The 42nd annual National Magazine Awards gala will take place May 31st at the Arcadian Court in Toronto. This year, we are honoured that Marcey Andrews and Wenting Li partnered to create the visuals that will help define our celebration of Canadian magazines.
We recently spoke with Marcey and Wenting about the stunning cover they created for the gala program, and how this year’s art direction compares to that of previous years.
NMAF: As the winner of several National Magazine Awards, including more recently for Cover Grand Prix, and a member of the 2018 Jury, how does it feel to be taking over art direction for this year’s NMAs?
Marcey Andrews: Intimidating, to say the least! But also a great honour. Between my experience with the 2018 Jury and the art direction of this year’s NMAs, I’ve really come to appreciate the enormity of this event and just how much dedication it takes to make it happen. Émilie, Barbara and all the volunteers and sponsors that make this possible, they are all a source of inspiration.
NMAF: Could you tell us about the direction you’re taking? How does it stand apart from—or perhaps complement—that of other years?
Marcey Andrews: When Wenting and I partnered up, our goal was simply to carry the torch high and create a look that honoured the significance of these achievements! Stories, and those in magazines in particular, have always been a source of cinematic wonder for me — a byproduct of my active imagination — and so we wanted to give the artwork that same larger-than-life feeling. We know how much effort and passion goes into every piece and so we wanted the nominees to be able to take a moment and appreciate the grandeur of their accomplishments.
Marcey Andrews is the art director of New Trail, the University of Alberta’s alumni magazine. She is also the Senior Graphic Designer in Marketing and Communications in University Relations. She has won five National Magazine Awards.
NMAF: Your illustration for this year’s NMA program is beautiful. Does it have a title?
Wenting Li: Thanks so much! It’s called Awards Night.
NMAF: What was your inspiration for creating this piece?
Wenting Li: I was hoping to show the glitter and solemnity of a celebration, but also make it a bit unusual. So, boats taking creators toward a party inside a giant magazine!
NMAF: Your work has appeared in such Canadian publications as The Walrus, Canadian Living, Quill & Quire, Reader’s Digest Canada and The Globe and Mail. What do you enjoy about creating illustrations for stories and magazines?
Wenting Li: Whenever I’m paging through a publication I can’t help but look first at all the images. Getting to think of drawings that might make others flipping through stop on a particular page is kind of thrilling. I also love being transported by a story, and then getting to share this feeling visually.
Wenting Li is a Toronto-based illustrator. Her work is preoccupied with colour and shape, and the subtleties of complementing story with picture. Learn more about Wenting and her work by visiting her website.