For the past year, Richard Solomon and staff worked on creating the first ever Breakthrough Contest. The idea took shape while brainstorming last winter. All artists appreciate how hard it is to break through and succeed as a professional illustrator in today’s market; this is why we named the contest “Breakthrough”. We wanted to reach young artists and as such the rules stated that the entrant must be under 35 years old with less than 5 years professional experience from anywhere in the world.
The goal was to create a contest that would produce long term benefits for the winner since every young artist’s greatest concern is to have a successful career. Unlike other competitions which simply offer a cash prize or a scholarship, we have gone a step further. The winner would be brought to New York City, have their portfolio shown to top art/creative directors, be given the constructive criticism and advice by the industry’s top pros to succeed as a professional illustrator, and receive a cash prize.
In March of 2011, we opened the contest to submissions. Soon thereafter, we began to receive a diverse collection of portfolios from artists all over the world. We were soon flooded with an amazing number of very talented young contestants. At the end of 3 months, we closed the contest to submissions and began judging. Our panel consisted of 20 art/creative directors and top illustrators who scored the submissions online based on skill, professionalism, and potential commercial viability.
We can now proudly announce the winner: Michal Dziekan, a 26 year old illustrator from Warsaw, Poland; a true diamond in the rough. Since 2009 Michal has been working as a freelance illustrator on book covers, editorial/advertising illustration, t-shirt/character designs, and animation. You can see more of his work on his website michaldziekan.com. We look forward to bringing Michal to NYC in late October, introduce him to many art/design directors, and award him his prize.