Illustrators of the Future 4th Quarter Winners

Illustrators of the Future 4th Quarter Winners Announced for Volume 35

This illustration contest list is the place to be!


And the winners are:

Aliya Chen from California
Qianjiao Ma from California
Alice Wang from Washington



Ivan Garcia from Mexico
Gillian Griffiths from Colorado
Ashly Lovett from Louisiana
Yo Mutsu from Japan
Richard Romare from the Philippines


Victoria Campbell from Minnesota
Allison Chen from California
Consuelo Higdon from California
Sang Eun Lee from California
Bojan Milojevic from Serbia
Crystal Modeste from Florida
Sarah Moore from Tennessee
Melissa Posner from New York
Aaron Radney from Missouri
April Robinson from Arkansas
Andy Rogers from Alaska
Michelle Vigeant from Massachusetts
Jabari Weathers from Maryland

Honorable Mentions:

Lorena Campes from Florida
Ben Coombs from Utah
Kayla Fox from Pennsylvania
Caroline Griffith from Florida
Ryan Hamm from California
Eliana Harrison from New Jersey
Doug Hoppes from North Carolina
Ravi Kumeriya from India
Phillip Mandipira from Zimbabwe
Rose Moran from the United Kingdom
Jason Notter from Alaska
Annabelle Pullen from Florida
Emily Schallock from Alabama

Illustrators of the Future 3rd Quarter Winners

Illustrators of the Future 3rd Quarter Winners Announced for Volume 35

This illustration contest list is the place to be!


And the winners are:

Allen Morris from Washington
Jennifer Ober from New Mexico
Josh Pemberton from Washington



Nicole Annunziata from New York
Chase Henson from Utah
Linda Thai from California
Erika Torres from Georgia
Brandon Whelan from Kentucky


Adam Carsons from Colorado
Kristelle Dirks from Arizona
Bianca Dortch from California
Adam Mekies from Colorado
Evangelia Psoma from Greece
Daniel Santiago from Florida
Julia Talbot from Massachusetts
Joel Tokarczyk from Indiana
April Wei from California

Honorable Mentions:

Sean Bedrosian from Michigan
Anthony DiBattista from New York
Jackson Fojut from Colorado
Camila Frater from Canada
Mayralejandra Guevara from Tennessee
Alexandra May from California
Mary Margaret McKay from Massachusetts
Leah McKay from Texas
Andrea Palmer from Virginia
Chau Pham from Washington
Miriam Presas from California
Christina Rodriguez-Unalt from New Jersey
Nava Saad from New York
Erin Sheehan from Maine
Mariah Stewart from Missouri
David Unthank from Ohio
Cassandra Vincent from Florida

Illustrators of the Future 2nd Quarter Winners

Illustrators of the Future 2nd Quarter Winners Announced for Volume 35


Here are the 2nd Quarter Illustrators of the Future Contest Winners for Volume 35


Congratulations to you all!


Alexander Gustafson from Washington
Sam Kemp from the United Kingdom
Christine Rhee from California



Katie Boozer from Florida
Victoria Campbell from Minnesota
Grace Fong from Canada
Ashley Hankins from California
Jeremy Zheng from California


Joymae Capps from Washington
Sam Greene from North Carolina
Amara Klemann from Texas
Adam Kohn from Georgia
Sarah Beth Moore from Tennessee

Honorable Mentions:

Kathryn Bertram from North Carolina
Becca Gowdy from Virginia
Gabrielle Isabella Hojilla from California
Avery Istwan from Missouri
Courtney Kilmak from Connecticut

Illustrators of the Future 1st Quarter Winners

Illustrators of the Future 1st Quarter Winners Announced for Volume 35


Here are the 1st Quarter Illustrators of the Future Contest Winners for Volume 35


Congratulations to you all!


