Eif Diversity Survey 2022

EIF Diversity Survey – Supporting inclusive opportunities for Illustrators across Europe

Eif Diversity Survey 2022
Image credit: Tania Yakunova

Calling all illustrators living in Europe! How can we best support your career and grow our industry for the better? 

The European Illustrators Forum is carrying out a survey to better understand the opportunities and challenges within the illustration sector today, in different countries across Europe. 

Specifically, we want to know the diversity of the group of illustration professionals, review financial income differences between the different countries, and understand how we can best champion under-represented minority groups within the illustration industry. 

Survey results will offer statistical data that can be used by the EIF to identify key priorities and provide important evidence for Government consultations.

Results will also help the EIF to develop initiatives that support a wider range of illustrators in building a successful, sustainable career. 

We are asking all illustrators living in Europe to please complete this short survey and share it with your community!

All responses will be anonymous and confidential. Thank you for your support. 

Click here to complete the survey (it takes between 5 - 10 minutes):

This survey is part of research carried out by the European Illustrators Forum (EIF), financed by contributions from (member associations + countries), to better understand the opportunities and challenges within the illustration sector in different countries across Europe today.

Illustration by Tanya Yakunova

Illustration by Aurélia Durand

AOI Inside Illustration Branding

The AOI has just launched the next season of Inside Illustration which focuses on illustration for branding; images commissioned for company identities and logos, their services, packaging ranges, campaigns and more, which create familiarity and encourage loyalty and identification from consumers and clients. It aims to ensure that brands are distinct from each other, with their own individual personality connecting with, and retaining, customers.

Illustration by Aurélia Durand
Inside Illustration branding image by Aurélia Durand

The suite of content for this season includes a (free) podcast with guests Heidi Lightfoot, Together Design Creative Director and founder, and illustrator/designer branding experts Kate Larsen and Nicola Robson. Search ‘Inside Illustration’ where you listen to podcasts.

For the interview piece (free), Jhy Turley, Head of Studio at Uncommon Creative Studio - Campaign’s UK Creative Agency of the year and UK Independent Agency - discusses commissioning illustration that is right for the brand and the story they’re telling.

The Branding Illustration Basics resource (free) looks at the basics you need to know about illustration for branding, explaining the industry, what you’ll need in your portfolio, and briefs, licences and contracts for branding commissions.

AOI members have the exclusive opportunity to take part in online sessions for the Branding Season Creative Practice Course. Each session a guest illustrator will present on a specialised area of branding illustration: Food packaging, Representing people, Indentity and Logos and Characters for branding. Guest illustrator for the Illustrative food branding session is Kate Larsen; Representing people in branding is with Loe Lee; The Illustrated brand with Justin Poulter and Characters for branding with Chris Dickason

And for the long form article, Branding Is Personal, Alix-Rose Cowie talks to clients commissioning branding work for identity and packaging and hears from the illustrators with a range of styles responding to those briefs.

Illustrators for Peace

The European Illustrators Forum (EIF) invited illustrators to submit images in support of countries dealing with conflict and war to be displayed on the EIF website.

The invasion of Ukraine is a devastating situation. We wish to bring illustrators together, to share visual representations of support for those living in areas of conflict or displaced from their homes. War sadly affects many countries across the world, and your image can relate to any context.

See the submissions here.

We encourage donations to charities who give relief and crisis support. A few suggestions are:
Disaster Emergency Committee
Red Cross
The Voices of Children Foundation

Silvio Boselli

Pay the Creator

Pay the Creator is a Creators’ Rights Alliance (CRA) campaign in the UK highlighting the disparity between creators and other sector workers in the areas of pay, business support and policy making.

Speaking on behalf of 350,000 creative professionals, the Creators’ Rights Alliance (CRA), its members (whcih include EIF member, AOI) and partner organisations are calling for creators to be paid professionally and promptly and to be given the same considerations enjoyed by other sectors of industry.

Pay the Creator brings together CRA member campaigns and the work they do, tirelessly championing creator working rights.

Too often creators are offered payment in kind, through exposure, or opportunity, rather than financial payment for their work and rights.  They are also ignored when policies are being developed and support is being given.

