Congratulations to Yuko Shimizu on winning the prestigious gold and silver medals from the Society Of Illustrators for her recent work, including a cover for the Vertigo comic book series The Unwritten. The storied Society has been promoting the art of illustration since the beginning of the 20th century, but it's ties to the comic book industry were made stronger this year when it acquired the collection of the Museum of Cartoon and Comic Art and announced plans to host MoCCA Fest. For its 55th annual competition, the Society recognized Shimizu's Unwritten #43 cover with the silver medal and also awarded the artist the gold for an illustration advertising a hair removal service for women.Created by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, The Unwritten is an urban fantasy series inspired by Christopher Robin Milne, the writer A. A. Milne's son, upon whom he based the young boy in his classic Winnie the Pooh stories. The book stars Tom Taylor, a young man who, like Milne, is unhappy with his father's use of his likeness in a popular novel and the intrusive fame and ennui that resulted. But in The Unwritten, it seems that the line between reality and fiction is frighteningly small, and there may be much more to Tom's connection to the fantastic than meets the eye.

The Unwritten's enigmatic storyline and Tom's sense of confusion with his circumstances are compellingly depicted every month by Shimizu, who's illustrated 46 covers so far. The Society of Illustrators chose to honor #43 specifically:

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What the Society deemed even better might sound a bit funny from the description alone: a piece Shimizu illustrated for JW T Hong Kong as part of its "Tame Your Hair" advertising campaign. This won the gold (per AOL guidelines, we have censored the nipple for your protection):

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In related news, American Illustration -- a gorgeous and expensive annual collection of fantastic images from a variety of sources -- selected no fewer than six of Shimizu's works for inclusion in its 31st edition. They include another Unwritten cover, a Playboy piece we can't show you (but click here if you can deal with NSFW imagery), and excerpts from Shimizu's in-progress children's book Barbed Wire Baseball, a story written by Marissa Moss and set in a Japanese internment camp. The book is meant to come out in 2013.

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