I said it last year, and I'll say it again.
This. Was. HARD.
In fact, I think this year was harder to judge than last year! While last year I took ideas from my friends and from some random people who submitted votes to me (but in the end my vote was what counted) this year I was so torn I actually had five people vote. I chose my top 12 choices and had them each chose their favorites 1st-5th in order, and from that I chose the winners. On the third place choice there was a three-way tie, and I ended up choosing 3rd place based on which was voted on by the most people, and the other two ended up getting Honorable Mention.
During the contest I don't leave much of a comment, since I don't want to show favoritism or anything, but now I finally will have a chance to say what I really think about all the artists, because this year has some really REALLY great art and everyone definitely deserves some recognition. You guys rock.
BEST IN SHOW
1st PlaceIris and Kali by RammsteirNails
With most of my top twelve choices I was like "Oh man, I don't know, they are all so good..." but from the very first time I saw it, back when there were still only a few entries, something about it really grabbed my attention. I am pretty sure the artist has never read the story, but this is so perfect I can't get over how suited for the characters it is. Iris is timid and fragile, while Kali is a powerhouse of pent up hatred and energy. I love this and I love how it captures the twisted relationship between these two, and the electricity and their expressions... it's amazing work. Amazing because I and everyone else was just like "How did they get this so perfectly without reading the story!?" And as one voter made it a point to mention it, I will too; the poof balls on Iris's cap look awesome. This pic really deserves more views, more favorites, more anything, and I am definitely adding this artist to my watch list. Congratulations on first place, your pic blew me and the other judges away.
2nd PlaceLamia by hybrid-angel14
This is gorgeous gorgeous shot of Lamia in gothic lolita clothes in a gothic-inspired setting, and it just works so so well. The colors are certainly pro-level, and Lamia's expression, her pose, the whole picture feels so complete and.. yeah. It's just really really good work. I was really surprised to see this was digital work, because so much of it could pass for expertly painted watercolor under digital textures. Love it, congratulations on placing second!
3rd PlaceNeiva by myapple
Interestingly enough, the picture that won 3rd place last year was also of Neiva, haha. Anyway, I love this. LOVE IT. Love the ice, love the snowy wind, love the fox and love that the artist drew Neiva all sexy and even remembered her beauty mark under her eye. The fox is like "Damn, bitch, ain't you cold?" and she's like "A little." The atmosphere of this whole picture made this make just about every judge's list somewhere, and that's what kind of bumped this pic up to third place. Well deserved, because I'm sure this took a lot of time and it was definitely worth it! Really lovely pic.
HONORABLE MENTIONLamia and Arma by dark-tarou
This fits so PERFECTLY with the story between Lamia and Arma, and I fell in love with this picture. This pic got a lot of high votes from the voters who were actual fans of the story, and the artist herself is familiar with the characters and it's pretty clear in this picture. Lamia is holding a mask while Arma walks away frustrated; if only she could leave the mask off and be honest with herself. This artist is really talented and I'm always impressed with her work. Also, this artist won 2nd place last year, so check out her gallery!Sam/Neco by WhisperingSoul
One of the final entries for the contest, and I'm so glad the artist made it on time! Really epic pic of Sam as his Neco persona, with yummy yummy foreshortening. LOVE IT. And I love the realism-- I didn't get a lot of realistic entries this year compared to last year, but since I'm terrible at it I love it when I do get to see it. Really gorgeous colors, delicious atmosphere... breaking the three-way tie was seriously tough.
This was a really nice standard pose featuring Lamia. Her face is very pretty and I love how smooth her skin looks! There's also a very subtle glow to her that I think looks really nice.
Great pose, great vintage coloring, and I LOVE the cogs in the background! I saw that and went "Oh man, why didn't I think of that?" There are a lot of pics like that in this gallery actually, haha. I think the sepia tones look wonderful and more pictures need to be in sepia! Haha. Nice work!
This is Neiva looking a little aggressive and totally hardcore! She's got such a snarl to her smile it reminds me of some of the old '90s cartoons I used to love. Like Slayers or Saber Marionette-era anime.
This fire and ice pic of Neiva and Vesta is gorgeous! I love the simplicity and the way she designed the background, and I love how the ice and fire look almost like ribbons.
Beautiful beautiful picture. The way the reflection of light off the water can be seen on her skin, the bubbles, her outfit... Maris has never looked more enchanting! I love the outfit she's wearing, too. Very lovely piece.