Creators’ work is the foundation of the largest sector within the UK economy. Yet their needs are repeatedly ignored when policy, economic and support decisions are being made.

We must bring to an end a practice that discriminates, stifles access and limits those who are able to work in our industry.

CRA member organisations already constantly campaign on these issues. Through Pay the Creator we are bringing together all our member organisations’ campaigns under one simple banner, to spread our collective message even wider.

Go here for more information

EIF call for entries to Illustrators for Peace

Illustration by Tomas Schats

The European Illustrators Forum (EIF) invites illustrators to submit images in support of countries dealing with conflict and war to be displayed on the EIF website.

EIF is a network of national associations of illustrators in European countries representing over 12,000 illustrators. See the EIF website for more details on the organisation.

The invasion of Ukraine is a devastating situation. We wish to bring illustrators together, to share visual representations of support for those living in areas of conflict or displaced from their homes. War sadly affects many countries across the world, and your image can relate to any context.

Please email your submission in jpeg format to support@illustratieambassade.nl

With text for credits stating:

  • your full name
  • the title of the image
  • your website or Instagram/social media handle

Deadline 1 April 2022. By submitting an image to this call you declare that you are the creator and copyright holder of the work and you give permission for EIF to display on the EIF website indefinitely. EIF do not guarantee that every entry will be displayed.

Keep Your Copyright campaign

Illustrators are increasingly being asked to sign away their copyright, with more commissioners asking for a copyright assignment as part of their contracts instead of licensing the artwork. As copyright is an economic right illustrators can lose out financially from assignments.

Agreeing to these assignments sets the expectation that other illustrators will do the same, which damages our foundation as a licence-based industry.

Illustration Olivier Heiligers

The AOI has launched the Keep Your Copyright campaign aiming to reverse this harmful practice before it becomes too prevalent.

The Objectives

We’re calling on illustrators and commissioners to unite and push back on copyright assignments.

• Let’s create an open dialogue with commissioners, clients and illustrators, around the importance of copyright and licensing.

• Let’s reduce the number of copyright assignments across the illustration industry, and encourage creators to retain the copyright in their work.

• Let’s make information about copyright and licensing accessible to everyone, whether you’re a new graduate, self-taught, or just in need of a recap.

According to the AOI's 2021 membership survey, 34% of illustrators said they don’t have a good understanding of licensing, and 44% don’t feel confident negotiating contract terms with clients.

We want to empower illustrators by equipping them with the tools they need to understand copyright and licensing, and how to negotiate better contractual terms with confidence. We also want to better inform commissioners, so they understand the importance of licence-based industries.

The Toolkit

• For Illustrators - Read the AOI public resource on copyright assignments, including advice on how to negotiate a fairer deal. Link to the ‘How to Licence Illustration’ resource on your website to help clients who are new to commissioning illustration (download a visual hyperlinked button here)

• Commissioners – Read the new resource on the benefits of licensing for all parties involved.

• Subscribe to the AOI weekly ‘Keep Your Copyright’ series, featuring valuable insights from illustrators, agents and commissioners. [include link]

• Sign up to  to the AOI FREE online event 9 February 2022 – Keep Your Copyright: Licensing and Negotiation 101

If you’re an AOI member you can also use the Pricing Calculator to understand how a licence fee is formulated.

How else can you get involved?

Spread the word!

It’s never been more important for creators – including illustrators – to do everything in their power to protect their copyright and retain autonomy over their work. If you are an author, photographer, musician, journalist or visual artist, we invite you to be part of our mission.

If you write for a creative news platform, consider featuring our campaign. Feel free to contact the AOI team (details below) to discuss organising a bespoke article.

Help us get the message out there so that we can connect with as many creators, agents, commissioners, clients and universities as possible. Repost the resources on your social media channels, share your own experiences of copyright and licensing with your communities.

