Four ambitious third year Illustration students have made their mark at this year’s iJungle Illustration Awards - receiving one Gold Medal and three Merits between them!
An industry-recognised competition that is open to all illustrators, agencies, reps, students and teachers across the world, the iJungle Awards has seven categories: Book, Editorial, Comics, Commercial, New Talent (students), Self-Promotion and Video Games Art.
Jason Chuang received a Gold Medal for his self-authored graphic novel, The Boy, an intriguingly beautiful 64-page narrative completely created in pencil.
When asked how it felt to win, Jason told us: “It was overwhelming at first. I couldn’t believe my eyes, screamed, ran around the room, all the usual! It was a very good validation that all the hard work I’ve put in has got the recognition from professional illustrators in the narrative field; it confirmed that I’m doing something right, which is an amazing feeling.”
His winning comic, The Boy, is about a boy who feels trapped by his real life. The boy uses his vivid imagination to escape, dropping into frequent day dreaming episodes.
Jason explained: “The Boy was inspired by my time served in the military. When I felt stuck, I would imagine myself in different scenarios, over the course of my time serving in the national service. I documented these ‘day dreaming episodes’ and came up with a story that connects all these trapped feelings.
“I decided to change the original storyline to a boy who lives in an anonymous town. My intention was to make this story as universal as possible, as I believe that most people can resonate with the feeling of ‘being stuck’ (if not constantly, then at some point in their lives). The ending of the story is left open for interpretation as I like to explore the ambiguity of ‘reality’; it is a concept that varies with different perspectives.”
Jason added: “What is absent in a narrative can often be the most intriguing part of a story. I wanted my work to be a vessel for the audience’s imagination, and the story to become a collaboration between me and the readers.”
Our Merit winners, Jack Tongeman, Elin Brokenshaw and Natsumi Chikayasu, each submitted a collection of work for the New Talent (student) category.
Jack’s collection included a short comic and a stylised caricature of himself.
Jack said: “I was very surprised and pleased, as I hadn’t won anything before. It was a good confidence boost!”
“Most of my pieces came out of me trying to develop my style. Specifically focussing on how I draw people and how they interact with the clothing they wear. All my work is digital, however I put a lot of work into integrating natural textures and effects so that my work being digital is more about efficiency than the aesthetic of the final piece.”
Elin’s submissions – two recent course projects and three personal pieces – all had different inspirations and concepts but shared an overarching theme of loss.
Elin told us: “Receiving the Merit award was a nice boost to my confidence leading into the final term of university. I feel like it was my first experience having my work validated outside of the course.”
After graduating this year, both Elin and Jack plan on spending some time building their personal portfolios and experimenting with illustration styles. Jack would then like to work in children’s illustration, while Elin plans on working freelance. Jason will continue his studies at the Royal College of Art, undertaking an MA and branching out in filmmaking.