award in my first year out of OCAD was a really huge honour. Being named in the same breath as other renowned members of the Canadian magazine community made me feel like a real contributor to a larger creative goal.

Since my win, I’ve been featured in The Walrus, another Canadian magazine that I’ve been itching to contribute to since I started freelancing.

NMAF: Do you have any words of wisdom for young and student artists and illustrators about making an impact in the world of magazines and publishing?

Hudson Christie: My first real portfolio of ten illustrations was just my senior year-long project, called “Work Life Balance,” at OCAD, which was based around a self-initiated concept that I was really passionate about.

If you aren’t enrolled in any illustration program, I recommend initiating your own series from scratch anyway. A focused series of pictures is one of the best arguments for your intellectual and artistic ability.


Hudson Christie is a National Magazine Award winning illustrator, a 2014 Medallist in Illustration at OCAD, and the recipient of the 2015 NMA prize for Best New Magazine Illustrator. His work has appeared in Maisonneuve, The Walrus, Alberta Venture, The New York Times, Mother Jones and other publications. Check out his creative portfolio at hudsonchristie.com and find him on Twitter @Hudsons_House.

The 2016 National Magazine Awards are now open for submissions.

Related “Off the Page” interviews
Roxanna Bikadoroff
, 4-time NMA-winning illustrator
Byron Eggenscwhiler, 6-time NMA-winner and winner of the 2009 award for Best New Magazine Illustrator
Gracia Lam, 2-time NMA winner for Spot Illustration
Jillian Tamaki, 4-time NMA-winning illustrator
Selena Wong, 2-time NMA-winning illustrator

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

NMA winners headline shortlists for GGs, Writers’ Trust, Giller Prize

Yesterday’s revealing of the Giller Prize shortlist, today’s announcement of the Governor General’s Literary Awards finalists, both on the heels of last week’s release of the five finalists for the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, means that the big three Canadian literary prizes are counting down the days until we find out who wrote the best in Canadian literature for 2014.

Each year, it seems a handful of the nominees for these prestigious CanLit prizes have come from the magazine world; this year, almost all of the shortlisted authors have National Magazine Awards on their resumes.

Continue reading

Announcing the Winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards!

The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is pleased to announce the winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards.

At this year’s gala on June 6, presented by CDS Global and hosted by humourist (and award-winner) Scott Feschuk, the NMAF presented Gold and Silver awards in 47 categories representing the best in Canadian magazines from the year 2013.

Complete list (PDF) of all winners
Full-text of all nominated and winning articles
Twitter highlights
La version française

SPECIAL AWARD WINNERS

Magazine of the Year
Sponsored by RBC Royal Bank
Cottage Life

Magazine Website of the Year
Macleans.ca
14720

Tablet Magazine of the Year
Sportsnet

Best New Magazine Writer
Sponsored by Reader’s Digest Foundation
Catherine McIntyre

Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement
Kim Jernigan

Top Winning Magazines at the 37th National Magazine Awards:

Magazine Gold Silver HM
The Walrus 7 6 22
Maclean’s 4 1 13
Maisonneuve 4 1 9
L’actualité 3 2 18
Report on Business 3 2 16
Cottage Life 3 1 9
Eighteen Bridges 3 1 7
Legion Magazine 2 0 1
Western Living 1 3 4
Sportsnet 1 2 7
The Grid 1 1 12
Hazlitt 1 1 8
Flare 1 1 2
United Church Observer 1 1 2
enRoute 1 1 1
Malahat Review 1 1 1
Torontoist 1 1 1
Toronto Life 0 2 16
Jobboom 0 2 0

See the complete list of winners at magazine-awards.com.

