Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spectrum Judging

-by Arnie Fenner

Just a note that we'll try to be posting pictures and videos from the Spectrum judging today. We'll film an announcement of the award winners in each category, too: if things work out it'll go up at the end of the day. If things don't work out (you know how it goes), we'll get it posted Sunday.

***Update 7:00pm***
From the Spectrum website:

***Update 12:00am***


  1. Awesome! Great choices, congrats to the winners!

  2. I love that Greg and Julie are always smiling.

  3. Congratulations to another year of deserving winners!

  4. Amazing stuff! I'd love to judge spectrum one day it really would be an honor.

  5. This was way more exciting than the lame Academy Awards show, congrats to the winners!

  6. Congratulations to all the winners! well deserved.

    I love Spectrum Arnie, but I have a miniscule nitpick, a while back when the category comics was introduced I was very excited, but this category seems to entail cover Illustrations as well (2 medal winners this year in comics were cover pieces (or should I say single image pieces, I am not sure if they might be interior splash pages)). Now I do like myself a good cover Illu on comics, but I think this category would do better with sequential pages only. Everything else, like cover Illus, Promotional work featuring comic characters, etc can be easily placed in other categories. Spectrum has mostly single image pieces in all other categories, the comics category should in my humble opinion feature what defines a comic, sequential work.
    I am not trying to hate on or discredit the winners by any means, and I hope this isnt an incredibly bad time to mention this, but its been going thru my head whenever I see the comics category... so I thought Id mention it :)
    Please forgive a comic nut if anyone feels his toes stepped upon.

    Anyhow, as I said congrats to all winners & looking forward to another great Spectrum.

  7. Congrats to all. I love Spectrum. Nic, I really believe you have a great point. Maybe even a sequential category like SI.

  8. I think it would make the judging process a LOT longer than it already is if they were required to read/observe a bunch of sequential entries every year, though I must admit when I think comic category that is what comes to mind.

  9. Andrew, I disagree. A comic page can be nicely designed/executed without you having to read it. Most pages would be submitted without Dialogue anyhow I would presume.
    It all depends on who submits work of course but there are so many incredible comic artists out there, and some pages baffle me with their skill, storytelling and ingenuity, so much that I wanna quit drawing.
    I dont think it would take longer at all, a good page stands out just like a good single stands out. So the judging would not take longer then for say a single image.

    I really did not want to hijack this thread (even though I brought it up here), so again apologies.

  10. @Nic,
    I don't think anyone would take offense, it's a very valid point.

    The work is separated into categories because they each present their own unique challenges. Most notably, deadline and budget (hence, the uncommissioned category). Interior panels are created on such short deadlines, that it's not unreasonable that they receive special consideration too. Unfortunately, the short deadlines interiors have to accommodate often results in less refined work than covers, so I would guess they are simply not getting as much attention. Of course, the same argument could be made for gaming art and a lot of other genres as well. Before you know it, the competition would dissipate into a dozen little categories. I expect this is why you haven't seen a distinction made yet... where do you stop?

    Rather than have a separate category, it might be nice to have 2 separate medals for comics... one cover, one interior.

    I'm curious to know how many Viking pages you submitted, and how many get in. It seems to me that your work skirts the line between cover and interior more than most, so it may be a nice reference point to see if something is being grossly overshadowed.

    Ultimately, it's an imperfect art. The Fenners do an amazing job of it, but there is only so much one can do. I am certain however, that they are -always- interested in hearing constructive thoughts on the matter.

  11. I should also add...
    I have some dealings with the Society of Illustrators, and I have witnessed first hand at just how difficult it is to get comic guys to enter these competitions. Perhaps the sequential panels aren't getting in because the sequential guys aren't submitting them?

  12. That would be my guess too, that not many artists submit sequential work for whatever reason. I myself being one of those, I havent submitted VIKING pages or any work for that matter to Spectrum in 2-4 years (dont remember). No specific reason, mostly missing the deadline and loathing my work at the point ;) :)
    I share your point in that it is hard to say where do you stop in distinguishing what belongs where and what needs its own category. But maybe some artists dont send it Sequential pages because they feel the covers get all the attention, who knows. Its anyones guess, but like you say alot of sequential work is produced under tough deadlines and maybe suffer for it.
    I was just wondering, and did probably not think about the reasons. I only think of the great work I see in comics, but how many of those artists actually submit work is a whole other question/problem.

  13. I think you are right about that Dan. It seemed that when I juried Spectrum that comics were one of the most anemic, in terms of number of entries, categories. The category would still have to be about the art of the comic so I agree with Nic that the jurying shouldn't be more difficult. There are other competitions for the comic as a whole. It would be too difficult to jury under those circumstances. Last year a panel piece by Eric Orchard received a silver because it was beautifully conceived, designed, and executed.

  14. Gah! Nic! You submitted -nothing- ?!!!
    Your Viking comic was on every comic-related 'top 10' list I saw last year.
    I can't believe you didn't submit at least one piece.
    Your sense of reasoning just lost all credibility.

  15. Nic & Co! Thanks for the comments! It's as Dan and Bill mentioned: Comics is usually the category that receives the smallest number of entries (Advertising and Editorial go up and down, depending on market trends, I guess). And of the Comics entries we receive, maybe only 10-15% are panel pages, the rest are covers or splashes. So...the judges generally don't have the same selection when it comes to awards consideration than they do for Book or Unpublished.

    We've talked to the comics artists often, trying to get more participation, but...we get what we get. For whatever reasons. It might be that when they look at SPECTRUM and see mostly covers in the category, they assume that's the only thing that gets accepted and don't enter story pages. It's hard to know hoe to overcome that perception...

    The comics companies themselves rarely enter anything themselves (there ARE exceptions, of course). They're usually fine if their artists do, but they tend not to officially take part.

  16. Hey guys,

    I've submitted sequential pages to both SI and Spectrum in any year that I've done work. I did get pages into the SI annual, but they were reproduced at such a minuscule size that I stopped submitting anything but cover work to them. I've never had storytelling pages accepted into Spectrum, just cover images.

    So for me, it's not about not submitting, but the sequential pages (mine anyway), don't ever get in. I think it's as Dan says, a sequential page can never match a cover piece in terms of finish, and I think the medium suffers for it in this sort of jurying format.

    I'm not complaining, it's just the way it is. Nic, let's both submit sequential work next go-around and see what happens!


  17. Arnie, thank you for clearing it up! In retrospect its the comics artists own fault it seems (guilty). To be honest I suspected something like this all along, but thought I'd bring it up nevertheless.

    Christopher, you're on. :) :)

  18. I like the collective thigh slap at the end