Use the hashtag #KeepYourCopyright to show your support. Download our Press Kit and share our campaign visual, with credit to Olivier Heiligers (@olivierheiligers)

AOI call for entries to the World Illustration Awards 2021

The AOI, in partnership with the USA-based Directory of Illustration, announces that the World Illustration Awards 2021 are open for entries until 15 February 2021.
'This year we will be celebrating great illustration from across the globe, with an emphasis on supporting illustrators many of whom have continued to make amazing work in incredibly challenging circumstances in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The World Illustration Awards have always aimed to connect illustrators with the industry to increase their visibility, and gain new clients and commissions. This year we are particularly proud to celebrate illustration as the vibrant creative and thriving industry it is, by highlighting great work created by illustrators from first year students through to established professionals from across the world.” – Ren Renwick, CEO, The Association of Illustrators

The World Illustration Awards are a year-long showcase of great illustration. This begins with the sharing of selected entries as they come in, followed by an announcement in June of the 500 longlisted projects on The AOI website, and then the release of the 200 shortlisted projects which will feature in an Online Showcase launching in September, and a printed catalogue published in October.

There are also fantastic prizes on offer, including generous cash prizes for the Overall Winners. The variety, quality and imaginative creativity promises to offer something for everyone, as we bring together great illustration into view.

This high-profile competition with ten industry relevant categories are judged by distinguished professionals from the global illustration industry. Commissioners value the Awards for identifying current trends and finding undiscovered talent, and illustrators value the connection and sense of community participating can bring.

“Besides winning, the true prize for me was getting to know and connect with other illustrators through the competition, feeling part of a community of people who are in the same boat as you and sharing tips and experiences. Also the attention my work got online was great!” – Xavier Segers, WIA2020 Site Specific Category Winner

Entries can be submitted until the end of the day 15 February 2021 via the online application form.

To find out all about the awards, the 10 categories, how to enter, sponsors, prizes and cash awards, judges and much more visit: https://theaoi.com/world-illustration-awards/

New EIF Board member elected for 2021

At the recent October Board meeting of the EIF Nurgül Şenefe of Turkey's Illustrators Platform was elected to the Board.

AOI were re-elected as President of the organisation and FADIP (Eli Perez Fernandez), Svenska Teknare (Treasurer, Nille Svensson), AI (Stella Di Meo, Paulo Rui), Grafill (Lene Renneflott), Design Austria (Sonja Stangl), IO (Anna Karina Birkenstock) continued as Board members.

Marlies Visser joined EIF recently representing Illustration Embassy and BNO in the Netherlands.

Follow @illustratorsplatform and @illustratieambassade.nl


Varoom magazine – the Intimacy issue

2021 issue, cover image by Hannah Buckman

The AOI has published a new edition of Varoom illustration magazine. From paranoia-tinged pandemic editorial for the likes of the New York Times to the body-based illustration of make-up artist Athena Paginton, the latest issue of Varoom looks at intimacy in the last year of image-making.

While our access to places and to each other has been curtailed and cut off, illustrators have been giving us new perspectives on domestic scenes, visualising rich inner worlds and helping us to stay mindful.

Designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio and with a cover illustration by Hannah Buckman, Varoom 42 is a fascinating look at illustration and intimacy.

An essential platform – It’s Nice That

Deconstructing Definitions

Ngadi Smith reflects how her work speaks to social issues such as racism and representation, as well as feminism and gender roles.


Thomas Cooksey, Vogue, 2018
Painting Faces

Alix-Rose Cowie interviews make-up artist Athena Paginton on the most intimate canvas of all and fusing fashion with activism.

Showing Emotionality

Billie Muraben meets Sophi Miyoko Gullbrants whose work for editorial and Dame Products, a sexual wellness brand based in New York, has a constant lean towards intimacy.


Cristina Daura, for Bitch Media, 2020
Austerity Graphics – The Paranoid Style Returns

Walker Mimms on the ‘intelligent confrontation’ evident in the US editorial realm imagery reflecting the rear of the pandemic, featuring the work of Cristina Daura, Yann Bastard, Bráulio Amado, Molly Rose Dyson, Baptiste Virot.

Cloud Watching

Illustrator of the picture book on wellbeing for children, Your Mind Is Like the Sky, Laura Carlin describes the challenges of creating the images, the materials she uses and the characters as devices.


