Winners of the “Pirates” Challenge

Congratulations to Juan Camilo Useche, Olga Andriyenko, Shishir NaikPaty Bulaire and to Guilherme Francothe Special Guest Juror’s Choice this month! Thank  you so much to ALL the artists of our community who have submitted their work for this challenge, to Uli Meyer (read his message below) for accepting to be our juror this month, and to Character Design Quarterly, the official partner of the CDChallenge, which makes this project possible.

Special Guest Juror's Message


Uli Meyer

Congratulations to ALL participants in this challenge.

Since this is a character design challenge my main criteria for picking a design is ‘Character’. Does the character speak to me? Can I see this character exist beyond a single drawing? In a film or a book or a graphic novel?

Good character design should work as a sketch. It should come to life when you draw it with a pencil on a piece of paper. It should not need a written explanation or a gag or an environment with lots of side characters to make it work. It does not necessarily have to be slick and isn’t synonymous with great draftsmanship. It does however have to speak to you. I often see designs executed with amazing skill, perfectly drawn hands, feet, perspective and volume, yet the character leaves you cold. Then sometimes I see wonderful characters, drawn with lots of charm and honesty but the artist is lacking any technical skill. I would prefer character over skill any time. Ideally, of course, a good design is a combination of both.

I want to say something about colouring and shading. That part of the process should be the cherry on top and not the defining part of the design. I always loved looking at rough drawings more than anything too finished. A client does not necessarily feel that way so thumbs up if you’re good at painting.

But if you feel you can only make your design work after lots of colouring and shading and covering it in details, you should stop and go back to the drawing stage. Lighting and shading is often used to cover up what is missing. But for the artistic Ego it is low hanging fruit. Rim lights and fiddly detail impress people and you can evoke cries of “Wow, I can count each nasal hair!”. But a good design must not depend on that. Actually, a good design makes you forget about the detail because all you can see is the character.

In this first challenge there are so many entries that combine all the skills successfully and that is very impressive.

The first theme was ‘Pirates’ and even though ‘thinking outside the box’ can sometimes be a good thing, I love the history and costumes of it all and naturally favoured those entries. I love a good, traditional villain and Guilhermo Franco’s Persian Pirate has great potential and is my final vote.

See you all at the next challenge!

Keep drawing,

- Uli Meyer


Character Design Quarterly

This challenge is presented by Character Design Quarterly, the Official Partner of CDChallenge.

Character Design Quarterly (CDQ) is an exciting new print magazine for illustrators, artists, animators and character art enthusiasts. Releasing four times a year, the magazine will offer inspirational and educational articles, tutorials and interviews from top industry professionals specifically geared to helping artists hone their character design skills. This unique, engaging magazine will provide a regular stream of insider knowledge and illuminating advice from experienced professionals and freelancers to help artists of all skill levels improve their workflow and designs. New issues will be released at regular three-month intervals in September, December, March and June. Subscriptions are available now!