Could You Be The Next J. Campbell Kerr?


“The People’s Friend” magazine is offering budding artists the chance to win a prize that money cannot buy – the opportunity to become the new J. Campbell Kerr!

The distinctive cover paintings of “The People’s Friend” magazine are recognised all over the world. British beauty spots have taken pride of place on the front of the magazine since 1946, when Edinburgh Castle featured on the May 11 issue.  Each one is brought to life at the hands of J. Campbell Kerr, an alias used by a small and select group of artists who create these unique illustrations in the distinctive style everyone has come to love.

The “Friend” has long been a great supporter of artistic talent, and the fact that every front cover since the 1940s has featured an original illustration is testament to this ongoing commitment. The opportunity to give a talented up-and-coming artist the chance to have their work showcased by the world’s longest-running women’s magazine is a fitting way to celebrate our 150th anniversary.

Encouragement For Artists

“The People’s Friend” has partnered with the Robin & Eirwen Bell Trust, set up by poet and documentary writer Robin as a tribute to his late wife, who died from ovarian cancer in 2014 aged just fifty-five. Robin said “I set up the trust in memory of my late wife, Eirwen, to give practical help to real people. My purpose is to give practical and financial encouragement to talented artists helping them to engage with the real world of work. ‘The People’s Friend’ has been brilliant in seeing the big picture and adding imaginative ideas.  I am really looking forward to seeing all of the entries for the first year of this activity and seeing how artists produce creative work that fits onto the available page and addresses ‘The People’s Friend’ audience of 338,000 readers every week.

To enter, all you have to do is submit a painting of a British beauty spot of your choice.  The painting must be original and entirely your own work. It should be created by hand on paper or board using traditional methods – digitally created or modified images will not be considered. Only original paintings are eligible, not prints or digital copies.

Tips From Sarah

“The People’s Friend” Illustrations Editor, Sarah Holliday, has some helpful criteria to bear in mind:

  • A3 portrait format works best (no bigger as it won’t be easily scanned). This will be scaled down digitally to A4 size for the cover.
  • Your scene has to fit within our cover layout, so leave plenty of space at the top and bottom. The main “action” should be kept mostly to a small strip in the middle of the painting.
  • Your scene should be traditionally painted, but can be in any media – watercolours, acrylics, etc.
  • Consider bright, colourful scenes, and blue sky.
  • Your scene can be a city, village, landscape or seascape – anything that looks attractive.
  • Your scene must be in the UK.
  • Entrants should ensure that they have the copyright of the image used as a reference.

The Prize!

The lucky winner will:

  • Receive £300 prize money which has been generously donated by the Robin & Eirwen Bell Trust
  • Have their winning illustration featured within “The People’s Friend”.
  • Be mentored by our Illustrations Editor.
  • Be considered for paid commissions for future front-cover artwork.

The Panel

All entries will be assessed by the following panel of judges:

How To Enter

Entries, including your full name and address, should be sent to the following address by the closing date of June 30, 2019.  J. Campbell Kerr Illustrator Prize, “The People’s Friend”, 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD.

Please note that we cannot return paintings submitted as entries in this competition.

Please click to see our full competition Ts & Cs.

Kirsty Matthews

Kirsty heads up the marketing for all of the DCT Media magazines. Kirsty has the very exciting job of telling the right audiences about the magazine wherever they may be and on whichever channels they interact with. It is fair to say it keeps her busy, but not always out of trouble! Kirsty loves getting out in the fresh air, exploring Scotland as well as other parts of the world and speaks fluent Spanish.

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