For our Spring Issue we decided that we wanted to celebrate and help showcase the best of the up-and-coming illustrative talent. In order to do so we set up a cover competition, contacting universities the length and breadth of the country. We gave them a one word brief, Debuts and left the rest up to them. The results were astounding with innovative designs flooding in, each one a unique and creative take on the brief. We had such a hard time narrowing down the submissions to our favourites, our finalists and our wonderful winner but eventually we decided upon our cover artwork. 

Our Winner – Lesley Imgart 

Full of the hope of spring and excitement and promise of new beginnings our winning design from Lesely Imgart was the perfect cover for NB99.

Lesley is a German artist currently in the process of getting a Masters in Illustration in Edinburgh. She spends a lot of time in her sketchbook but can also be found climbing things or eating naan bread.

Speaking of her exceptional winning design she said:

My illustration reflects the side of “debuts” and “new beginnings” that can feel daunting and exciting at the same time – putting yourself outside of your comfort zone and discovering new possibilities. I was inspired by colourful plants, dramatic skies and the idea of books taking people to new worlds. Such themes of adventure and exploration surely feel familiar to readers and writers alike. 

Lesley can be found on Twitter @imgart, Instagram @lesleyimgart and at

Our Finalists – Kristina Kapelijuh & Sherie Ye 

Just pipped to the post were Kristina Kapelijuh & Sherie Ye. Kristina was born in the Ukraine but subsequently moved to Hungary and is currently finishing a bachelor degree in the University of Edinburgh after an exchange year in Switzerland. This multicultural experience has resulted in her unique approach to visual communication enriched with elaborate symbolism. Her style is an unusual hybrid that consists of a delicate and highly detailed line work juxtaposed with bold graphic digital colouring. Sherie is a 3rd-year student in the ECA illustration department interested in building connections between illustration and other fields of art and creating emotive pieces that touch people. She does mainly digital work but also keeps the concept of traditional media.

Kristina’s take on the brief:

Debut is majorly perceived as an instant, as a certain point that divides life into ‘before’ and ‘after’. I understand debut as a process that is in most cases never fully revealed since a lot of work that has been done in order to achieve the latter stays behind the curtain. Thousands of words that are never pronounced, sentences that have been edited or deleted are still valuable and furthermore, necessary to go through in order to achieve the final goal. This is what I tried to demonstrate in my illustration.  Papers and written on them words create a ladder that writers are climbing as a path to achieve a ‘mountain peak’. This also implies that even though writers have their personal style, unique approach to work and questions to discuss, all of them are unified by the fact that debut requires effort and hard work without exceptions.

Kristina can be found on Instagram @kristina.kapeljuh

Sherie’s take on the brief:

I was inspired by the brief and manifesto of NB magazine at first. I thought it is necessary to show the feeling of a community which is formed by book lovers. The emotion and atmosphere are what I want to focus on. Then I developed the concept of a launching rocket for the theme of ‘debut’. It is like the rocket is flying to the unknown but attractive universe of literacy, which represents the new beginning as well. Another idea in my work is to depict a ‘celebration’ of the coming 99th issue, and everyone is super-proud of the result of launching their ‘rocket.’ 


Our Other Favourite Entries

We were so blown away by the flood of talent we received we wanted to share some more of our favourite designs with you…

If you would like to check out anymore of their work head to:

Raluca Farcas – Instagram @lukis_art  and on Twitter @ralucascratte

Andrew Bird – Instagram @andy_birdy and on Twitter @andybirdy1

Lizzie Quirke – Instagram @quirkel and on her website

Ben Tomlinson – Instagram @fogfon and Twitter @FogFon

Ellie Gratrick – Instagram @elliegratrick

Sophy Smith – Instagram @sophylouise_illustration

Rachel Dunn – Instagram @rdillustration