At the beginning of the week, I had said that this was a contest like no other and that remains true today, as this is the largest on-going contest for Writers and Illustrators in Science Fiction and Fantasy. In 2013 I was a winner in Volume 29, it was my first entry and I had done many school projects that had become successful in their own right. But I had no business plan for myself. Coming here I was inspired by the guest lecturers and the Judges. I remember being overwhelmed by the generosity and felt obligated to make sure I was successful enough that I could do the same in the future.
Coming back I can see some of the faces have changed and the content has changed but the spirit stays the same. The hunger of the winners for the knowledge and the desire from the Judges to assist all the winners, those things never change. With a revamped business section, new experiences and fields of art to draw from have added a new perspective for the Winners. These changes can be seen throughout the days but it all builds from the same spirit set by L. Ron Hubbard and that is to “pay it forward.”
The seminar doesn’t stop once leaving the Contest. As an award winning Illustrator (and Writer), you have a network of working professionals that help support each other. Everything from paperwork and practices, to advice and contacts. As a winner you become part of the rising tide and along with each other, we all rise.
To those who have yet to experience this contest, I recommend it. If you are doubting your work is good enough, stop self-rejecting yourself and submit. If you have graduated and have found it is hard to get published and don’t know where to start, submit your work. If you think that you are living too far away to start a career in illustration or writing, submit your work. If you think you are too old to start, submit your work; then we will be waiting for you and will see you in the future.
Pictured above (L to R): Illustrator winners Hanna Al-Shaer, Michael Michera, Preston Stone (2016), Joshua Meehan (2013), Illustrators of the Future Contest judges and instructors Echo Chernik, Val Lakey Lindahn, Lazarus Chernik, illustrator winners Yader Fonseca, David Furnal, Rachel Quinlan, Anthony Moravian and Ryan Richmond.
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.