Sketch for Survival Wildlife 100 Artist of the Year: Philippa Lavers

"The judges deliberated more this year over the winner than ever before. It was so close between four artworks, so we awarded three runner up prizes and a further 10 shortlisted. In fact, we could have easily selected another 10, the quality was really that high. 

But this tender pastel drawing by Philippa Lavers of an infant western lowland gorilla won us all over in the end, for the wonderful looseness in her art, the emotion bursting out of the sparkling eyes and the feeling of love conveyed with the sweeping hint of the mothers arm cradling her treasure. Then, thoughtfully placed dark areas elevate it to greater heights still. An absolute gem of a pastel drawing that makes for a most worthy winner." 

Runners Up:

Sarah Lake

"Sarah Lake won Sketch For Survival two years ago with a striking tiger artwork and she came within a whisker again this year with an unusual and endangered bird, the shoebill stork. We were enthralled by how thousands of beautiful little shapes of cut paper could translate into such lively and characterful artwork. Each and every piece and tone of paper seemed perfectly placed by Sarah's gentle touch."   

Heather Irvine

"Heather Irvine is no newcomer to wildlife art and her confidence clearly shows with this bold sunny painting of one of her most beloved subjects, painted wolves.  Sometimes with realistic artworks you wonder if it's been copied straight from a photo... definitely not the case here! The scenery is abstract with splashes of warm colours that's not remotely like real life, but looks just right."

David Stribbling

"David Stribbling is another artist who's successfully captivated the wildlife art market for many years. His sensitive portrait of a snow leopard strolling along attracted all the judges. It is serene in colour, concept and the expert control of his tools. The viewer is drawn to the leopard and especially their soulful eyes, as a muted background is used throughout. A well deserved runner-up."

Comments by Gary Hodges, on behalf of the selection panel

Sketch for Survival Wild Spaces Artist of the Year 2023:  Claire Allen

"Claire's work is so detailed and intricate and shows a very fragile ecosystem. Her consideration of the amount of trees cut down in the time it took to create this work was thought provoking. A delicate drawing and a good understanding of the forest and it's importance to Orangutans. "

Runners Up

Johanna Gosh 

"Johanna included in the artwork the goats that are destroying the habitat, the humans can't be seen but the landscape we affect can. Beautifully painted trees in a critically at risk environment."

Carrie Le

"Carrie's work has lovely depth of colour and shows us the wildlife in the landscape that would be lost if the habitat disappears. It's a vibrant rich work." 

Comments by Sevina Yates on behalf of the selection panel

The Artist Award 2023: Anne Smith

The winner is chosen by the editorial team of The Artist Magazine and is awarded to the artist who in their opinion best captures the spirit of the Sketch for Survival initiative in a two dimensional drawing or painting of any medium. The winning artist will be featured in The Artist and receive a complimentary one year digital subscription to the magazine.

The Leisure Painter's Sketch for Survival People's Choice Award: Leah Gardner

This award is decided by a public online vote which was open in October.

The Sketch for Survival Artists' Choice Award: Julie Eyett

This award is voted for by the Sketch for Survival finalists.

Sketch for Survival Junior Artist of the Year (Under 7 years): Nishanth Ramkumar

Sketch for Survival Junior Artist of the Year (8-12 years): Diya Guan

Sketch for Survival Junior Artist of the Year (13-16 years): Chonchanan Songktragol

Sketch for Survival Junior People's Choice Award: Rishika Malani (age 12 years)

This award is voted for the public - the online vote was open during October.

Bradt Guides' Focus for Survival Photographer of the Year 2023: Apurba Kumar Das

"Photographing a bird in flight is difficult. It is hard to get both a fast enough shutter speed (to freeze the action) with a sufficient depth of field (to get the whole subject in focus), and to manage the latter while still achieving nice smooth background bokeh. A bird with both light and dark plumage, as with this sunbird,  is also tricky to expose correctly without either burning the highlights or underexposing the dark areas. 

This image does a very fine job of treading these delicate tightropes. Technically speaking, the result is a bird that is sharp from eye to all bar the outermost wing feathers, with a water droplet caught beautifully (and entirely sharply) in mid-fall. And yet the background is beautifully smooth and uncluttered. Perhaps the shadows could have been lightened slightly so that we can see more detail on the bird’s head, but this is a minor grumble. 

Then there is the behaviour illustrated. It is actually relatively rare to see a bird drinking, even more so, a bird drinking in mid-air. To capture this as a photo is an achievement in itself. 

Finally, the composition is unusual and thus admirably bold. Most photographers would have framed this image (whether in the original capture or cropped subsequently) as portrait, yet this is landscape mode. This has the ostensible disadvantage of cutting off the bird’s body above its tail; in theory, this should render the image redundant (one to delete), but in reality, it makes the image more intimate, and the viewer feel more privileged. An outstanding image of an attractive bird, depicting fascinating behaviour, and skilfully executed. A worthy winner."

Comments by Nori Jemil and James Lowen on behalf of the selection panel.

Runners Up

Torie Hilley, Cloud Walker

Ria Waugh, Swingtime

Bradt Guides' Focus for Survival People's Choice Award: Gabriella Comi

This award is decided by an online public vote, open in October.

Congratulations to everyone!



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