Muhammed Sajid, 2020, Face off- Emotionless series
Masking Up

The face mask has become a hugely potent symbol for the times, synonymous with the global pandemic, but also an age of masked protests worldwide. Tristan Manco explores how these elements surface in the work of Spanish artists Escif and Sam3, and Bangalore based Muhammed Sajid.

Optical Unconscious

Luise Vormittag talks to Leanne Shapton about the uncanny atmospheres and curated ephemera of her recent book Guest book: Ghost stories illustrated with a mixture of watercolours, photography, diagrams, and other fragments of visual matter.

Joe Schlaud, Everyday Kama Sutra
Indelible Allure

Ritupriya Basu investigates new approaches to ancient Sanskrit text the Kama Sutra, a guide to pleasure and living well, talking to Malika Favre, Akshita Chandra, Joe Schlaud and Victo Ngai.

Warmth in Rock

Paul Gravett meets Marion Fayolle whose unsentimental, surreal graphic novel on the illness and death of her father, Tenderness of Stones, is her first with words.

Order your copy here


Introducing the AOI Mentorship scheme 2021

After a successful and highly well-received pilot, the Association of Illustrators are delighted to introduce their 2021 mentees!

This year we expanded and welcomed 15 mentors who are generously sharing their time and expertise with our community. Among them, we have (for the first time) 3 agent mentors who are supporting creatives interested in becoming agents themselves.

We know that we need diversity in all areas of our industry, and the Mentorship scheme addresses this goal. Coordinated by the AOI, the (free) programme is designed to further support and guide under-represented illustrators directly and intimately.

The 2021 mentorship is now fully underway. Meet the mentees!


Madeleine Allcock

Madeleine is mentored by Illustrator Camille Medina.

Madeleine: "I am delighted to be part of the mentorship programme. Camille is fantastic, helping me to work on my confidence, navigate the world of freelancing, and level up my portfolio. Her perfect balance of encouragement and truth have helped me spread my wings as an illustrator, and I'm starting to hear back from potential clients. For years, I was too scared to pursue my dream of illustration. I'm not letting fear hold me back anymore."

Camille: "This is now my second year of mentoring in various settings and I find the whole experience extremely rewarding. What I love most about it is the dynamic between mentor and mentee where both individuals can learn from each other, and the fact that through listening, asking questions and the sharing of experience a person can come up with their own solutions and strategies for moving forward."

Follow Madeleine and Camille online:
@madeleine.allcock | @camillesland


Gianne Amparo

Gianne: "The AOI Mentorship has been great so far- Owen Davey, my mentor, has given me some insight into his own illustration practice along with drawing tips during our sessions. A couple of weeks after starting, I signed on with a literary agent which was an unexpected surprise! It's given me the boost to motivate my work and to keep on drawing."

Owen: "I'm super pleased to be able to be part of this initiative, which is actively trying to encourage diversity and inclusiveness in the creative world. The illustration industry needs to be equal. It needs to be fair. It needs to be inviting and compelling to anybody and everybody who wants to make art. For the industry to truly thrive, it needs to share and represent the voices of individuals from all sectors of our societies."

Follow Gianne and Owen online:
@gianneillustrates | @owendaveydraws


Emma Carpendale

Emma is mentored by Illustrator Laura Hughes.

Emma: "I feel very privileged to have been selected for the AOI mentorship scheme, and to be mentored by one of my favourite children’s book illustrators has been a dream come true. Laura is a fantastic mentor; her experience in the industry and passion for illustration shines through. She has helped me define my strengths as an illustrator, encouraged me to try new things and from this I’ve started to create new work that I’m proud of. Even though I’ve only been on the scheme for a couple of months, I can already see huge improvements in my work and greater confidence in my abilities."

Laura: "Mentoring with the AOI has been hugely rewarding so far, and I’ve really enjoyed working with Emma over the last few months. She is enthusiastic, hard-working and is a brilliant illustrator! 

In the early stages of my career the help and direction of others was invaluable, so it’s a real honour and a privilege to be in a position where I can now help others too."

