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AOI award

JULY 10, 2007
On Thursday I went up to London for the first time in eighteen months. I traipsed around in the rain walking from Tate Modern to the West End to kill a few hours and I found that, much as I still like the place, I wasn't as wistful about it as I'd thought I might be. The very fact that I wandered the tourist trails means that I'm officially a parochial tourist now.

I was up to attend the UK Association of Illustrators 'Images' show, the organisation's annual juried competition. I'd found out some time ago that I would be collecting the Gold award for the Editorial section- my first prize in six years freelancing and six years of getting work in the book.

I may drone on here endlessly about myself but I'm really quite a diffident person (at least when sober) so I wasn't really sure what to make of it all- I was naturally pleased at the recognition but the idea of picking up an award felt odd. Sorry to sound so infuriatingly English about it.

I did my best at schmoozing but I wasn't exactly In The Zone: Early on in the evening I went to say a forced, breezy hello to someone I'd not seen for a while. Despite claiming that she knew who I was, she reacted with such bewilderment and discomfiture that anyone watching might've surmised that rather than saying, 'hello Janet, it's Richard Allen- you used to be a lecturer on my Masters course' I'd infact said, 'Hello Janet, may I relieve myself in your purse?'

Thwarted charm offensive notwithstanding, I had an enjoyable time with some illustrators and ADs that I knew. The awards ceremony wasn't particularly daunting although the official photographer's flash failed and I had to keep grinning and shaking the prize-giver, Adrian Shaughnnesy's hand for about forty three minutes
Gumby and Orang Utan to scale
The trophy itself is a lethal looking perspex brick doorstop (pictured). Despite its heft, its transparency means that I keep losing the thing round the house. The illustration that won is the first image in my Drawger gallery, 12 Drummers, done for the Guardian newspaper back at the start of 2006. Ithangyouall!
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