Emerson Rabbitt from Minnesota
Vetas Vasiliauskas from the United Kingdom
Yingying Jiang from the United Kingdom



Madison Brotzge from Ohio
Shirin Cristina Elmi Flores from Mexico
Bojan Milojevic from Serbia
Brenda Rodriguez from Florida
Joel Tokarczyk from Indiana


Olivia Begg from Connecticut
Amy Ni from Indiana

Honorable Mentions:

Elliottt Darrow from Florida
Nadine Ewing from Colorado
Lauren Hill from Utah
Sarah Klumpp from Illinois
Genevieve Ong from Singapore
Mia Tran from Arizona


Illustrators of the Future Contest

Illustrators of the Future 4th Quarter Winners Announced for Volume 34

Here are the 4th Quarter Illustrators of the Future Contest winners for Volume 34.


Congratulations to you all!


Quintin Gleim from Ohio
Sidney Lugo from Venezuela
Kyna Tek from Arizona



John Armbruster from Texas
Rakhi Bisen from Vermont
Leah McKay from Washington
Vytautas Vasiliauskas from the United Kingdom


Chloe Buffington from Florida
Anna Engel from Oklahoma
Patricia Jacques from Massachusetts
Natalia Kurpiel from Oregon
Gillian Maurer from North Carolina
Michael Meusch from Maryland
Mariah Wood from Texas
Jieun Yu from Indiana


Michael Michera on the red carpet with singer Joy Villa

Spotlight on artist Michael Michera

Michael Michera is a self-taught artist who found out about L. Ron Hubbard’s Illustrators of the Future Contest quite accidentally from a friend who then persuaded him to enter. That accidental encounter resulted in Michael winning the grand prize.

The contest, which is in its 28th year, costs nothing to enter. And thousands of artists enter every year from all over the world. The judging is done by top professionals and is anonymous, meaning the judging is done blind without reference to name, gender or nationality.

About Michael and His Art

Grand prize winner, Michael Michera

Grand prize winner, Michael Michera

Michael was born and raised in Poland where he currently resides. When it comes to art, he has been passionate about prehistoric animals since childhood, when he began drawing dinosaurs and creating his own creatures from his imagination. Later his interest expanded to include all animals and biology in general. He read many books on this topic and earned priceless knowledge for his current work as a concept artist.

As a youngster, Michael watched a lot of horror and sci-fi movies and it is those films, and most particularly the movie Alien, that has influenced his art.

Michael has always been fascinated by traditional drawing as well as comic art. He loves to experiment with art styles, though he most enjoys creating robots and futuristic designs of sci-fi technology. He uses digital painting and 3D sculpture in his creations.

Illustrators Workshop and Awards Celebration

As a winner of the Contest, Michael came to Los Angeles and attended the Illustrators of the Future Workshop the week prior to the awards celebration. The workshop is exclusively for the artist winners, and instructors include Coordinating Judge Echo Chernik along with judges Lazarus Chernik, Ciruelo, Larry Elmore, Sergey Poyarkov and a host of special guest artists and art directors.

Author C.L. Kagmi with the illustration Michael did for her story

Author C.L. Kagmi with the illustration Michael did for her story

During the seminars, the artists learn both the practical and business side of illustrating including how to put together their portfolio, how to brand and promote themselves, as well as practical experience on drawing. Each artist also has one-on-one time with professionals to get advice on their work.

During the week, the Writers Workshop is also taking place and so Michael met author C.L. Kagmi who wrote the story he illustrated, “The Drake Equation.”

For Michael, winning the grand prize was the best day of his life. In his acceptance speech, he talked about how artists and writers can together change the world and that he was glad to be shaping the future together with his fellow artists and writers.

He ended by saying, “Thank you for everything. This is a very important day for me and probably the best week in my life. If this is my American dream, I don’t want to wake up.”

We look forward to seeing much more of Michael and his creativity in the future.

Artist Ciruelo during the portfolio review of the Illustrators Workshop

Artist Anthony Moravian

Anthony Moravian is a tall, quiet kind of guy, but his art speaks volumes. He describes his style as fantasy inspired by classic renaissance paintings and, so, not surprisingly, he specializes in charcoal drawings and oil paintings as you can see here in his portfolio.

As a Finalist in the Illustrators of the Future Contest, we asked Anthony to illustrate one of the winning stories, “A Glowing Heart” written by Anton Rose. Anton’s story is about a boy faced with a terrible decision. His mother is dying, and the only way he can save her is by killing something beautiful.

