15 minutes, one piece of paper, and a myriad of choices. That's what contestants had to work with to create their imaginative masterpieces for the Silicon Valley Comic Con Art Contest. Separated into three categories - Adult, 15 & Under, and 10 & Under - the contest tasked participants with creating an image inspired by their favorite character from comics, anime, or video gaming. 15 minutes certainly isn't a wealth of time, but nevertheless the creative community answered the call nobly and presented the judges with a difficult decision from the dozens of entries.

And in one of those happy accidents that art so often offers, the winners of the 15 & Under and 10 & Under categories were actually a pair of very talented siblings! It seems art and videogames are equally important for 8th grader Alek and 5th grader Madeleine, who drew Mario and Mugman, respectively. Natives of Pleasanton, they've been drawing together their entire lives and both hope to pursue art in school. Speaking of his Mario illustration, Alek commented, "I always liked that video game ... it's not just about shooting down zombies, Mario Bros. games get you to think." And speaking of art's therapeutic nature, Madeleine explains, "drawing calms me down when I’m anxious or bored."

The Promised Neverland

Jumping to the Adult category, 16-year-old Sunnyvale resident Maddie looked to "The Promised Neverland", manga and anime, for inspiration. Her chosen character was Emma, a character she admires because "She is always determined to achieve her goals and she has good intentions." A full-time high school art student, Maddie finds inspiration mostly in museums and anime, though other artists are a constant motivator. She hopes to continue pursuing art but isn't sure of the focus yet. "I’m trying to figure that out. I want to pursue my art, but not sure what avenue I will take. Illustrator, animator, character designer...there are so many options!"


Devil May Cry

The second winner in the adult category turned back to videogames for inspiration. 17-year-old Luna lives in San Jose and studies marine biology in college, but has been drawing since she was 7 years old. The Devil May Cry series was the impetus behind her illustration, resulting in the image of Dante you see here. Speaking of her entry, Luna noted, "I love his personality, the different game stories, and the multiple character and weapon designs." While not looking to make a career of art, Luna still intends on holding on to the discipline, either as a freelance artist or simply as a hobby.

A dark, yet beautiful design that stands out when surrounded by colors.

And finally, we come to Alex. A 22-year-old Oakland resident, Alex is no stranger to ignoring rules and flaunting convention, and his entry into the contest certainly highlights that. Rather than draw something inspired by someone else's creation, Alex came up with something wholly original. "I thought of a dark, yet beautiful design that stands out when surrounded by colors." Completely self-taught, Alex is constantly pursuing new projects and collaborations that will help him, "come up with the craziest, darkest, most gruesome ideas." Regardless, he managed to create something that mesmerized.

It was an impressive display of talent for the humble Silicon Valley community, and a beautiful array of illustrations to choose from. It may not have made things easy for judge Mikhael Banut, LinkedIn’s global environmental graphic design manager, but it certainly made things pleasurable. Mikhael spends his days discovering and commissioning professional artists to create artwork for LinkedIn buildings with the intent of finding local artists whose work reflects and binds the company to the immediate community outside the office. Additionally, in partnership with Sunnyvale’s own Starting Arts, Mikhael has been serving as a guest art instructor in the after-school program for 75 public school children, giving him a uniquely appropriate perspective as a judge for the contest.  All of the materials used throughout the weekend were donated to Starting Arts.

No matter the artist’s goals when pursuing their art, Subnation wanted to give each of them a helping hand. Each winner received a Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Smooth Pad, Hethrone 72-Color Dual Tip Brush Marker Pen Set, Prismacolor Premier Manga Illustration Marker Set, and $100 Amazon Gift Card. Congrats to all contestants and good luck on your journey!

We here at Subnation strive to highlight the talent of our community. Now you all have an opportunity to participate in the Subnation 15-Minute Art Contest. Record yourself producing your 15-minute art piece inspired by your favorite character and post it on YouTube. Leave a comment below with a link to the video. A winner will be chosen on October 11th Live on our Facebook page - www.facebook.com/thesubnation/ Please follow the page for updates and to be notified when the stream goes live.


These honorable mentions are amazing and the staff here at Subnation could not let them be unseen. Thank you to all the artists who participated.