This artist actually one first place in the FaLLEN Art Contest last year, and this year her entry left my jaw dropping once again. Maris and Vesta are stunning in this picture, and their figures are so stylized and elongated it's like they belong in a fashion magazine! I'm a big fan of this artist's work, and the contrasting elements of fire and water look absolutely amazing in this picture. This was one of my personal favorites. Check this artist out, her gallery is amazing.
Love Lamia's curves, love the action pose, love the American comic book style, and love that yellow lipstick! Though I'm still in tears over the Xena reference (I never watched that show much, but I have definitely been compared to that show once or twice before XD I am well aware of the similarities in costumes, haha)
This was done without line art, and it's so beautiful! Lamia admires herself while stroking her hair, and you really get a sense of how much Lamia thinks of herself, haha. I love the tiny details, like the lace and the stripes along her hose. Very nice.
This artist is also a reader of the story, so when I saw this I was really happy to see she'd incorporated the friendship between Kali and Ora into her pic. I think Kali looks awesome, and I think the way her uniform fits on her body is really... neat. I don't know how to explain it, I just really like how Kali's body kinda plumps up in places and I love her pose and the electricity. The only problem I had with it was I thought the pic of Ora didn't quite fit with the rest of the picture-- probably because the coloring style was different. But I love Ora's expression... this could easily have been two entries, heh. You are definitely improving, NAAN!
While the quality of the shot is a little low because I think it's a photo instead of a scan, I love love love the concept! In fact, I love it so much I'd like to get the artist's permission to eventually do my own version of this drawing XD The setup is just so darn cute!!
The first picture has the artist's character cosplaying as Lamia. He had misread the rules, and I hadn't been very clear about them. But he was a good sport about it and decided to draw another picture, this time of Ora. I'm glad he did because I love her expression and the simplified color scheme
This artist has some really nice coloring and figure skills! I think Ora looks absolutely adorable here, and I like how she's looking back with the rabbit ears and all. Perfect for the Year of the Rabbit! I also think the artist did a better job of drawing Ora than I did, haha. Really enjoyed this.
Of the two line drawings, I like the Maris one the most because I think her form is really solid there. Both black and white drawings remind of the really simplified scroll art you see from East Asia and I love that. I also love the charcoal Vox pic, because charcoal is the perfect medium for a character whose colors are mostly white, gray, and black. And like I told the artist, getting a charcoal mouse drawing in your mailbox is just such a nice feeling
Maris running along the beach in a cute hat and dress combo that reminds me of old idol photo shoots in Japan from like the late '80s, before idols started making stupid pucker faces and don'tgetmestartedonAKB48thoselittletwitsarebringingtheentireidolnamedowntothelevelofmudandbubblegum anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, this is a charming little picture!
Though this artist won first place with her other entry, this entry also won a lot of votes. The purple color balance is wonderful, his expression is perfect, and it's just really high quality profile work. Some of the voters who are big Sam fans were really squealing about this, haha.
This is great. Vesta looks so peaceful and serene with her panda and pillows and reddish garden all around her. Cute pic!
This is a great shot of Sam in front of a big purple cross. I like how he's holding his hourglass and standing in front of a big, old looking clock. Very cool.
The lighting for this pic is just gorgeous, and the setup and composition really make the electric blast look exciting and powerful. Lighting is hard to do well, and this entry did a really nice job with it (and with all the blues, I love blue lighting, heh).
Both pictures have really unique coloring, very heavily influenced by impressionism paintings (or so it appears to me at least), and I love entries that do something with my characters that I couldn't in a million years do myself. The second picture is my favorite of the two, not just because of the blinking eyes (which totally freaked me out the first time I saw them... unexpected surprise!), but I also am a big fan of over-the-top foreshortening. This picture has less of an impressionism feel and more of a watercolor painting feel. Forgot the specific genre name, but I see it a lot in magazine ads and I always think "Man, I could never do that."
I love how different the styles are in both pics! I don't think I would have thought these were by the same artist if I hadn't known they were. Maris underwater with the dolphin is really fun and I love how she's looking at him upside-down, and the second pic has Lamia with a cat and I love how they have the same eye color. This artist is clearly very flexible!
I love the downward camera angle, but I also really like her expression. It's not the typical smile or wink or anything, it's kind of hard to read and Lamia's that way too, so it's perfect. Nice work!
This ends the 2nd Annual FaLLEN Art Contest! I hope to have another contest up next year, so if you didn't win this time around, there's always next time! Check out the entries, congratulate the winners... I had a lot of fun this year, and I'll be contacting the winners and hms soonish about their prizes. I'll also be contacting a few of you about something else, which hopefully I'll be able to talk about in full detail in a post next month
I'll leave these entries up for the rest of the week before I continue doing my usual journal entries.