Winners of the BIG art contest!

Welcome back everybody! Hope you had a nice break!

You guys must be all rested and recharged because you really brought out the BIG guns for this month’s contest 💥🔫 😁 A BIG thank you to all who joined in on the fun!

Here’s what our judge Lee White had to say about the entries:

“Hey guys! So glad to be back at it in 2019! This was a good month and everyone seems to be kicking some booty. Makes it harder and harder for me to judge this thing! Lots of stellar entries with more of a variety in media than I've seen.

As always, there are three criteria that I look for in judging this:

  1. Concept: how well does your concept fit the overall theme. Is it a unique solution? This is pretty big for me. There are so many cliches in illustration that I'll tend to pick something a little more unexpected. For example, I'll shy away from the ol' "monster in the closet" idea on an image because I've seen it so many times before.

  2. Technique: How is the composition working? Good values and mark making, etc.? Does the technique compliment the concept?

  3. X Factor: This really comes down to my personal preference and if I really like it or not. All judges use this criteria for the most part (they just don't admit it). The good thing (I hope) is that I have done both realistic art and very stylized art and teach all of it, so I can appreciate a very wide range of work. I am not just looking for versions of what I do in my own work.

So with that in mind, I hope you realize how tough it is to even narrow it down, much less pick a winner. But it's a contest so let's get going!”

Without further ado, first place goes to Laurel Aylesworth, for her beautiful and surreal scene involving a VERY large goldfish.

Here’s Lee’s comments on her winning image: “Laurel really stopped me in my tracks with this goldfish image. Beautiful color and very unexpected reactions from our characters. They both seem so unsure of what is happening. Very dreamy. The technique looks very polished. If this isn't from a specific book that Laurel is writing, it needs to be.”

1st Place! Art by Laurel Aylesworth.

1st Place! Art by Laurel Aylesworth.

Second place goes to Braden Hallett, who is on a winning streak, earning accolades in 4 of the last 5 art contests!

“This technique of using something outside the picture window to imply something going on in the shot is something I LOVE. I use it whenever I can and even talk about it in the Visual Storytelling Techniques video (which you have all seen right?!). The narrative is the star here and everything supports it. Perfect choice to make the highest contrast and most saturation right in the focal point of the shadow. Sa-weeet!!!!!!!”

2nd place! Art by Braden Hallett.

2nd place! Art by Braden Hallett.

Adrian Kuhn took 3rd place with his brave little mouse turning to face a very large something just out of sight.

“Look at those feathers! Dang! Beautifully rendered and very modern feeling with the white background (that's very hip in publishing right now!). So much energy in this piece!”

3rd Place! Art by Adrian Kuhn.

3rd Place! Art by Adrian Kuhn.

Lee also picked 5 more illustrations as honorable mentions, check 'em out with his comments below! You can see ALL the entries in the handy dandy slideshow, compiled by the excellent Chip Valecek 😎


Aleksey Nisenboym

“It's Friday afternoon/evening right now and that beer is lookin' pretty tasty! But I think those little guys are in over their head! Loved seeing this one develop on the forum!”


Rohan Nowell

“Sometimes simple and sweet is the way to go. And this image hits that note perfectly. Lovely!”


Kristin Wauson

“That mouse ain’t messin' around and that cat knows it. I liked seeing the drawing here in the final paint. I'm not sure why most people paint over their loose and energetic drawing, but I always think that it adds something to it.”


Nyrryl Cadiz

“We just had a big mouse, now it's time for a big cat! This one is so cool and I love the drama happening between the characters here.”


Julia Rosenbaum

“The concept behind this is so simple and funny. It takes a second to figure out what is going on and the payoff just makes me laugh. I want to see more of this type of subtle humor. If Julia has more like this in her portfolio, she could be very busy with pro work over the next few years.”

Well that’s it for this month! Thanks again to everyone who took part, we really appreciate all your hard work 😄 Yay team!