Friday, April 24, 2020

Katie Sollohub wins Derwent Art Prize 2020

Yesterday the Prizewinners in the 5th Derwent Art Prize - sponsored by Derwent were announced.  See Derwent blog post.

This blog post is about the prizewinners, the exhibition and how you can vote for the People's Choice Award.

Plus a comment about the experience of viewing competition artwork as a digital file in 3D software


  • see the artworks which won prizes 
  • find out about the artists who created them


  • find out about the new arrangements for the exhibition in the current coronavirus context
  • learn how to view the exhibition online
  • issues arising from digital images and 3D software

People's Choice Award

  • learn how to vote for your favourite artwork in the online exhibition

This was my blog post about the Call for Entries - 5th Derwent Art Prize 2020. You can see more blog posts about past Derwent art prize exhibitions at the end of this blog post.


The first thing that struck me was that the Derwent Art Prize is now very much an international prize and one seen as prestigious to the careers of young up and coming illustrators.

Two of the prizewinners - the winners of the Young Artist Awards - are both Chinese - although one currently lives in the USA.

The next thing which struck me was that both winners of the main awards are women. (Cheers!)

I can't think what's happened to men who use drawing materials - but I dare say there are a fair few in the exhibition (of which more below)

First Prize

The First Prize of £4,000 plus a year’s supply of Derwent products was awarded to Blue Bedchamber (Strawberry Hill House) by Katie Sollohub

Winner of Derwent Art Prize First Prize
Blue Bedchamber (Strawberry Hill House), 2017 by Katie Sollohub

60 x 84cm cm (h x w), charcoal on paper

Effortlessly evoking a feeling of light and breeze, her winning piece represents Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, a heritage site where she worked in 2017.

Her interests include
  • documenting and recording the places she lives and works in through drawings, paintings, performance, photography and poetry.
  • drawing and painting the interiors of buildings - on commission
Katie’s work explores the narrative components surrounding objects, memories, interior and exterior spaces, brought to life with her spectacular use of colour and detail.
As a teacher she champions drawing as a fundamental element of art practice.

This is a ten year old video of Katie talking about how she works

Second Prize

Maree Hughes has won the Second Prize (£2,000) for 15.

Second Prize
15 (2019) by Maree Hughes

70  x 50cm (w x h), Charcoal pencil and ink on paper

Her “beautifully drawn” piece is “a study of concentration — of being engaged in the moment”, according to selector Charles Avery, who adds “I have teenage daughters so it particularly appealed!
  • Nationality:  Scottish
  • Occupation: full time artist and art teacher - based in the Courtyard Studios Irvine Ayrshire, Scotland. Also available for private commissions.
  • Current home: Irvine, Scotland
  • Art education: graduated from Glasgow School of Art in the late 80s with a 1st class degree and a highly commended post-graduate diploma.
  • Previous appearances in this award: 2018
  • Website:
  • Facebook Page:
  • Instagram:
  • Memberships: 
  • Selected for Previous Awards: 
    • Scottish Portrait Award 2017
    • The Derwent Award Scottish Drawing Competition Paisley Art Institute, Paisley 2017
    • Derwent Art Prize Mall Galleries London 2018/19
    • Visual artist and craft makers award Ayrshire, Creative Scotland, 2018
    • Millers Art Award, Paisley Art Institute, Paisley 2019
  • Title / Media: 15 (2019) 50 x 70 cm (w x h), Charcoal pencil and ink on paper

She had two artworks selected for the exhibition. The other being Divyuze, 2018, 45 x 66 cm (w x h) pastel, Watercolour, Coloured Pencil, charcoal and ink on paper £670

Her website indicates that she paints in oil and watercolour and draws in various media and also has a gallery of iPad digital drawings - which are very good. She's be a brilliant artist to commission to draw teenagers!

Young Artist Award - First Prize

Xuetong Wang receives the Young Artist First Prize of £4,000 for Dog Walker .

Winner of the Derwent Art Prize 2020 Young Artist First Prize
Dog Walker (2019) by Xuetong Wang
17 x 34 cm (h x w), Colour pencil on paper

Described by the judging panel as “lovely and energetic”, they considered that the artist’s winning sketch demonstrates a vibrant use of colour, composition and movement.
"There were a lot of entries with dogs but yours really stood out"

  • Nationality:  Chinese
  • Occupation: illustrator and designer
  • Current home: Baltimore
  • Art education: graduated from MFA Illustration Practice from Maryland Institute College of art in 2020
  • Previous appearances in this award: none
  • Website:
  • Twitter:
  • Instagram:
  • Previous competitions: according to his website, he's previously been selected for 
    • Society of Illustrators 62; 
    • Communication Arts 2020 Short List and 
    • iJungle Illustration Awards 2019 
  • Title / Media: Dog Walker, 2019 34 x 17 cm (w x h), Colour pencil on paper

He describes himself as an “illustrator, designer, and life enjoyer”.

He also had a second piece selected for the exhibition - see Vintage Store in Vegas, 2019 34 x 17 cm (w x h), Colour pencil on paper

Young Artist Award - Second Prize

The Young Artist Second Prize of £2,000 goes to Chunxiao Fu, from Hangzhou City, China, for Autumn Language No. 1.