Follow Emma and Laura online:
@emmaillustrates | @laura_a_hughes

Yellow Tiger

Yellow Tiger is mentored by Illustrator Jenni Sparks.

Yellow Tiger: "This amazing opportunity has already given me confidence to create work highlighting challenges I face as a single parent, and Jenni's insights and experience have helped me to plan a path to the illustration career I want."

Jenni: "I am finding the AOI mentorship program a really fantastic experience as a mentor - getting to know Rachel and her work has been a wonderful experience and despite me having more industry experience, seeing her attitude and approach to things has been a breath of fresh air. It’s been fun brainstorming ideas together and has even inspired me to up my game a bit!


Follow Yellow Tiger and Jenni online:
@yellowtigerdesigns | @jennisparks


Leanne Coelho

Leanne is mentored by Agent Caroline Thomson from Arena Agency.

Leanne: "My experience in the mentorship with the guidance of Caroline Thompson has already helped me start to forge a clearer path to a successful children's illustration career. The goals I set out to achieve are well underway and it's exciting to see the development in my work that is helping me find my creative voice."

Follow Leanne and Arena online:
@leannecoelhouk | @arenaillustration


Julian Gray

Julian is mentored by Illustrator James Albon

Julian: "It's been amazing getting guidance from James as a more experienced illustrator, and I'm really excited to develop a graphic novel with his help. The artistic exercises he's set me and the feedback I've had has already led me to take new approaches to scriptwriting, character design, and storytelling." 

James: "It's hugely interesting working with Julian as an AOI mentor, and seeing how he goes about developing his many exciting ideas for graphic novels. His fresh and insightful approach also gives me a valuable perspective for reflecting on my own illustration process."

Follow Julian and James online:
@juliangrayart | @jamesalbon.illustration



Monsie (Monika Jurczyk) is mentored by Agent Ryan Claydon from JSR Agency.

Monsie: "With the help and guidance from Ryan, I hope to gain confidence in the business side of illustration and venture into the world of advertising." 

Ryan: "Getting to know Monika and her work these past months has been an amazing experience. It's a real pleasure to help build Monika's portfolio, and navigate new areas of work for her. The world of advertising lacks diversity and inclusivity - especially the artists they commission - and the key decision makers are likely to be privately-educated and have studied at university. Helping a self-taught illustrator to navigate this hierarchical world, and hopefully get her portfolio seen and commissioned, is extremely rewarding."

Follow Monsie and JSR online:
@iammonsie | @jsragency


Kateryna Kyslitska | Wind on Paper

Kateryna is mentored by Illustrator Willa Gebby.

Kateryna: "This mentorship is a huge boost of energy and confidence for me. Willa is brilliant: the support, insights and information I am getting from her are priceless. We managed to set up a plan and now I am not feeling that lost as I was before we started. It is still a long and scary way to go, but I am having high hopes on the outcome!" 

Willa: "I'm self-taught, so everything I have learned over the last 10 years has come directly from the illustration community. I became a mentor with hopes of feeding back into the community that has been so essential to me. I've really loved connecting 1:1 with Kateryna, especially during these isolated times. It's fulfilling, but also really revealing, as I'd often be wise to listen to my own advice."

Follow Kateryna and Willa online:
@windonpaper | @willagebbie


Kulay Labitigan

Kulay is mentored by Agent Matthew Shearer from Berstein & Andriulli

Kulay: "Really grateful for this mentorship program. The exchanges with my wonderful mentor who takes time to listen and make sense of my meanderings, allowed me to have challenging conversations with myself. Inspiring me to revisit the realms my practice has chartered, which helps me discover hidden gems shining in the shadows of what I think I do. Not only that it is important for me to reach my artistic goals, but it is spiritually essential to keep me going and staying creative."

Follow Kulay and Bernstein & Andriulli online:
@kolor_lab | @BAreps


Sandy Leong Sin U

Sandy is also mentored by Agent Caroline Thomson from Arena Agency.

Sandy: "Mentor Caroline has given me the latest information about being a professional illustrator; she even introduced the difference between eastern and western markets. She encouraged me to expand the possibilities of my illustration. I’m trying to create various aged characters which I rarely did before, such progress has opened a new lens for me to explore and challenge myself.


