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Proko Challenge April 2020

Prizes provided by @Wacom

Find a passage from a book and illustrate it. It can be anything. A description of a character, a climax action scene, a dialog… Anything. But remember, this is a contest, so choose something good. The passage should be short enough that it can fit in a single photo of the text. Your illustration can be a drawing or painting. Digital or traditional.

The Judge

@vancekovacs is an illustrator and concept artist known for his extensive work in video games and movies. Among the long list of projects he’s had a hand in are, God of War, Black Panther, Thor, Magic the Gathering, and The Jungle Book just to name a few.

1st Place

Alyssa Russell – @russellaarts

Vance says: Lovely image, “russellaarts”. I think this is a beautifully simple illustration that marries well to the text. Overall, I think you captured the spirit of the text and managed well where to focus your attention. Your image demonstrates well that sometimes whispering softly is as effective as raising your voice. Well done.

Prize – A Wacom One Creative Pen Display, and the Figure, Portrait, and Anatomy courses.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

“She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes. She called in her soul to come and see.”

russellaarts artist, Their Eyes Were Watching God

2nd Place

Ognjen Sporin – @ognyendyolic

Vance says: A solid image that captured the text well. Very good use of color and simple composition. Well drawn and conceived characters. What more can I say…well done!

Prize – A Wacom Intuos Small Bluetooth tablet, and a choice of 1 Proko Course.

Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee

“The Spriggans stamped towards Tom, getting bigger and bigger as they approached. Their fearsome aspect so appalled Tom that he fled back to his comrades, roused them and urged them to put to sea for their lives. As they ran towards the boat, a hail of small stones rained on them and ‘burned like coals o’ fire wherever they hit them’. The men were so frightened that they pulled far out to sea before they dared look back although they knew they were safe as no Spriggan dares touch salt water. When they did cast a glance behind them they saw an army of the ugliest-looking creatures possible lined along the shore making threatening gestures.”

ognyendyolic, Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee

3rd Place

lazarartboy – @lazarartboy

Vance says: A well drawn and conceived character concept. The subdued palette and simple design helped the image stand out among the competition. Congratulations and well done!

Prize – 1 Proko course.

Serbian fairy tale, Baš Čelik

“When he entered inside, he witnessed a remarkable sight! There was a man in the room, chained in iron up to his knees with both hands ironed to the wall up to his elbows… He was chained so strong, he couldn’t move an inch. Suddenly “Man of Iron” Jumped like a bolt, spread his wings, flew and disappeared out of sight. Do not! – shouted the emperor – “try to follow him”! You don’t understand who “Man of Iron” is, many treasures and armies have I lost before I could capture him!”

Lazarartboy art of Serbian Fairytale

Random Winner

Schnetzer Tamara – @tamara_schnetzer

Prize – A Wacom Intuos Small tablet.

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

“Shan jumped forward, smiling, her long black hair flairing in the air. Vin gritted her teeth. She didn’t have much choice. She burned atium. Immediately, Shan’s form shot forth dozens of phantom atium shadows. It was a Mistborn stand-off: The first one who ran out of atium would be vulnerable. You couldn’t escape an opponent who knew exactly what you were going to do. Vin scrambled backward, keeping an eye on Shan. The noblewoman stalked forward, her phantoms forming an insane bubble of translucent motion around her. She seemed calm. Secure.”

Tamara Schnetzer, Mistborn

Proko “Team Choice”

Rodrigo Larreteguy – @roylarreart

Prize – 1 Proko course.

Rocket Summer by Ray Bradbury

“The rocket lay on the launching field, blowing out pink clouds of fire and oven heat. The rocket stood in the cold winter morning, making summer with every breath of its mighty exhausts. The rocket made climates, and summer lay for a brief moment upon the land…”

Roylarreart artist, Ray Bradbury's Rocket Summer

Runner Up

Zheng JunSheng – @Zheng JunSheng

Vance says: This is a lovely image and was close along the top three pick. It’s a solid composition: simple, subdued with clear sight lines. My only reservation was that the text conveyed something more grand than the final image illustrated. Separated from the text it stands fine alone, however, reading the words make me crave for a tower of epic proportions. Regardless, it’s a solid piece.

Prize – 1 Proko course.