INTEGRATED AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS  

Best Single Issue
Tenth Anniversary Issue
The Walrus


Magazine Covers
Larry Fink
Report on Business

Infographics
How Much Does a Street Cost?
The Grid

Editorial Package (Web)
Canada’s Best New Restaurants
enRoute
13628

Online Video
Boy Genius
Maclean’s

Single Service Article Package
Calendrier de l’avent
Ricardo

Words & Pictures
Sponsored by CDS Global
Water
The Walrus

WRITING AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS

Arts & Entertainment
Curtis Gillespie
Rebel Without Applause
Eighteen Bridges

Best Short Feature
Paul Wells
Boy Genius
Maclean’s 

Blogs
Jamie Bradburn, Kevin Plummer, David Wencer
Historicist
Torontoist

Business
Sponsored by Accenture
Charles Wilkins
This Little Piggy Went to Market…and the Farmer Lost Money
Report on Business

Columns
Sponsored by Impresa Communications Ltd.
Chantal Hébert
Politique
L’actualité

Editorial Package (Print)
Sponsored by Canadian Society of Magazine Editors
Marine Corniou, Dominique Forget, Joel Leblanc, Raymond Lemieux, Chantal Srivastava
Août 2013
Québec Science

Essays
Curtis Gillespie
In The Chair
Eighteen Bridges

Fiction
Jess Taylor
Paul
Little Brother Magazine

Health & Medicine
Ann Silversides
First Do No Harm
Maisonneuve

How-To
Jane Rodmell, David Zimmer
Best Flavour Ever
Cottage Life

Humour
Scott Feschuk
Assemble ingredients. Pause dramatically.
Maclean’s

Investigative Reporting
Adam Day
One Martyr Down
Legion Magazine

One of a Kind
Craig Davidson
The Marineland Dreamland
The Walrus

Personal Journalism
Liz Windhorst Harmer
Blip
Malahat Review

Poetry
Karen Solie
Conversion
Hazlitt

Politics & Public Interest
Lisa Fitterman
The Avenger
The Walrus

Profiles
Omar Mouallem
The Kingdom of Haymour
Eighteen Bridges

Science, Technology & Environment
Sponsored by GE Canada
Alanna Mitchell
Losing the Hooded Grebe
United Church Observer 

Service: Health & Family
Sharon Adams
Lest We Forget: The Shocking Crisis Facing Our Wounded Veterans
Legion Magazine

Service: Lifestyle
Valérie Borde
Vive le poisson éco!
L’actualité

Service: Personal Finance & Business
Sponsored by Manulife Financial
Denny Manchee
The Hand-Me-Down Blues
Cottage Life

Society
Dan Werb
The Fix
The Walrus

Sports & Recreation
Jonathan Trudel
La machine à broyer les rêves
L’actualité

Travel
Taras Grescoe
Big Mac
The Walrus

 

VISUAL AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS

Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Sponsored by The Lowe-Martin Group
Paul Sych
Issue 1
fshnunlimited (f.u.)

Art Direction of a Single Article
Underline Studio
Not in the Age of the Pharaohs
Prefix Photo

Beauty
John Van Der Schilden, Photographer
Brittany Eccles, Art Director
Juliana Schiavinatto, Stylist
Vanessa Craft, Beauty Director
Masterpiece Theatre
ELLE Canada

Creative Photography
Paul Weeks
Wall Candy
Azure

Fashion
Petra Collins, Photographer
Jed Tallo, Art Director
Corey Ng, Stylist
Pastels Take Shape
Flare

Homes & Gardens
Martin Tessler, Photographer
Paul Roelofs, Art Director
Nicole Sjöstedt, Stylist
Bright Idea
Western Living

Illustration
Selena Wong
Old Wounds
Maisonneuve

Magazine Website Design
TheWalrus.ca
The Walrus

Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Sponsored by CNW Group
Brett Gundlock
El Pueblo
Maisonneuve

Portrait Photography
Anya Chibis
Larry Fink
Report on Business

Spot Illustration
Gracia Lam
The Elite Yellow Peril
Maisonneuve

Still-Life Photography
Liam Mogan
Set Pieces
Sharp

ABOUT THE 37th ANNUAL NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS

More than 500 members of the Canadian magazine industry—publishers, editors, art directors, writers, photographers, illustrators, circulators and more—joined esteemed sponsors and other guests at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 6, 2014, at The Carlu in Toronto, presented by CDS Global.