Follow Sandy and Arena online:
@sandyleongsiunu | @arenaillustration


Kevwe Okiti

Kevwe is also mentored by Illustrator Marcus Marritt.

Kevwe: "Having a mentor means a lot to me, because I can have a direct conversation with a professional Illustrator to help me have a successful career in the industry. The experience has been great so far; it's increased my drive and it's helped make improvements to my portfolio, personal work and wherever possible. Thank you so much Marcus Marritt and The AOI."

Marcus: "I have long been an advocate of the AOI and all the organisation does to support the industry. Once I knew of the mentorship programme I jumped at the opportunity, to contribute in supporting and offering advice to someone earlier in their own journey as an illustrator. I am learning just as much from Kevwe as I hope he is gaining from this programme."


Follow Kevwe and Marcus online:
t | @marcusmarritt


Cecile Simonis

Cecile is mentored by Illustrator Cat O'Neil

Cecile: "The mentorship has been truly amazing so far. I was hoping to get help in changing the focus of my illustration practise towards entering the world of publishing and editorial illustration. Coming from the very different field of selling my illustrations through galleries and shops, I wanted to know how to approach the relevant people, how to present my work, how to pitch an idea, etc.  Cat is helping me with very practical tips and advice and has been incredibly generous with her time and knowledge. I benefit hugely from her sharing her experience and answering all my questions. I am also getting great advice and tips on publishing from her husband, James Albon. I can't quite believe my luck and I really can't thank them enough."

Follow Cecile and Cat online:
@cecile.simonis | @catoneil.illustration


Kyla Tomlinson

Kyla is mentored by Illustrator Jacqueline Colley.

Kyla: "Having Jacqueline as a mentor has been invaluable. Being able to talk through creative challenges, getting an objective take on personal artwork has given me much needed energy and a new appreciation in what I do and how I do it. I'm loving every step of this!" 

Jacqueline: "The mentorship experience has been great. We have different career paths in illustration but so many of the same struggles, so carving out regular time slots to talk about those obstacles (and brainstorm solutions as well as getting fired up about out central drive to make work) has been really fun. I always enjoy connecting with a fellow creative mind!"

Follow Kyla and Jacqueline online:
@kylatomlinson_artistanimator | @jacquelinecolley


Margarita Turbinina | Maggie Roman

Margarita is mentored by Illustrator Adriana Bellet (Jeez Vanilla).

Adriana: "“Having come into illustration in my late 20s and without formal education to back my new pursuits, my career would not have taken off without the help of the people that gave me my first opportunities - with little to assure them I would be able to deliver-; those that took the time to explain how the industry works when I was completely lost and confused; and those who held my hand and told me it was going to be OK when I was about ready to give up. So being able to share some of the hard learned lessons from my early days (and not so far removed) in the industry in hopes that someone (Maggie) might skip the heartache seems to me the absolute best way to pay it forward. Also, is there’s anything more fun than getting to geek out on all things illustration with someone that loves it just as much as you do?”

Follow Margarita and Adriana online:
@maggie_roman_illustration | @jeezvanilla


Valeria Weerasinghe

Valeria is mentored by Illustrator Dave Bain.

Valeria: "I am very happy to be part of this program and to have the talented Dave Bain as my mentor. So far Dave has given me some great advice, the work we've been doing is very specific to the goals that I have set for myself and this is something that I was really looking for in a mentorship."

Dave: "Mentoring an illustrator, like Valeria, who is passionate about her practice and striving to improve her portfolio is incredible to be part of. For me, being a mentor is as much about listening and understanding as well as relating your own experience and advice. Navigating the world of illustration can be daunting - so building up a network of key knowledge via mentors and industry organisations is such a good way to chart these waters."

Follow Valeria and Dave online:
@valeeeria | @davebainuk

AOI would like to thank all 2021 Mentors and Mentees for your kind words.

Meet the 2020 Mentees here.

Learn more about the AOI Mentorship and our 2021 Mentors here.

The AOI Mentorship scheme is one of the many benefits offered by the AOI. Find out more about membership today.