Tower Of Babylon by Ted Chiang

“None of them had seen the tower before. I became visible when they were still leagues away: a line as thin as a strand of flax, wavering in the shimmering air, rising up from the crust of mud that was Babylon itself. As they drew closer, the crust grew into the mighty city walls, but all they saw was the tower. When they did lower their gazes to the level of the river-plain, they saw the marks the tower had made outside the city: the Euphrates itself now flowed at the bottom of a wide, sunken bed, dug to provide clay for bricks. To the south of the city could be seen rows upon rows of kilns, no longer burning. As they approached the city gates, the tower appeared more massive than anything Hillalum had ever imagined; a single column that must have been as large around as an entire temple, yet rising so high that it shrank into invisibility. All of them walked with their heads tilted back, squinting in the sun.”

Zheng.jun.sheng, Tower of Babylon

Runner Up

Srđan Elor – @burningarmadillo

Vance says: Burning Armadillo! This is a fun and well executed piece. Very well drawn and conceived. My only reason this is a runner up is that the text described a different pallet for the dragon which creates a discord between the text and image… which isn’t ideal. Regardless, it has a great storybook charm of it’s own.

Prize – 1 Proko course.

The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame

“He was as big as four cart-horses, and all covered with shiny scales-deep-blue scales at the top of him, and shading off to a tender sort o’ green yellow below. As he breathed, there was that sort of flicker over his nostrils that you see over our chalk roads on a baking windless day in summer. “What’s your mind always occupied about?” asked the Boy. “that’s what I want to know.” The dragon coloured slightly and looked away. Presently he said bashfully: “Did you ever-just for fun-try to make up poetry-verses, you know?”

Burningarmadillo, The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame

Runner Up

aviateurcomics – @aviateurcomics

Vance says: This is a solid, simple well executed piece. Good composition and nice simple cartoony technique. My only reservation was that the text describes a slightly different scene and action that didn’t get translated to the final image. It’s a lovely image on it’s own.

Prize – 1 Proko course.

Before Tomorrow by Jørn Riel

“While grunting it threw his paw toward the floating smoke and cowered, ready to attack. Then Ninioq dived her hand into the flames. And she got up, screaming furiously and throwing twigs towards the bear. The bear howled savagely in surprise, the flaming twigs had touched his head and he felt a terrible burn on his nose and eyes.”

Runner Up

Josu Solano – @solanocreates

Vance says: This is a well put together image with good value control and a nice subtle palette. Why it’s a runner up and not in the top three is an issue of “moment choice”. This is a skill that will set you apart from other illustrators. The text is highlighting the reveal of this samurai’s katakana. this is a moment where a true identity is being “revealed”. However, the composition isn’t reflecting this crucial story point. Though very well executed, it doesn’t capture the intensity that the passage is communicating. This image could have carried the same emotional weight as King Arthur gripping Excalibur. A moment of anticipation or great tension is what you want to capture in a moment like this. The image leaves my wanting the beat just before… or the beat just after. A good illustration will get all this into the underlying design of the image…the composition. All your knowledge of lighting, shape design, staging, color, values, anatomy should aim to serve that end purpose. To make a compelling and potent image that captures the viewer. If you get that lesson wrangled in then you’re images will stand above the rest.”

Prize – 1 Proko course.

The Warrior behind the Cherry Tree by David B. Gil

“The confrontation was inevitable, those men were determined to kill them. Thank heaven -Kenzaburo thought-, the archer had made the mistake of letting go of his bow and unsheathing his sword, giving him a chance. He began to back away from his badly wounded mount, keeping his distance with the two attackers in front of him as he, inevitably, approached the one behind him. He indicated Seizo to lie down on the ground, and he obeyed immediately. The saddlebags and firewood had been scattered along the way, and the warrior approached them as he spoke to distract his contenders. -Tell me, then, if I am General Arima, what makes you think you could defeat me? The three raiders exchanged a glance: for the first time that man did not speak like a simple woodcutter, which seemed to corroborate their suspicions. The samurai leaned over a wooden pack and reaching into the trunks, he drew out a rag-wrapped sheath. His assailants suddenly became tense. Kenzaburo stood up holding the sheathed katakana with his left hand. -You no longer face a firewood seller. You must kill General Arima. Let’s see if you are capable”

Runner Up

Stefano De Gennaro – @stefanodegennaroart

Vance says: This is a cool image and a great text to match. I like the direct sense for design and how you interpreted the passage. It’s the interpretation that makes me hesitate though. Perhaps my brain isn’t big enough to digest McCarthy completely, but is a skeletal reflection of a man the best for an illustration for courage, constancy, cowardice and self betrayal…? To be honest, I really don’t know. Perhaps you nailed it… a better judge would know the answer! The passage of like many of McCarthy’s are worth deep thought and discussion in dark taverns and saloons. Regardless, I think it’s a cool image.

Prize – 1 Proko course.