Author Anton Rose with Anthony and his art for the story "A Glowing Heart"

Author Anton Rose with Anthony and his art for the story “A Glowing Heart”

In doing the illustration, Anthony said he was inspired by the story’s theme of doing what is necessary, even it if is something you would rather not do, which prompted him to capture the feeling of grief in the protagonist over what he had done. He further elaborated on his selection of the scene he chose from the story, stating that reading and writing play a large part in his process when doing an illustration. He tries to balance the two in order to maintain interest in the illustration and he can do this if he understands all of the elements of the story.

I read and enjoyed Anton’s touching story immensely and have to say that Anthony did a great job capturing both its mood and spirit. His illustration appears in the latest edition of the Writers of the Future anthology, Volume 33.

A bit about Anthony. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and has been drawing since the age of three. Anthony graduated magna cum laude from the Associate’s program at the Fashion Institute of Technology and is currently honing his art at the Art Students League of New York.

He came out to Los Angeles to attend this year’s Illustrators of the Future Workshop and the annual awards event. While here he met the author of the story as well as a host of artists from all corners of the globe as part of the Illustrators Workshop.

According to Anthony, the whole experience was wonderful and he had a great time meeting the other illustrator winners and professional artists and art directors who were part of the workshop. As he summed it up, “The seminars were very thorough. The critiques during the portfolio review were, perhaps, the most helpful parts of the event. I look forward to putting what I learned to good use.”

You can meet up with Anthony and see his art on display today (April 14) between 7:00-9:00 PM along with fellow artist Yader Fonseca at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square, Manhattan. They will be there signing copies of Writers of the Future Volume 33 which contains their art.

Anthony will also be doing another book signing, April 15, at Books-A-Million in Paramus, New Jersey between 1:00-3:00 PM.

For information about author book signings, visit the Writers & Illustrators of the Future facebook page.

Bob Ciano

Illustrators of the Future Workshop 2017 – Day 5

Day 5. Portfolio day. The winners have been through the gauntlet. They pushed through their assignments and have the tools to succeed.

Larry Elmore started the day giving his advice to the winners. Listening to him is a special treat with his amazing wealth of experience. He spoke about how technology has influenced his work for reference gathering and about lens distortion when taking your reference. His tip was to use an 80mm lens as it will be similar to the human eye. Regardless of technology, he has used models for 40 years and gave sound advice for keeping everything legal to protect yourself. One of the beauties of technology is the distribution outlets for your projects. While many of the older publications are now gone, new outlets have evolved thanks to the internet. So the age of technology has really made it an incredible time to add revenue streams that make you money while you sleep. All this advice was really good, but the primary force of the talk was about how an artist sees. Not just look but to really see it, to the point where you understand the shapes and patterns. Cataloging your visual library is a lifelong journey but is vital to an artist’s visual vocabulary and once you understand the shapes and patterns you can manipulate them, distort, and make something new.

Bob Ciano, has worked as a Creative Director for Wired magazine, St. Mary’s College, Life magazine and the New York Times. He gave his lecture with the illustrators about their business plan and reinforced their usage rights as artists. He asked some great questions which the winners will need to ask themselves regularly. Questions like: What art do you make? Who is your target? What has the response been to your art? Are you getting work? Because if you are not making your living on your art you are not a professional. He talked about the invoice, the basics being: Who it goes to. When it’s due. How much. The most important thing he looks for in promotional material is to do something different, even if it’s something small. You must market yourself. This includes research on your other illustrators. You must be a good designer, and a good marketer using a website and social media. Make sure you are making projects that stand out, not just portfolio pieces. Don’t worry about the rejection letters as it usually takes 3-5 years to have enough clients to not work a day job, but it works that way in all industries. He discussed how to sell by targeting who you want to work for. Do you have a promotion piece and are you going to send it to them every month until they tell you to go away or give you a job. Art Directors and Creative Directors are busy people and it takes many tries sometimes to get the timing right and the right project to come along. The key is to never stop sending.

