Big Issue Vendor

Nadia Shireen to judge The Big Issue Christmas Cover Competition 2020

Celebrated author and illustrator Nadia Shireen, whose books include Good Little Wolf and The Bumblebear, will judge this year’s entries

Celebrated author and illustrator Nadia Shireen, whose children’s books from Good Little Wolf to The Bumblebear and Billy and the Beast have inspired and delighted young readers, is going to judge this year’s Big Issue Kids Cover Competition. And there’s still plenty of time to enter.

So if you are a young person who loves to draw, or if you know one, or if you teach a class full of artistic youngsters, it’s time to get creative and get Christmassy.

“I’m so pleased and honoured to be judging this year’s Big Issue Kids Cover Competition,” said Nadia.

“I know there are absolutely loads of fantastic young artists out there and I can’t wait to see what you come up with!”

Sorry to interrupt. But Big Issue vendors need your help now more than ever. More than 1,000 vendors are out of work because of the second lockdown in England. They can’t sell the magazine and they can’t rely on the income they need.

The Big Issue is helping our vendors with supermarket vouchers and gift payments but we need your help to do that.

Please buy this week’s magazine from the online shop or take out a subscription to make sure we can continue to support our vendors over this difficult period. You can even link your subscription to your local vendor with our new online map.

If you need inspiration, take a leaf out of Nadia’s book. Her illustrations and characters are bold and full of joy, colour and wit. Here are top tips for designing a cracking cover:

  • “It sounds obvious, but draw something you like. If you find drawing reindeers difficult, don’t decide to draw loads of reindeers!”
  • “Experiment! Use paint, felt tips, crayons, torn-up bits of paper. There’s no right or wrong way to make a picture.”
  • “If drawing on blank white paper makes you feel a bit nervous, paint a few sheets in different colours first and pick the one you like the most to draw on top of.”
  • “Have a look around you for inspiration. Notice if there are particular colours you like seeing together, or certain patterns you enjoy. Then borrow them!”
  • “Don’t forget to add the words ‘The Big Issue’ and make sure your image is portrait, not landscape.”

How can you enter?

This year we want to keep it simple – so we are asking you to draw whatever makes you feel Christmassy. Whether that is Santa, a reindeer, a decorated Christmas tree, building a snow person (or dog, or cat), your favourite dinosaur, or something magical and out of this world.

Entries can take any form – from drawings to paintings to digital creations. So it’s time to unleash your pencils, crayons, pens, paints and tablets or computers. Simply send them to us – by post or email – by the closing date of November 23.

The winning design, selected by Nadia and our editorial team, will grace the covers of hundreds of thousands of magazines, on sale on the street. As if that is not enough, shortlisted entries will win some great prizes and schools or nurseries sending the best group of entries will also receive something special.

We will print as many of the pictures we can in the magazine and in a spectacular online gallery. Unfortunately, we cannot return artwork posted in.

“The Kids Cover Competition always guarantees joy and fun,” said Big Issue editor Paul McNamee. “Entries have already started to arrive in our inbox and I love looking at every one.

“The challenges facing our vendors this winter will be more difficult than ever, but when tasked with raising spirits, kids always deliver.

“A big thank you to all those who take the time to enter – kids, as well as their parents, carers or teachers. It’s hugely humbling and encouraging. Picking a winner will be impossible!”

For teachers, parents or carers who want more information, we now have a downloadable Big Issue Teachers’ Pack – featuring previous winning entries, advice on what is required, and a worksheet full of information about The Big Issue – ideal for a class project on how our magazine has changed and rebuilt thousands of lives since its launch in 1991.

Where should you send your entry?

Anyone aged 13 or under can enter. The deadline is November 23.

Post your entries to: Christmas Kids Cover Competition,
The Big Issue,
43 Bath Street,
Glasgow, G2 1HW

or email high-resolution pictures to:

Make sure you include a name, age, address and telephone or email contact on all entries!