What Could You Do For The July Art Contest?



Have you been considering joining our July art contest? Today Marty sits down and discusses the finer points about submitting an entry as well as discussing the art contests in general. Also included is a new high detailed sample drawing for the contest from Dark Wick. Definitely worth checking out!

Hello everyone,

It’s been a while since I showed my face around here…well maybe not my face but my words for sure!

I wanted to take a moment today and talk about our monthly competitions that we have been having. We did receive some feedback on it, some good, some needing clarifications. Therefore, I was hoping to address the subject today in hopes of shedding a little bit of light on the matter.

When we created the contests, we had one goal in mind. Offer another means of promotion for the webcomics. The contests themselves are designed to promote the webcomics, while putting one or two of your characters into a different, unique scenario that would not normally be part of their universe. Personally, this is a very fun way to experiment, practice your creativity and see what others came up with in terms of interpretation of the rules.

Interpretation of the rules…that’s the key right there. The rules are pretty simple to allow maximum creative control. Some of the complaints that we have received, well not really complaints but annoyance in a way, is the limitation that the random elements are causing for the creators. As someone mentioned, the pieces are given, it is a matter of putting them together on the stage, causing everyone to have similar entries due to the lack of control.

If we take the current contest, the Dwarf on Vacation for an example. The minimum requirements are 1 to 2 Webcomic Characters must be included. The entry must include a heavy armored dwarf, a tiny sandy deserted island and a Christmas tree. The rest of it, is up to the creator to be creative. The reason we have the minimum requirement are to make it a bit more difficult and make it a true challenge. The results, as I said before, is seeing the different interpretation from all the entries.


Each webcomic have a wide variety of characters. My recommendation is to always use a character that fits the scene that you want to create, to fit the challenge and the random elements.

Being creative is what we do as creators, its what we love. Some people said that they would like to see other type of competitions, other than the cuteness, chibi factors that we’ve been seeing. To that, I must say that it is not in the rules that the entry must be cute. Our last contest with the gates of hell and a chibi hitler were some of the random elements but they didn’t need to be cute. It could easily be transformed into a serious piece.

The competitions are there to help you promote your webcomic. My recommendation is, don’t just put something together for the sake of entering the competition. Promote your webcomic. Make the voters want to see more of your webcomic. This is an opportunity to showcase your characters in flamboyant fashions to make them shine for the viewers.

Over the weekend, I sat down with Felle, our Artistic Supervisor and artist of the webcomic Dark Wick and decided to do a contest entry for Dark Wick. Obviously we will not be part of the actual competition but we wanted to show that it is possible to be creative and showcase your characters and not simply put the pieces together.

A couple of days ago, Felle and I were brainstorming different elements for future projects and we came under the discussion of a Nuclear Winter. I really fell in love with that stage, however it was not fitting for any of our current projects. Therefore, I thought of this competition. We decided to take our main character and villain Dark Wick for this contest entry. We made him fight against the heavily armored dwarf in a nuclear winter setting.

I wanted this picture to tell a story. So, we made the Christmas tree a necklace for the Dwarf as if it were his clan’s symbol. We gave him a globe holding the island. Now the globe is shining and the Dwarf seems to be protecting it at all cost with an evil character fighting for what seems to be, his desire to get the globe. Could the globe have anything to do with the nuclear winter setting, its all part of the story that this entry is telling.

At the end, our goal was to promote Dark Wick. We forged a new setting for this contest that is not typical of the series but allowed us to remain true to our character while abiding by the contest rules.

I understand that sometimes, the random elements are making it difficult to come up with something creative. However, it wouldn’t be a fun competition if it were too easy.

Personally, I love seeing all the different entries and I sincerely hope that this article will help motivate you all to join the contest, show case your characters and make thousands of people fall in love with your characters.

Till next time!

– Marty Basto


  1. DemonDan July 14, 2014 3:42 pm 

    You know I wouldn’t be made if you called me out for my complaints/feedback ;)

    I like your vision of the contests. I don’t think most people had been seeing them that way, but maybe they can, now, with your good example.

    Sorry for my crappy entries, but I have to pay my artist, and thus can only afford to pay him to work on the comic directly, and not on random fun things :/ That’s why I’ve been having fun with it :D

    • MartyBasto July 14, 2014 5:25 pm 

      Hey Dan,

      I didn’t call you out because we got feedback from multiple people, some who have participated and some who are thinking of participating.

      My purpose was to make sure that it is possible to be creative, even given certain random criteria.

  2. DemonDan July 14, 2014 6:05 pm 

    Also, another thought, you could clarify the intent of the contests just with a slight word choice change. something like “draw a scene with 1 or 2 of your characters, making sure to include these elements:” this might make people think of more creative entries like yours above, instead of more rigid things like the example image on the contest page.