The Winners broke for lunch and then upon returning conducted round robin style portfolio reviews with each of the visiting judges providing a vast wealth of knowledge to draw from. Each Winner had 20 minutes for each session with their choice of Ciruelo, Larry Elmore, Bob Ciano, Echo Chernik, Lazarus Chernik, Val Lindahn and past winners. With so many biases and different experiences each Portfolio Review would be different and it seemed to be a pattern that after the timer quite a few artists and judges went over their time. That just speaks to the level of art that is winning the competition, each year builds higher from the year before.

Past Illustrators of the Future winner Ven Locklear came to talk and showcased his work and his experiences working at Liquid Development. He has worked on games ranging from Farmville to Halo 5, and with companies like WB Games, Zynga, Disney Interactive, 343 Industries, and Bethesda. Most of his presentation was how he entered into the industry and provided avenues for the winners if they would like to pursue a similar career path. In this case there were a couple winners who definitely have that style and they were able to converse further after the fact.

Most of the night the winners spent rehearsing at the theatre where the event is fast approaching, all anyone could talk about was the humongous dragon that wrapped around the stage. If you cannot attend the event personally make sure to catch the live streamed event to see all the winning pieces as well as who wins this year’s Golden Brush Award.

Photos from today’s workshop, HERE.


Joshua Meehan

Joshua Meehan

Guest blogger, Joshua Meehan.
Joshua Meehan is a freelance science fiction and fantasy illustrator. He was an Illustrators of the Future winner in 2013 in Volume 29. His client list includes Paizo Publishing, Analog Sci-fi magazine, Fantasy Flight and Bethesda. Joshua’s illustration for Robert J. Sawyer’s short story “Gator” is in the latest Writers of the Future anthology, Volume 33.

Illustrators of the Future Workshop 2017 – Day 4

On Day 4 it was another early morning. The artists had been working throughout the night and into this morning. The drive and passion of the winners has been an inspiring part of this year’s seminar.

We had an awesome lecture from Maria Ragusa-Burfield, owner and founder of Altpick. A Professional Portfolio site for artists. It provides a vehicle for talent to utilize the web and connect artists to more buyers. She was very impressed with the work and provided some great advice on how to advertise themselves by talking about their process and promoting their work through a website, email list, and social media platforms to build a network. She surprised them with a page for each artist and with an article to promote their work with the Writers of the Future anthology!

The seminar then covered the different ways you could self-publish your work through sites like Patreon and Kickstarter. Each needs a different business model to be successful and we focused on Kickstarter since more of the winners were interested in it. Lazarus and Echo have done 13 successful Kickstarter projects and showed the kits and campaigns they had run. Then the clock struck 11 AM and it was the deadline for their assignment.

All the judges, the past and current winners huddled around each artist as they presented their final piece. Each one had a unique and stunning take on the work over the course of just two days. Yader Fonseca had an incredible painting that used the silhouette of his three tigers to look like a mythical Cerberus. While Rachel Quinlan’s art had such a successful composition and the most integrated use of “the dragon” curveball included in the brief. Anthony put his reference to great use and had a great value structure. Ryan Richards could be seen down in the lobby every night working on his piece and the work paid off creating a very complete piece. Chan ha Kim’s work was filled with fantastic details in her pen and ink drawing. David Furnal’s art had one of the strongest uses of shapes to frame the main character. Michael Michera’s piece had the most ambitious composition and Hanna Al-shaer’s art really had a Saturday Evening Post vibe. All in all, it was an impressive display and we were able to review all before lunch.

After Lunch we had 4 esteemed judges present their work, Val Lakey Lindhan, Sergey Poyarkov, Ciruelo Cabral and Rob Prior. Each shared their process, experiences and advice that is quintessential to their work. Then the writers came down as we setup to sign the first batch of books. The assembly line really grew into an efficient machine. Although for many artists this was their first book signing. So it took some getting used to and would be a good warm up for the coming weekend.

Then to top it all off the Winners were invited to a barbecue hosted by Author Services up on their roof! As the sun sets and the lights began to glow we could feel the anticipation in the air for the event that would come up this weekend! Get ready for a show!

Photos from today’s highlights can be seen HERE.


Joshua Meehan

Joshua Meehan

Guest blogger, Joshua Meehan.
Joshua Meehan is a freelance science fiction and fantasy illustrator. He was an Illustrators of the Future winner in 2013 in Volume 29. His client list includes Paizo Publishing, Analog Sci-fi magazine, Fantasy Flight and Bethesda. Joshua’s illustration for Robert J. Sawyer’s short story “Gator” is in the latest Writers of the Future anthology, Volume 33.