Young Artist Second Prize
Autumn Language No. 1 by Chunxiao Fu

39 x 27cm, charcoal on paper 

According to the judges, this charcoal landscape showcases
“a very good, directional mark-making and a timeless subject” as well as “a lovely feeling of light”.

  • Nationality:  Chinese

People's Choice Award

Viewers of the Virtual Exhibition (see below) are invited to 
  • vote for their favourite pieces in People’s Choice Awards 
    • either on Facebook 
    • or via email. 
  • Voting will close at midday on 1 May 2020
  • the two artists with the most votes will be revealed on 12 May 2020 
  • They will win a share of the £1,000 prize money.

Judging Panel

The Judges were


The Derwent Art Prize judges narrowed the shortlist down to 70 pieces by 64 artists.

Exhibitions in London and Paris

The pandemic lockdown means that the organisers have had to change the way the Derwent Art Prize exhibition this year.
  • The physical exhibitions in London and Paris are postponed, 
  • the prize money is increased with an additional £500 People’s Choice Award, and 
  • the selected artworks are showcased in a virtual gallery coming very soon. 
  • Images in the Derwent Art Prize Exhibition can also be seen on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Virtual Exhibition

The exhibition of all 70 artworks shortlisted for the Derwent Art Prize 2020 is available in a virtual exhibition online .

Selected Artists

The names of the 64 artists selected for the Derwent Art Prize exhibition 2020 are listed below:
  • Adam Forman, 
  • Agata Tkaczyk, 
  • Akash Bhatt, 
  • Alexandra Blum, 
  • Alexandra Phillips, 
  • Alice Motte-Muñoz, 
  • Andy Thornley, 
  • Angela Edwards, 
  • Bai Yujia, 
  • Carole Bury, 
  • Caryl Beach, 
  • Charlie Calder-Potts, 
  • Chris Haywood, 
  • Chunxiao Fu, 
  • Csenge Kindli, 
  • Daniel Crawshaw, 
  • Dene Leigh, 
  • Emily Ball, 
  • Emma Davis, 
  • Erzsebet Kis-Nagy, 
  • Faye Bridgwater, 
  • Frances Chapman, 
  • Greg Genestine-Charlton, 
  • Hana Kanee, 
  • Harriet Mena Hill, 
  • Helen Glover, 
  • Hugh Gillan, 
  • Illia Nesterov, 
  • Janine Hall, 
  • Jonny Atkinson, 
  • Kate Black, 
  • Katie Sollohub, 
  • Kevin John Pocock, 
  • Kit Yan Chong, 
  • Liana Moran, 
  • Maree Hughes, 
  • Mary Herbert, 
  • Michael Page, 
  • Mithil Thaker, 
  • Olga Rocher, 
  • Olivia Parsons, 
  • Oluwatobi Adewumi, 
  • Paul Digby, 
  • Raizel Frankl-Slater, 
  • Rebecca Bramwell, 
  • Richard Baker, 
  • Rosie Park, 
  • Russell Herron, 
  • Sally Muir, 
  • Sandra Porter, 
  • Sarinah Haba, 
  • Simon Granell, 
  • Sophie Bartlett, 
  • Sophie Twiss, 
  • Stephen Clifton, 
  • Stephen West, 
  • Steven Walker, 
  • Susie Hamilton, 
  • Tijs van Bakel, 
  • Tyga Helme, 
  • Wayne Clough, 
  • Wendy Brooke-Smith, 
  • Witte Wartena, 
  • Xuetong Wang.

Competition Statistics

This year, the Derwent Art Prize received a record-breaking number of entries from all around the world:
  • 4,756 artworks 
  • by 1,884 artists 
  • from 72 different countries.
This was reduced to a shortlist of 70 pieces - which can be seen in the exhibition.

This means:
  • on average an artist submitted 2.54 artworks
  • an artwork has a 1.47% chance of being selected 
  • artists with two artworks selected seem to have a better chance of being shortlisted for a prize!

Virtual exhibitions and digital images

My experience in the past is that quite a few artworks that get selected for exhibitions are some way adirft from their digital image submitted. Given that we cannot see the drawings in person there is no way of knowing this for this exhibition.

However my comments below are based on 15 years of looking at competition entries and artwork on the wall and far too many digital images online which demonstrate a total lack of competence in rendering a digital image accurately

My comments are as follows:
  • the 3D software creating a virtual gallery is excellent for the most part
  • I'm left wondering if all art exhibited on the wall is proportionate to its size or the the size of the digital image submitted (nothing tells me one way or another)
  • the quality of digital image produced by too many artists is VERY POOR. Unless most artists are working on grey paper, there's a LOT of artists out there who don't have a clue how to adjust levels to get rid of the grey paper that can result if you photograph rather than scan your drawing on paper.

I'm very much missing a catalogue with the names of the artists and the details of their artwork listed.

More about the Derwent Art Prize

These are my previous blog posts about this award.

Derwent Art Prize 2020

Derwent Art Prize 2018

Derwent Art Prize 2016

Derwent Art Prize 2014

Derwent Art Prize 2013

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