This year, from nearly 2000 individual entries received nationwide, the NMAF’s 238 volunteer judges nominated a total of 376 submissions from 92 different Canadian magazines for awards in 47 written, visual, integrated and special categories.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The National Magazine Awards Foundation acknowledges the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, as well as the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

The NMAF thanks its corporate sponsors Accenture, GE Canada, Manulife Financial, RBC Royal Bank, The Lowe-Martin Group, Canadian Society of Magazine Editors, Penguin Random House and Reader’s Digest Foundation for their generous financial support of the National Magazine Awards.

The NMAF thanks its media partners Cottage Life Media, Impresa Communications Ltd., Masthead, Rogers Media, TC Media and Toronto Life for their generous support of the National Magazine Awards.

The NMAF thanks its event partners CNW Group and Media Vantage, The CarluDaniel et Daniel, Relay Experience, KlixPix and Michèle Champagne for their generous support of the National Magazine Awards.

The NMAF gratefully acknowledges all its suppliers and its contributors who donated gifts in kind to support the awards program. We thank them for their generosity, interest and expertise. Thanks also to our hard-working event volunteers.

And thanks again to our wonderful Master of Ceremonies, Scott Feschuk.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS FOUNDATION

The National Magazine Awards Foundation is a bilingual, not-for-profit institution whose mission is to recognize and promote excellence in the content and creation of Canadian print and digital publications through an annual program of awards and national publicity efforts.

For more information, visit magazine-awards.com and follow us on Twitter (@MagAwards).

 

 

How Did They Create That Cover? subTerrain

The finalists for the 37th annual National Magazine Awards have been announced — including ten nominations in the Magazine Covers category.

In a new blog series titled How Did They Create That Cover? the NMAF chats with the creative directors of the Magazine Covers finalists about how their covers were made. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at things we may or may not think about when we pick up a magazine and devour its pages.

Today we chat with illustrator Marlena Zuber, creator of this nominated cover from subTerrain:

 

NMAF: Can you tell us a bit about your style of illustration, and how you came to be an illustrator?

Marlena: I was privileged to attend Etobicoke School of the Arts for my High School years. My major was Visual Arts and my minor was dance. Then I was off to OCAD. I had to decide if I wanted take the Fine Art or the Commercial route. I had been working at a children’s book and toy store and fell in love with the storybook section. Often when I got my pay cheque I would buy a favourite book based on the illustrations. I still have those books and have a little one that I can share them with now. That’s been pretty nice.

Those illustrators inspired me and I thought, I want to do something like that. I will also admit that I was typically afraid of being that mythical or perhaps not-so mythical “starving artist” if I went into the drawing and painting programs (the common sheepish story of the illustrator). Illustration was a viable choice. And so I studied illustration and I actually liked it. I liked the challenge of editorial work, coming up with a concept and working with text. I graduated, had offers from agents and dove straight into the world of mainly editorial illustration.

My style is something that’s evolved over the years and continues to evolve. One thing that seems to be a constant is my use of ink or fine pens. My work is also more drawing than painting. I’ve always loved playing with texture and pattern. My sketchbook of hidden art sometimes also inspires my illustration style. I like when things look immediate, slightly messy, and slightly unfinished. If a concept allows, I will draw people in group formations. I am interested in what we do in groups: dancing, sports, entertaining, recreation, etc. Oh yeah, and I have been influenced by artists and illustrators like Edward Gorey, Henrik Drescher, Frida Kahlo, Leanne Shapton and David Shrigley.

NMAF: There are a lot of small scenes happening on the cover. What are some of these groups of people meant to depict?

Marlena: Every group is sitting round a fire, like a campfire. One group is roasting marshmallows, another group is dancing, another one is in group therapy, another are telling Mexican ghost stories, and another group is making out or about to make out. All of them seem to be in the desert, which seemed like a perfect weird hot place. The theme for this issue was Heat. I was influenced by two main things: my love for campfires and photos of Burning Man Festival that I found on the Internet. The groups are like the stories inside the issue. The theme of heat is explored in a range of sexy, philosophical, scientific and magical ways.

