Have You Thought About Entering A Design Competition?

Maybe you think you don’t have time. Maybe you think it’s a waste of time. “Why bother? Those design competitions are rigged!” To be honest, I believe some can be unfair. That’s why I suggest staying away from the ones that depend solely on the amount of social votes to win. “It’s a promotional gimmick.” To some extent, yes it is. Hosting a competition is a great way to promote a company or product, but the promotion can work both ways. This is also an opportunity for you to showcase your skills. Imagine the exposure (and bragging rights) you will receive if you win. Getting the grand prize probably won’t hurt either.

Even if you don’t win, there is always a chance you can get some new fans in the process, those other artists in the competition who admire your style. Become inspiration and be inspired. Find artists that intrigue you too and that you want to connect with. Some platforms allow you to create profiles and follow other artists. Start a design dialogue. Some artists are eager to discuss techniques and processes.

Use the competition as your creative outlet. Take a break from the usual rigor of work and make something fun, just for you. Even if your daily job is creative (lucky you), sometimes it’s nice to be your own client. Of course you have to adhere to the rules of the competition, but even those tend to be really liberal. You can even take this opportunity to experiment, try a new style or technique. Right now Threadless is hosting a competition Art Without Concept where anything goes; the only requirement is that you make something that looks nice.
threadless_artwithoutconceptWhatever you do, put your best effort forward. You can end up with amazing pieces to use in your portfolio, as personal artwork, or even retail. Check the terms and conditions of the competition. If you are unsure of the company hosting the contest, do a little research.

Bottom line, there are many benefits to entering design competitions. If you follow me on facebook, sometimes I post ones I find interesting. Right now I recommend the TEN Collection Contest by Fotolia, deadline February 10, 2014. Choose a theme and challenge their artists using at least three of the images Fotolia provides. There are prizes worth thousands up for grabs.
ten-contestHere’s my piece from a contest I entered last year, Veer’s Bad Stock Photo Monster Mash-up. It was a part of a Halloween promotion and their campaign to rid the world of bad stock photography. You had to use at least two of the bad stock provided to create something scary with a touch of humor. I used these three:
veer_badstock3 veer_badstock2 veer_badstock1

To create:

badstock_veer_entry_spinder

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Be Great.

wordsofwisdomWhat get’s you going in the morning? That’s the question this Threadless challenge asked. What words inspire you? What’s your personal motto? Originally, my answer was Be Positive. I try to look on the bright side, but that’s not always easy. I have an idea of where I want to be professionally and personally, but the path to get there isn’t always so clear, which can be frustrating. So sometimes I have to work a little harder at that happy face. 🙂 My original design idea was a beating heart with connecting blood vessels that spell B+ (Be positive).

So how did I end up with a snail?

As I’ve stated before, my mind works on overdrive. At any given point in time I have at least ten ideas/projects/techniques/concepts that I want to create floating around in my head. Not to mention inspiration is constantly flooding my inbox and life. One project I wanted to try was a Thanksgiving turkey illustration inspired by the artist Ben Yin-Pan Kwok aka BioWorkZ.

bioworkz

Thanksgiving came. I had other pressing projects to complete. Thanksgiving went. No turkey (in my sketch pad). Yet I still wanted to make an illustration. I also really wanted to submit an entry to Threadless. Another goal of mine is to be a great designer which requires me to keep pushing myself. I must keep learning. Doing. Improving. Do my best. Have fun. Be great. Then get better.

How do I illustrate “great”? Enter in another project idea of mine: drawing elaborate numbers, particularly the number 8, and combine that with an animal illustration. Great probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind when describing a snail (more like slow, tiny, gross), but that’s what makes it the perfect choice.

“A great man is always willing to be little.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Great men are not born great, they grow great.” – Mario Puzo, The Godfather

“Your greatness is revealed not by the lights that shine upon you, but by the light that shines within you.” – Ray Davis

So here is my design “Be Great” for Threadless which is up for voting over the next four days. First I sketched a rough outline, filled in more detail, and then I went over the sketch in ink. The drawing was brought into Illustrator and converted into vectors via live trace. Finally shading and lettering were added. If you like my design please vote.

be_great_threadless_entrysnail_sketch_intsnail_sketch_detsnail_sketch_ink

Break & White

black+white_womanPublicized first on my Facebook page S. Pinder Designs (click its Like button for even more cool content or follow me on twitter), is my third Threadless entry called Break & White. The challenge this time was to create a design using only black and white. “You can crosshatch and halftone until you’re blue in the face but gray is not allowed!” Loving the concept, I wanted to enter, but didn’t have much time on my hands. I gave myself one hour to research and sketch. Not a lot of entries at the time focused on typography, so that’s the direction I took. Quickly scanning through my fonts, nothing screamed at me so I just put pencil to paper.

b+wLater, I took my sketch into Illustrator and simply had fun (within another self-assigned time limit). Will my design win? We’ll see how it fares against the other nine hundred and sixty-eight submissions. Yup, 968! So if you like my design and you think it deserves a chance, please vote for it. If you have time check out the other submissions. Many of them are stellar; I handed out some fives. There’s even a chance to win Threadcash if you score over a hundred designs.

black+white_tank

F.Y.I If you’re looking for a site that can provide a quick mockup of a t-shirt design without any fancy software, try www.shirtmockup.com They also have layered Photoshop files for download.

It’s A Recession

oddcouple_recessionfacebookcoverSo I’ve entered another competition on Threadless (open for voting now). It’s called Odd Couples and the challenge was to pick any two unrelated characters or figures and show how they’d interact. As you can see, I chose a zombie desperate for money presenting teeth he’s “collected” to the tooth fairy hoping to cash in. The idea was inspired by my cousin Cara. She’s a teenager, but she’s really responsible with her money and doesn’t like to spend it, at least not on herself. One of her favorite phrases/reasons is “It’s a recession.”
oddcouple_sketch

I sketched the zombie and the tooth fairy separately. Then I scanned the sketches and took them into Illustrator for inking and color. It was the first time I had used a tablet. A fellow designer and friend of mine has been kind enough to let me borrow his Bamboo Wacom Tablet. It takes a while to get use to looking at the computer screen when your natural tendency is to look down as you draw, but if I didn’t have this tablet I don’t want to imagine how long it would have taken me otherwise. Here are some great tutorials that helped along the way:

Here’s the full design. Please don’t forget to vote for it on Threadless if you like it. Thanks!

oddcouple_recession-01oddcoupleentry1

Threadless & Absolut Vodka: Can I Get Your Vote?

As a Chicago fan, I couldn’t resist submitting a design for the Threadless/ABSOLUT Vodka Design Competition. The challenge was to create artwork for a limited edition bottle that “distills what you love most about the City of Big Shoulders into a fresh, inventive design that will give Chicagoans a reason to raise their glasses.” So I had to do a little research. I know what I love about Chicago, the summers, the city just comes to life, but I had to find out what is the ABSOLUT style. I looked up previous bottle designs and discovered that their style to me has a sketchy free flowing feel, nothing too technical/intricate.

So I started sketching. This is actually my second one where I was still working things out. I started to draw another more cleaned up version, but I just loved the energy and composition of this one that I decided to take this into Illustrator instead.
absolut_chicago_sketch 001

Here’s the result. I wanted something bright and full of energy and movement. My design is currently up for voting. If you like it please take the time to score it and check out the other designs too. There’s some good stuff.
absolut_design_spinder absolut_chicago_shirt_spinder absolut_chicago_bottles_spinder

P.S This is my favorite ABSOLUT Limited Edition Bottle Design: London by artist Jamie Hewlett.
absolut-london-jamie-hewlett-2

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