Book Illustration Competition: Paul Cox

Paul Cox talks about the impact of the competition on his career as an illustrator.

“The Folio Society originally ran a competition within the Royal College of Art illustration department. The annual event was the only project we had that required us to interpret a text with a cohesive sequence of drawings. It was always a demanding challenge, as it resembled a real commission. The competition as it has now evolved, as a partnership between The Folio Society and House of Illustration, is as great an opportunity to rise to the challenge and showcase the work to a much wider public.

“I interpreted ‘Lucky Jim’ for the competition whilst at RCA, and remember being extremely excited seeing my image of Jim Dixon emerge on the paper. As a result, David Driver, who judged the competition, gave me my first work on the Times newspaper and commissioned my first book with The Folio Society ‘The Irish RM’. I cycled to Castletownshend in Cork where the stories were based and although suffused with local colour and Guinness, my final drawings were rather tight. They have loosened a lot since then!

Illustration for Lucky Jim edition from The Folio Society, by Paul Cox

Illustration for Lucky Jim edition from The Folio Society, by Paul Cox

“For over 30 years Folio has been one of my principal publishers for whom I have illustrated some 28 books. For most of these I have worked closely with Joe Whitlock Blundell who has been a guide, support and pleasure to work with and he has allowed me to interpret the books in my own way.

“Recognising how to sustain a comic moment where both the text and image combine to create something that is uniquely potent has informed much of my work. The book commissions from The Folio Society have given me many opportunities to pursue this and enhance my approach to illustration.”

The Book Illustration Competition is a partnership between House of Illustration and The Folio Society, with the winner receiving a prestigious £5,000 commission from The Folio Society. To enter the 2017 competition click here. Deadline for entries is 16 January 2017.

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  • Karen Sadler says:

    That Paul Cox illustration for Lucky Jim is wonderful, and perfectly captures the delightful incompetent side of Jim Dixon. Why did you change the illustrator for the latest Folio incarnation of the novel? I admired A. Richard Allen’s illustrations but that aspect of the protagonist is sadly missing.

  • Gary Barnes says:

    I am glad that association with the Folio Society has been so worthwhile for Paul Cox. I believe this shines through in his work; my lovely Folio editions of the Jeeves and Worcester stories are enhanced by his illustrations and definitely add to the comic situations that develop. I feel sure that PG Wodehouse would have been very pleased to see them.

    I have to say that I agree with Karen Sadler regarding Lucky Jim.

  • Kathy Groves says:

    I so love Paul Cox illustrations ~ I think he must be a great ‘people-watcher’ since he captures the absolute essence of a situation so well… More please.. : )