NMAF: How were the colours chosen and why?

Marlena: I went heavy on all shades of red due to the theme of Heat. I used blue as a compliment. I also generally like using this palette.

NMAF: What were some of your challenges and concerns during the making of this cover?

Marlena: Brian Kaufman, the editor-in-chief, asked me to incorporate titles of some of the stories in the issue with the campfire groups. It was a fantastic idea and he suggested that I try incorporating the text in the smoke of the fires rising above each group. It simply didn’t look good. It took me awhile to problem solve. In the end I placed them almost like little playful 3D characters near or around the fires. That seemed to work.

NMAF: What did you use to create this cover? Can you explain the process?

Marlena: I work in a traditional way: pen and ink on sometimes fancy, sometimes not-too-fancy paper. That’s exactly what happened on the cover. I did use Photoshop to clean it up and piece a few things together.

This interview was edited for content. Special thanks to Nadya Domingo for conducting the interview.

 

More ‘How Did They Create That Cover?’Fashion MagazineToronto LifeBC BusinessWestern Living, Report on Business

Check out the finalists for best Magazine Cover on our Facebook page. Share your feedback with us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14 | #MagazineCovers.

The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed on June 6 at the National Magazine Awards gala. [TICKETS]

Top 10 Canadian Magazine Illustrations

The 37th annual National Magazine Awards are 3 weeks away. The nominations have been announced, and the Canadian magazine industry is getting ready for the annual awards gala on June 6. [TICKETS]

This year the jury has selected from magazines across Canada 10 finalists for the award for Illustration. Gold and Silver winners will be announced on June 6.

Which do you think is best? Leave a comment or tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14 | #Illustration

From Cottage Life. Illustration by Byron Eggenschwiler.
From Cottage Life. Illustration by Byron Eggenschwiler.
From Taddle Creek. Illustration by Ethan Rilly.
From Taddle Creek. Illustration by Ethan Rilly.
From U of T Magazine. Illustration by Michael Cho.
From U of T Magazine. Illustration by Michael Cho.
From Maisonneuve. Illustration by Selena Wong.
From Maisonneuve. Illustration by Selena Wong.
From The Walrus. Illustration by Jillian Tamaki.
From The Walrus. Illustration by Jillian Tamaki.
From The Feathertale Review. Illustration by Alex Gorodskoy.
From The Feathertale Review. Illustration by Alex Gorodskoy.
From Global Brief. Illustration by Gary Taxali.
From Global Brief. Illustration by Gary Taxali.
From Global Brief. Illustration by Christian Northeast.
From Global Brief. Illustration by Christian Northeast.
From Reader's Digest. Illustration by Sébastien Thibault.
From Reader’s Digest. Illustration by Sébastien Thibault.
From Spacing. Illustration by Mathew Borrett.
From Spacing. Illustration by Mathew Borrett.

Check out all the finalists for Illustration on our Facebook page. Which do you think is best? Leave a comment or tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14 | #Illustration

See also:
Top 9 Infographics in Canadian Magazines
Top 6 Canadian Magazines for Art Direction
How Did They Create That Cover?

Top Magazine Videos in Canada

A Sneak Peek at the 37th National Magazine Awards Creative

The 37th annual National Magazine Awards are June 6 at the Carlu in Toronto. For this year’s awards, designer Michèle Champagne took up the challenge to create the centrepiece image for the celebration of Canadian magazines in 2014.

She calls it “The Circus File.”

“Magazine publishing is a measure of the moment,” Michèle said. “Today, stacks bear witness to public conversations from the early 21st century, where the market and the internet converge to form a circus of new ideas, energy, and instability. The design for the 37th National Magazine Awards is inspired by this circus, one where a new kind of performer juggles timeless storytelling with craft and technology across media. Magazines are, beyond all, a tribute to the ‘now’ in all its discomfort, courage and glory.”