Illustrators of the Future Workshop 2017 - Day 3

Illustrators of the Future Workshop – Day 3

It was an early start for the winners and based on the look on their faces they didn’t get much sleep. They were busy working on their assignments. Some worked digitally and some worked traditionally. Lazarus began the morning early and presented the theme for the day: Portfolio Presentations. Each day there has been a recurring overall theme, “You are good enough to do the work, that is why you are here.” Today the winners would learn how to sell their portfolio to clients.

Part of selling to the client is making sure to hit all of the important parts within the brief. In the assignment “the Red Dragon,” handling client curveballs (where the client changes what they ask for) became a point of critique. This became a good example of how to communicate and take care of your client. Between critiques, the Illustrator winners had now proceeded to the reference gathering part of the creative process. Creating a good sketch is important, helping to ensure the gestalt or “the overall” is working well, as well as structuring the message for one’s eventual audience. Yet it is the reference that the artist can use to really sell the image. The winners took turns posing as each other’s references for their pieces, setting up lighting, using props. Anthony Moravian’s reference piece was particularly extensive and everyone was happy to jump in. With many expressive faces, we all gathered together to scream at the imaginary horrors. With each winner’s reference pack, they were able to flesh out their ideas and really tighten up the drawings for presenting later.

The winners were then gotten to “sell” their portfolio in a controlled environment. It really helped the winners work out the kinks and see the order of presentation and how to comport themselves. Each artist would present their work and for some, it was their first time in public speaking, yet all went full force and impressed the judges. For David Furnal, we all gathered around his tablet and really got into the great line work. Including his graphic novel “Another Girl, Another Planet.” After seeing each presentation we broke for lunch.

After lunch, the seminar continued with judges portfolios. Lazarus showcased his “Brand Management” portfolio. Echo had her many fantastic art nouveau works and many different styles. This was a way to specifically show how to organize your portfolio and how to sell it and showing how your clients will go through your portfolio. Winners were coached on what they should sharpen and fine tune for stronger presentations. One interesting point that Lazarus talked about was to “Walk the customer through” your portfolio instead of letting them walk through your work. Show the client what fits their need and sell your services to fix their problem. The artists began their one-on-one sessions on how to orchestrate their portfolio. Each artist had different approaches. And by the end of the day, they had strong portfolios and even stronger websites. The art was already good, it was just a matter of how they told the story through the portfolio.

The rest of the day was tuxedo fitting and fellowship … until when the surprise hit! As the tuxedo fitting was taking place, the writers’ room was completely filled with easels of each piece of art in the upcoming Writers of the Future Volume 33. As the illustrators stood by, writers entered the room, reviewing the art display to find their piece. Once found, their illustrator would come up to the writer to introduce themselves! As an artist, there is a lot of work that has to go into a cover piece. Reading the story multiple times to pick up on the minute details and tone. The artists and writers were thrilled to meet each other and instantly hit it off. A very cool moment that they will remember forever.

There were just a few more surprises. With such a full day, the perfect capstone to the night was the Salon Figure Drawing session. The artist gets to just relax and get into the heart of what the winners love to do—draw. Everyone had different styles, tools, and techniques. As a special treat, they could even sketch side-by-side with the judges, seeing their masterful strokes.

After such a great day the winners were sent off with a complimentary t-shirt featuring Larry Elmore’s “Crimson Dawn” from this year’s book cover!

Tomorrow the artists will be presenting their assignments, so look forward to that.

A ton of cool pics from today’s highlights can be seen HERE.


Joshua Meehan

Joshua Meehan

Guest blogger, Joshua Meehan.
Joshua Meehan is a freelance science fiction and fantasy illustrator. He was an Illustrators of the Future winner in 2013 in Volume 29. His client list includes Paizo Publishing, Analog Sci-fi magazine, Fantasy Flight and Bethesda. Joshua’s illustration for Robert J. Sawyer’s short story “Gator” is in the latest Writers of the Future anthology, Volume 33.