View the best of contemporary British artwork with our pick of the Association of Illustrators' annual award winners.

The best of British contemporary illustration 2006

Launched in 1976, the Association of Illustrators has been a creative barometer of contemporary British illustration through its annual awards ceremony and IMAGES Annual.

The awards, announced in July, continued that tradition, revealing the best new illustrative work for 2006 as commissioned by the likes of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Microsoft, The Guardian, New Scientist and Penguin.

The jury-selection competition offers a fresh insight into the current trends of creative illustrative work in the UK.

The panel of judges for this year’s awards included commissioners, well-known illustrators, and cultural commentators – including John Rushworth, partner of Pentagram Design, Roanne Bell, freelance design writer and editor, and illustrators such as Paul Davis, Steven Appleby, and Sara Fanelli.

This year’s gold award winners in six categories included Gary Embury for advertising, Matthew Richardson for books, Orly Orbach for design and new media, Paul Blow for editorial, Serge Seidlitz for selfpromotion, and Susan Webber for new talent.

Swedish-based illustrator Kenneth Andersson was awarded the Critic’s Award, as selected by Mark Reddy, head of art at Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

Here are some examples of the best commissioned art in 2006 – providing a unique snapshot of the current trends and techniques in hot demand from digital illustrators.

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