Come see the Circus File in all its splendor at the 37th NMA gala on June 6. Tickets.

For more information about Michèle Champagne–who is also nominated for 2 National Magazine Awards this year, for Fashion and for Art Direction–visit michelechampagne.com.

See also: Previous Illustrations for the National Magazine Awards

 

En marge, avec Isabelle Arsenault

La série En Marge paraîtra périodiquement dans notre blogue. Cette semaine, nous découvrons quoi de neuf avec l’illustratrice Isabelle Arsenault, lauréate de 2 Prix du magazine canadien et de 2 Prix littéraires du Gouverneur général.

FNPMC: Nous vous félicitons de gagner récemment votre deuxième Prix littéraire du Gouverneur général (illustrations, jeunesse, français). Votre livre, Jane, le renard et moi, écrit par Fanny Britt, raconte l’histoire d’Hélène, une jeune fille qui fait l’objet d’intimidation par ses condisciples, se sent inférieure et dont le seul plaisir est de lire Jane Eyre. En quoi cette histoire a-t-elle une résonance chez vous, et comment avez-vous créé l’image d’Hélène?

Isabelle : Le personnage d’Hélène est une jeune fille discrète qui se retrouve sans amies à un âge où l’appartenance à un groupe prend de l’importance.  Sans avoir été moi-même victime d’intimidation, je me suis inspirée de souvenirs de ma propre jeunesse, de scènes dont j’ai été témoin et d’impressions que ces souvenirs m’ont laissé.

J’ai décidé de représenter Hélène comme étant une fille sans style particulier, plutôt neutre et effacée à laquelle le lecteur puisse facilement s’identifier.

FNPMC : Plus tôt l’année 2013, vous avez remporté un Prix du magazine canadien, votre deuxième, pour une série d’illustrations dans Québec Science, dans le cadre d’un article intitulé « Organes recherchés ». Quel processus créatif utilisez-vous lorsque vous illustrez un article de magazine? Puisez-vous votre inspiration exclusivement du texte, ou d’autres sources?  Continue reading

NMA laureates vie for Governor General’s Awards

Canadian book award season continues today with the presentation of the Governor General’s Literary Awards, better known as the GGs, in Ottawa, and several former National Magazine Award winners are among the finalists.

This most comprehensive of literary awards programs honours excellence in book-length fiction, poetry, non-fiction, drama, children’s text, children’s illustration and translation, with awards for both English- and French-language entries.

In the Fiction (English) category, the finalists include former National Magazine Award winner Shyam Selvadurai, for his novel The Hungry Ghosts. Mr. Selvadurai won NMA gold for fiction in 2006, for “The Demonness Kali” published in Toronto Life.

Former NMA finalist Kenneth Bonnert is also up for a GG in fiction, for The Lion Seeker. The rest of the GG shortlist includes Eleanor Catton, Joseph Boyden and Colin McAdam.

In the Children’s Illustration (French) category, two-time National Magazine Award winner Isabelle Arsenault is among the finalists, for Jane, le Renard et moi. Ms. Arsenault won a National Magazine Award earlier this year for her work in Quebec Science magazine.

In the Poetry (English) category, the shortlist includes two-time National Magazine Award finalist Don Domanski, for his collection Bite Down Little Whisper. Mr. Domanski’s most recent National Magazine Award nomination came in 2009, for the poem “Radiance and Counterpoint” published in Grain.

Read up on all the GG finalists here. For each category, a jury, comprised of fellow authors, translators and illustrators, makes the final selection. Each GG winner receives $25,000 and a specially-bound copy of their winning book. Non-winning finalists each receive $1,000. The publisher of each winning book receives $3,000 to help promote the book. The total annual value of the GGs is close to $450,000.

Leif Parsons exhibits opening this week

Canadian illustrator Leif Parsons, a three-time National Magazine Award winner for his work in The Walrus as well as the creator of the cover art for the 35th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala, has an exhibit of his work opening  this Saturday, September 14, at the Buffalo Arts Studio, with a reception starting at 7pm.

