Graduate Wins International Illustration Prize

Kathryn Martin award - credit Cristina Schek

Kathryn Martin picked up the top prize in the Professional Research category at the World Illustration Awards and she received her award at a ceremony at Somerset House, in London.

“Winning came as a big surprise,” said Kathryn.

The competition is jointly run by the Association of Illustrators and the Directory of Illustration, and aims to showcase the best in illustration from that year.  Kathryn, who is based in Wimbledon but also spends time in Worcester during the week lecturing part-time at the University, was one of 16 winners out of 200 shortlisted entries. 

She decided to submit the work of which she was most proud of from 2018. Kathryn originally created the piece as a response to the term 'Tangled Tales', which was the 2018 theme for the Cheltenham Illustration Awards. 

Kathryn Martin - illustration Isadora Duncan

Her winning illustration depicted Duncan, a famous American dancer at the beginning of the 20th century.  Duncan is seen as a pioneer of modern dance, rejecting the technique of classical ballet.  Her free flowing style made her an icon for other influential female artists of the early Twentieth Century.  She died in 1927, aged 50, after her scarf became tangled in the wheels of a car and Kathryn therefore chose to reflect her life and influence over a background of a flowing scarf.  

“Isadora is a figure in art history I find really inspiring,” said the 27-year-old.  “This project provided me with the opportunity to learn more about her in my ongoing research into theatre and performance history, which is one of my passions, and to in turn share her story with others.  I'm just so happy it's been received well, and that others are finding Isadora Duncan's story as inspiring as I do.”

Since graduating in 2015, her work has been shortlisted for and won several national and international illustration prizes.  Last year Kathryn won an international illustration competition, using her own experiences of a spinal condition to counter Shakespeare’s depiction of Richard III.

Kathryn Martin’s graphic novel, contrasting her treatment for scoliosis in her teens to Shakespeare’s treatment of the medieval king in the eponymous play, earned her the top spot in the over 25s section of the Graphic Shakespeare Competition.  Her work went on to be displayed at the Asian Shakespeare Conference in the Philippines. 

To see the piece visit


***photo courtesy of Cristina Schek