    • MartyBasto July 15, 2014 9:47 am 

      I hear you Dan. But even the sample image, its about creativity, not copying the sample. We’re already giving out the prizes, we cant do ALL the work too :P

      Our work is to inspire others, that’s what I want to see in the entries!!

      • DemonDan July 15, 2014 7:12 pm 

        Not to be argumentative, but the fact that there was a decent amount of confusion as to the purpose/goal/vision of the contests in the first place, with many people (not just me apparently) feeling limited by the contest rules and etc, indicates that there probably is reason for you guys to at least do a little more work to clarify. This blog post is a great start, but some of your points here could easily be included in the language of the contest posts themselves. Because just reading the contest post, it sounds like I’m supposed to draw a dwarf on vacation on a tiny island with a christmas tree and 1 of my characters. If you want people to assume they’re supposed to be creative and think outside of the box, phrasing the contest description differently would help.

        May you actually take and utilize this feedback in the positive, hopeful, encouraging and supportive light as is intended, and not feel the need to respond defensively and say that my points are actually a problem, which is what normally seems to happen when I make a comment. Because in case you can’t tell, I’ve been behind you guys and these contests from the beginning.

        • Les Major July 15, 2014 10:06 pm 

          This is why it would be great if more artists would join in here on the blog and comment. I’d very much love to help clarify any questions.

          • DemonDan July 16, 2014 10:50 am 

            Yeah, I’ve been encouraging people to do so when they comment on my promotions of you. Not very many seem to want to. Tis the bane of all comment sections :/

  3. Coyote July 19, 2014 2:06 am 

    While I can suss out the intents for flexibility and creativity/interpretation, I can see how the phrasing Dan mentions can seem sort of “ironclad”. The Gates of Heaven one did it best, I think, where the explanation was more, “do what you want but include these elements”.

    OTOH, the Dwarf on Vacay contest does seem a bit more top-down: “Have This, This, and That. Go.” I’m not sure how to explain the discrepancy.

    These are hard elements to work with, and while I think the challenge is good for me, I do typically start with a few days worth of “WTF SRSLY?” which is probably why I don’t get something entered until 20 minutes before the contest closes. ;-)

    • Les Major July 19, 2014 1:34 pm 

      Maybe I should give one a go for future contests. I’m starting to think Marty just has a “Wheel of content” he’s spinning and coming up with the contest elements that way. Well, besides the Christmas tree. Christmas in July at least works.

    • DemonDan July 19, 2014 7:27 pm 

      Yeah, this one says “Draw a Dwarf on Vacation”, in the description, and not just “use these elements” in a scene you design.

      Coyote, I hope you make something :) Although, a “dwarf” is generically considered a fantasy element, which doesn’t work as well with real world works like yours and mine.

  4. Coyote July 20, 2014 10:24 am 

    Possibilities are endless!:
    “Your character as a Lady Gaga stage act”
    “Your characters in an ordinary modern office”
    “Your characters as 19th century pirates”
    “Your characters selling Girl Scout cookies”
    “Your characters as the Scooby Doo gang”
    “Your characters in an online MMORPG”
    “–in Game of Thrones/House of Cards/Breaking Bad/etc”
    –let the crazy spin out of control!

    • DemonDan July 21, 2014 12:51 pm 

      These are great! Les, Marty, do some of these type of random thing too, and not just the include random element ones :D

  5. MartyBasto July 22, 2014 1:32 pm 

    Some of the complaints that we’ve gotten was that it was hard to be creative with the random elements and that it was a matter of only setting the stage with the pieces laid out.

    If we do, your characters as the Scooby Doo gang for example, how is that a creativity contest? Those elements would cause a significant popularity contest rather than thinking outside the box and creating something that you normally wouldn’t.

    I like this brainstorm session though.

    • DemonDan July 23, 2014 10:15 am 

      Marty, it’s already a popularity contest, as evidenced by my crap taking 2nd (and being in 2nd at the present). And it will probably always to some extent be a popularity contest, because only people that participants tell about the contest (normally on their own websites and social media) care to come vote.

      That said, I think that Coyotes suggestions are a different type of creative/random. Your ideas so far have been create a scene including these random elements. His ideas are more of a be creative and make your characters fit a random scene. I’d have to be quite creative to make my characters into the Scooby Squad. Much more than just including a couple of elements into a basic scene.

      Also, if nothing else, I think more participants would be encouraged if they saw you guys taking and implementing feedback. I still think taking a poll on what sort of contests you’d like to see (maybe vote for 1 of 3 choices, sort of thing, have to be logged in to vote, only vote once) would be really good at getting people more interested in these contests.

  6. Coyote July 22, 2014 11:55 pm 

    The creativity is in the interpretation. Who gets cast as Shaggy, who do you see as a natural Velma? Who is Scooby, especially in a comic that has no animals? I think it would be fun to see the Daemon Archives gang unmasking the villain in the final scene!

    But it is only one idea among many, and hopefully sparks new paradigms.

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