Titled “Leif Low Beer: First Conference of the International Network of Personal Relationships (INPR),” Leif’s exhibit is an “installation of individual sculptures that interact with low-hanging two-dimensional mixed media works to produce a singular integrated composition.” The exhibit runs through November 9 if you find yourself in the Buffalo area.

And Leif’s work will also be part of a group show in Brooklyn starting Friday September 13 and running through October 6 at the Greenpoint Terminal Gallery.

Meet the NMA Finalists for Words & Pictures

The National Magazine Award for Words & Pictures goes to the best example of a magazine article whose impact lies in the successful integration of text and visuals as inseparable elements, reflecting collaboration between writers, editors, visual artists and art directors. The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed at the 36th NMA Gala on June 7.
[INFO & TICKETS]

Here are this year’s nominees…

"On Thin Ice" (Canada's History)
“On Thin Ice” (Canada’s History) – Text and illustrations by Aislin, art direction by Michel Groleau, edited by Mark Reid
"Play it Again, Sam" (Cottage Life)
“Play it Again, Sam” (Cottage Life) – Text by Jay Teitel, photography by Derek Shapton, art direction by Kim Zagar, edited by Blair Eveleigh
"Avons-nous un devoir envers eux?" (ELLE Quebec)
“Avons-nous un devoir envers eux?” (ELLE Québec) – Text by Dominique Forget, photography by Tim Flach, art direction by Nancy Pavan, edited by Louise Dugas
"For Love of Country" (enRoute)
“For Love of Country” (enRoute) – Text by Jean-François Légaré, photography by Leda & St. Jacques, art direction by Nathalie Cusson, photo editing by Julien Beaupré Ste-Marie, edited by Philippe Gohier
"5 Star Tribute" (More)
“5 Star Tribute” (More) – Text by Kim Pittaway, art direction by Faith Cochran, edited by Linda Lewis and Sarah Moore, with contributions from Shelley Frayer.
"We Built That" - Report on Business
“We Built That” (Report on Business) – Text by John Daly, photography by Cindy Blazevic, art direction by Domenic Macri, edited by John Daly
"The Six Habits of Highly Successful Art Collectors" (Report on Business)
“The Six Habits of Highly Successful Art Collectors” (Report on Business) – Text by Sara Angel, photography by Markian Lozowchuk, art direction by Domenic Macri, edited by Dave Morris and David Fielding
"Ringmasters" (The Walrus)
“Ringmasters” (The Walrus) – Text by Sean Michaels, photography by Roger LeMoyne, art direction by Brian Morgan, edited by Sasha Chapman.
"Oh, for Just One Time..." (Up Here)
“Oh, for Just One Time…” (Up Here) – Text by Margo Pfeif; photography by Lee Narraway, Eric McNair-Landry, and Sarah McNair-Landry; art direction by John Pekelsky; edited by Aaron Spitzer

Congratulations to all the nominees in Words & Pictures. The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed at the 36th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 7 at The Carlu in Toronto. [INFO & TICKETS]

Meet the NMA Finalists for:
Art Direction for an Entire Issue
Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Best New Magazine Writer
Illustration
Magazine Covers
Online Video
Portrait Photography
Magazine Website of the Year
Best Single Issue
Tablet Magazine of the Year

Meet the NMA Finalists for Illustration

The National Magazine Awards Foundation proudly celebrates the artists whose masterful illustrative work enhances the context and impact of magazine stories. This year there are 8 finalists in the category Illustration. Gold and Silver awards will be presented at the 36th NMA Gala on June 7.
[INFO & TICKETS]

