The Tomie dePaola Illustrator Award is given annually to an illustrator of promise chosen by Tomie himself. 
The award consists of full tuition, transportation and accommodations to the New York Winter Conference held in Manhattan. 
The winning piece of art will be featured at the Portfolio Showcase at the annual winter conference in New
York. About Tomie.

SCBWI reserves the right not to confer this award in any given year.


The 2017 Tomie dePaola AwardTomie Doorway Photo

From Tomie:

"Among the most successful and most satisfying books I have done, over the years, are my autobiographical picture books, and the series of chapter books. It’s an interesting journey to tell the “true” story of my youth, and even more, to make pictures of my past. I found it not only drew upon remembering, but of revisiting emotions of all kinds, especially laughter and hilarity, seriousness and sadness. This work has been almost daunting, not easy but, when successful, the most satisfying work I’ve done.
Now about the assignment or prompt, if you will."


This year’s assignment is to cast yourself, as a child, in a picture book. Show your autobiographical character in a scene and make sure to convey the emotion of your character. The viewer should be able to read the emotion of the character immediately and clearly.
No words or captions are allowed in the image.


The dimensions of the original image are up to you, but you must print it out on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. Submissions will be mailed to the SCBWI office, and we will send them to Tomie dePaola for judging. Submissions will not be returned. Put your name on the back of the paper—make sure not to put your name on the side with the image.  

We must receive your submission at the office by December 1, 2016.
Mail submissions to:
SCBWI Tomie Award
4727 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 301,
Los Angeles, CA 90010.

*Please note: You must be a current member of SCBWI to apply to this award.

This will be the final year of the Tomie dePaola Award. SCBWI would like to thank Tomie dePaola for creating his award, and for generously giving his time and energy assigning and judging the award for many years. Starting in 2017, the award will be replaced with the SCBWI Board of Advisors Illustration Award. A rotating panel of judges from the SCBWI Board of Advisors will provide an assignment, similar to the structure of the Tomie dePaola Award, and will judge the submissions. The prize will continue to be a trip to the SCBWI New York Winter conference, with tuition, travel and hotel included. The winning piece will also be displayed during the New York VIP Party and Portfolio Showcase. We will also continue to have an online gallery displaying the submissions to the award for anyone who wants to participate. For questions, please contact



If you are interested in having your submission to the Tomie dePaola award posted in the Unofficial Gallery,
email your submission image to Gallery Coordinator Diandra Mae at no later than December 2, 2016.

The subject of your email should be "Tomie dePaola Award"
Your image should be saved as a web-ready jpeg (save it for 72 dpi).
Save your jpeg as your first and last name. Example: SnowWhite.jpeg
Include the following information in your email, in this order:
1.     First and Last Name
2.     Medium the piece was done in
3.     Your website or blog address
4.     SCBWI member since____(fill in the year)

Please note: Due to the volume of submissions, any submissions not following these guidelines will not be posted. YOU MUST BE A MEMBER OF SCBWI TO BE POSTED. The online gallery will go live after Tomie announces the winner of the contest.


View the winners of the 2016 Tomie dePaola Award

View the Online Gallery of Tomie dePaola 2016 Award

View the 2015 Winners and runner-ups

View the 2014 Prompt

View the Semi-Finalists