With the Call for Entries for Spectrum 23 ending on Monday, January 25th I have written a series of submission tips. You can submit by mail or online! All artworks in all media embracing the themes of science fiction, fantasy, horror and the surreal are eligible. There is no unacceptable way to create art. Imagination and skill are what matters. Work chosen by the jury, including David Palumbo, Cynthia Sheppard, Kirk Thatcher, Charlie Wen and Terryl Whitlatch, will be printed in full color in the Spectrum 23 annual, the peer-selected “best of the year” collection for the fantastic arts.
Spectrum 23 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #1
Is there an advantage to entering my art online or by mail as a print?
The important thing to know right off the bat is that one option does not give you an edge over the other option. Both digital and print submissions get equal attention from the judges and you have an equal chance of getting selected regardless of how you enter.
For Spectrum 21 and 22, eighty percent of the submissions came in online. Out of curiosity I paid attention to the percentage of art that was selected in both the digital and print areas to see if one had an advantage over the other. They were both right in line with one another. One method did not visibly outweigh the other.
The jury views the digitally submitted art on individual 24″ screens (not projected to the group) and the prints are presented on tables. Each jury member votes anonymously and at his or her own pace. Discussion and grouping is discouraged (with the exception of the awards selections) to keep the selection process fair and truthful. To get into Spectrum you need three or more of the five jury member’s votes. It’s not easy to get in. Historically around eight to nine percent of the submissions make it into the yearly annual.
Spectrum 23 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #2
Give Yourself the Best Chance to be Seen!
Take advantage of the artwork submission guidelines by submitting good quality prints or digital files. We can’t stress this enough. We want everyone to have the best chance to be seen by the jury.
If you are submitting online take advantage of our maximum size at 2000 pixels wide and/or 2000 pixels tall. (JPG file no larger than 10MB.) Each jury member uses his or her own large screen when viewing the artwork. Make sure your art fills the screen so they can take a good look at it! Don’t send in a small postcard sized thumbnail. Take the time to prepare a proper presentation.
For submissions by mail, I recommend sending in a print out of your art no smaller than 8.5″ x 11″ and no larger than 18″ x 24″. I think the best sizes range from 9″ x 12″ to 11″ x 17″. Yes, some people send in massive poster sized images. It’s just too big. Just like art displayed too small can make it hard for the jury members to view, art too big doesn’t necessarily mean you have a better chance. The print submissions are placed out on tables for the jury members to view and vote for individually.
Spectrum 23 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #3
Dimensional Category Allows Three Views!
Anyone submitting to the Dimensional category is allowed to submit up to three views. If you are submitting a sculpture we recommend a full shot from the front, a side view and a back view or detail. We want the jury to see these multiple angles of your work so that they have adequate visual information to base their decisions. This is especially important if your art is considered for an award.
Another tip for this category is our recommendation to get a clear, in focus, quality photographs. Don’t take simple, quick snaps with your phone. If you do not have a good camera then take the extra time to find someone who does, light your piece well and make sure the details are visible in the pictures that you send us.
Spectrum 23 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #4
Does my artwork have to be fantasy related to submit to Spectrum?
Yes: Spectrum’s focus is on “Fantastic Art.” HOWEVER keep in mind that focus covers a sweeping range of possibilities. Fantastic Art can be subtle or obvious, traditional or off-the-wall, painted, sculpted, done digitally or photographed: Fantastic Art chronicles places and peoples and creatures and events that aren’t or never were. Just as there is no unacceptable way to create art, there are no set rules that say one piece qualifies while another does not. Spectrum doesn’t define Fantastic Art: what YOU do and what the JURY selects does. We do not pre-screen submissions and we do not arbitrarily restrict the type of art that is submitted. We make sure every submission is viewed with fairness and an open mind by the jury. We embrace all art works in all mediums embracing the themes of science fiction, fantasy, horror, the surreal, fine art and more. Each type (and types that we may not have even thought of) is eligible for this show.
Spectrum 23 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #5
How do I know that my submission arrived?
We take great care in reviewing the details of every submission that arrives. For online entries we check your online form and artwork to make sure your name, the art title and all other relevant details match. Once this is done we send an official email confirmation to notify you that your submission has been accepted. For submissions that arrive as prints in the mail, once you see that your payment has been processed you can rest assured that we have processed your submissions.
If we have any questions or if any art is missing we will contact you by email or by phone. We take great care in making sure all submissions look their best for the jury.
Spectrum 23 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #6
What is the #1 mistake people make when submitting online?
Not labeling their art when posting it. A small percentage of people do not include their name or art title when uploading their art. In this case we send an email asking for clarification or new art files properly labeled. Please label your art by first and last name followed by the art title!
Spectrum 23 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #7
Can I submit fan art relating to Star Wars, Marvel or DC characters or my favorite super-hero or pop culture character?
Not unless you have the express permission from the copyright or license holder. We respect the artists copyrights and the companies copyrights. You can not submit works of art that infringe on the rights of someone else.
Spectrum 23 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #8
Don’t wait until the last minute!
Each year we get people contacting us the day after the deadline who had some sort of an issue or question that prevented them from submitting late in the night in the final hours. Don’t wait until the last day to submit, just to be safe, and to have an extra day built in if you have an issue.
We do not accept submissions after the deadline. There are no exceptions. The submissions deadline is Monday, January 25th at 11:59 PM PST.
Text and photos copyright © 2016 John Fleskes. Videos © 2016 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2016 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.