All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

“Long before morning I knew that what I was seeking to discover was a thing I’d always known. That all courage was a form of constancy. That is always himself that the coward abandoned first. After this all other betrayals come easily.”

Honorable Mentions

Other Honorable Mentions in no particular order.

Art by @eisssart

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

“From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadow shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.”

Art by @diego.iluma

The Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft

“I think their predominant colour was a greyish-green. Their forms vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while their heads were the heads of fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills. They were the blasphemous fish-frogs of the nameless design – living and horrible.”

Art by @corneliuscockroft

Slvan Shadows by R.A. Salvatore

“You have met Prince Elbereth?” Headmaster Avery Schell asked Cadderly as soon as the young scholar entered Dean Thobieu’s office. The large headmaster rubbed a kerchief across his blotchy face, huffing and puffing almost continually as his bloated body tried to pull in enough air. Even before the advent of the chaos curse, Avery had been a rotund man. Now he was obese, having gone on a gluttonous spree along with several other of the Edificant Library’s most prominent eaters. In the throes of the chaos curse, some of those priests had literally eaten themselves to death.”

Art by @carlosrdzart

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

“As Gregore Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”

Art by @dukespook

The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

“Slowly, amidst the distorted horrors of that indescribable scene, she began to churn the lethal waters; whilst on the masonry of that charnel shore that was not of earth the titan Thing from the stars slavered and gibbered like Polypheme cursing the fleeing ship of Odysseus. Then, bolder than the storied Cyclops, great Cthulhu slid greasily into the water and began to pursue with vase wave-raising strokes of cosmic potency”

Art by @ijustwanttobeatugboatcaptain

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

“He ran,” the unicorn said. “You must never run from anything immortal. It attracts their attention.” Her voice was gentle and without pity. “Never run,” she said. “Walk slowly, and pretend to be thinking of something else. Sing a song, say a poem, do your tricks, but walk slowly and she may not follow. Walk very slowly, magician.”
So they fled across the night together, step by step, the tall man in black and the horned white beast. The magician crept as close to the unicorn’s light as he dared, for beyond it moved hungry shadows, the shadows of the sounds that the harpy made as she destroyed the little there was to destroy of the Midnight Carnival”

Art by @m.nunes167

The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

“Wilcox raved with fever in that telepathic instant? The thing of the idols, the green, sticky spawn of the stars, had awaked to claim his own. The stars were right again, and what an age-old cult had failed to do by design, a band of innocent sailors had done by accident. After vigintillions of years great Cthulhu was loose again, and ravening for delight”

Art by @rivailmartinezgoncalves

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

“Lost in the swamp and welter of the pit,
He flounders off the duck-boards; only he knows
Each flash and spouting crash; – each instant lit
When gloom reveals the streaming rain. He goes
Heavily, blindly on. And, while he blunders,
‘Could anything be worse than this?; – he wonders,
Remembering how he saw those Germans run,
Screaming for mercy among the stumps of trees:
Green-faced, they dodged and darted: there was one
Livid with terror, clutching at his knees…
Our chaps were sticking ’em like pigs…
‘Oh Hell!’ He thought – ‘There’s things in war one dare
Not tell poor father sitting safe at home, who reads
Of dying heroes and their deathless deeds.”

Art by @yabog_art

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“He stood over her. ‘She is afraid,’ he thought. He stealthily took the axe from the noose and struck her one blow, then another on the skull. But strange to say she did not stir, as though she were made of wood. He was frightened, bent down nearer and tried to look at her; but she, too, bent her head lower. He bent right down to the ground and peeped up into her face from below, he peeped and turned cold with horror: the old woman was sitting and laughing, shaking with noiseless laughter, doing her utmost that he should not hear it. Suddenly he fancied that the door from the bedroom was opened a little and that there was laughter and whispering within. He was overcome with frenzy and he began hitting the old woman on the head with all his force, but at every blow of the axe the laughter and whispering from the bedroom grew louder and the old woman was simply shaking with mirth. He was rushing away, but the passage was full of people, the doors of the flats stood open and on the landing, on the stairs and everywhere below there were people, rows of heads, all looking, but huddled together in silence and expectation. Something gripped his heart, his legs were rooted to the spot, they would not move… He tried to scream and woke up.”

Art by @cowa.joe.art

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

“I had admired the perfect forms of my cottagers-their grace, beauty, and delicate complexions: but how was I terrified, when I viewed myself in a transparent pool! At first I started back, unable to believe that it was indeed I who was reflected in the mirror; and when I became fully convinced that I was in reality the monster that I am, I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification. Alas! I did not yet entirely know the fatal effects of this miserable deformity.”

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