Winner of the OCTOPUS art contest!

You guys sure got a lotta love for the cephalopods 🐙 We got an unprecedented 90 entries for our February art contest!

Per Lee White, who judged the contest: "Ok guys, you really killed me with this one. I went back and forth on it and really struggled with narrowing this one down. We had our highest numbers of entries and they were freaking awesome!...I had to make some tough decisions. It's always hard to do because sometimes superior technique will push something into the winners circle, other times it's just a great concept. Most of the time now it's a good mix of those two things. Sometimes I like watching pro sports because the winner is always so clear cut: Whoever scored the most points wins. Here it's not as clear, but we do the best we can."

With that, congrats to Carrie Copa, for taking first place! Per Lee: "Carrie's wonderful octopus blimp thingy hits the number one spot this month. I just loved the palette and the overall concept. It has a very 'Lovecraft' feeling and really sparked my interest to learn more about this world. Great job Carrie!"

1st Place! Illustration by Carrie Copa.

1st Place! Illustration by Carrie Copa.

Second place went to Johanna Kim, whose sweet and endearing illustration really captured a lot of emotion. Per Lee, "This image looks so professional in terms of concept and technique. Very creative solution. Focusing on emotion of the characters is always going to be interesting and adds to the storytelling."

2nd place! Illustration by Johanna Kim.

2nd place! Illustration by Johanna Kim.

3rd Place went to Sarah LuAnn Perkins, with her fun take on me time. "Very cool image. The style here is on point and the concept is hilarious. I'd buy this on a t-shirt any day. Note: PLEASE MAKE THIS INTO A T-SHIRT!"

3rd Place! Illustration by Sarah LuAnn Perkins.

3rd Place! Illustration by Sarah LuAnn Perkins.

Lee also ended up picking 8 more entries as honorable mentions. Check 'em out (with Lee's comments) below!

Braden Hallett

"Love this concept and technique. Sort of reminds me of Jake Parker (which is a good thing!)."

Simona Ceccarelli

"What a fun and unexpected concept. Amazing work Simona!"

Megan Stringfellow

"I saw this one evolve on the forums here and knew it was a good one from the start."

Gary Wilkinson

"This would make a great kids book image. Really love the mark making and the composition!"

Eunji Jung

"Eunji has been doing some great work and I'm starting to recognize the style each month. I wouldn't be surprised if one makes it into the winners circle soon...

Denise Cassano

"Beautiful image and use of a spot color. Reminds me of Chris Van Allsburg. Anytime you get mentioned with a 3-time Caldecott winning illustrator you know you are doing solid work!"

Jake Kalsbeek

"Awesome image with a very narrative setup. I'd like to see more of this story!"

Leontine Gaasenbeek

"Charming concept and technique. Leotine really nailed the color balance here and the overall styling is very nice!"

You can see all the entries here. Thanks everyone for taking part! Can't wait to see what you bring next time 😀