And the nominees are…

"Diversity Report," Illustration by Gracia Lam, Corporate Knights
“Diversity Report,” Illustration by Gracia Lam, Corporate Knights
"Marques utiles," par Benoit Tardif, Infopresse
“Marques utiles,” par Benoit Tardif, Infopresse
"La diplomatie de l'or noir," par Sébastien Thibault, L'actualité
“La diplomatie de l’or noir,” par Sébastien Thibault, L’actualité
"Organes recherchés," par Isabelle Arsenault, Québec Science
“Organes recherchés,” par Isabelle Arsenault, Québec Science
"Cool Parents," by Ethan Rilly, Taddle Creek
“Cool Parents,” by Ethan Rilly, Taddle Creek
"War Games," by Barry Blitt, The Walrus
“War Games,” by Barry Blitt, The Walrus
"Apocalypse Soon," by Sam Weber, The Walrus
“Apocalypse Soon,” by Sam Weber, The Walrus
"The Writer," by Gracia Lam, Write Magazine
“The Writer,” by Gracia Lam, Write Magazine

Congratulations to all the nominees in Illustration. The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed at the 36th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 7 at The Carlu in Toronto. [INFO & TICKETS]

Meet the NMA Finalists for:
Art Direction for an Entire Issue
Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Best New Magazine Writer

Great Books for the Holidays, all by NMA Winners

“Monkey Ranch” by Julie Bruck won the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry

While stuffing stockings and gift baskets with magazine subscriptions (Buy 2, Get 1 Free!; don’t forget Maisonneuve, Canada’s magazine of the year) may be your first priority this holiday season, we present our second annual holiday book guide to tempt you with yet more literary treats. (And perhaps our first annual guide may still be of interest.)

All of these books are by National Magazine Award finalists and winners.

Non-Fiction

Fiction

Poetry

Illustration

eBooks

Did we miss any 2012 books by NMA winners? Drop a comment or tweet at us.

Related posts:
Booking up for Winter: Great Reads by NMA Winners
National Magazine Awards > Books

Spotlight: The National Magazine Award for Best New Visual Creator

Photographer Jake Rosenberg accepts the award for Best New Visual Creator at the 35th National Magazine Awards gala.
Photographer Jake Rosenberg accepts the award for Best New Visual Creator at the 35th National Magazine Awards gala.

The award for Best New Visual Creator is one of our special awards, which recognizes excellence in illustration, photography or digital image creation by a young Canadian artist in a Canadian magazine. [Version française ici]

Submissions in this category are open to students as well as young magazine artists whose early work in Canadian magazines shows the highest degree of craft and promise.

The competition is open to work published during 2012 in either print or digital Canadian magazines, including online magazines and tablet editions. Individuals may enter their own work (see the full requirements here), but editors, art directors and teachers are encouraged to nominate the talented young artists they’ve worked with, even discovered.

Details:

  • Entry Fee: $25
  • Deadline: January 16, 2013
  • Requirements: Tear sheets plus a letter of recommendation
  • Finalists: A shortlist of 3 finalists will be announced May 1, 2013
  • Winners: The winner will be revealed at the NMA Gala on June 7, 2013
  • Prize: The winner receives a cash prize of $500, a certificate, industry recognition on stage, and promotion of their work in various NMAF publications; the other two finalists will receive Honourable Mention, a certificate, various publicity, and their work will appear in the NMA archives.
  • More information: Visit our website for complete submissions and award details.
  • To Submit: Click here to register online.

Last year’s three finalists included a photographer, a digital illustrator, and a visual-arts collective. The winner was The Coveteur, for their curation called “Strictly Top Shelf” in Report on Business magazine (below).

Read our interview with The Coveteur about their National Magazine Award and their visual creations.

Byron Eggenschwiler created this image for the cover of the 33rd NMA Program.
Byron Eggenschwiler created this image for the cover of the 33rd NMA Program.

The inaugural winner of this award in 2009 was illustrator Byron Eggenschwiler, now a multiple National Magazine Award winner who also designed the creative for the 33rd National Magazine Awards. Byron was a double winner at the 2011 National Magazine Awards, with a Gold in Spot Illustration and a Silver in Illustration.

Read more about Best New Visual Creator and the National Magazine Awards.

The submissions deadline is January 16, 2013.

[Click here to Submit] [Version française]

Related Post: Off the Page, with The Coveteur