CDS and Radiant Dreamer’s Comic Contest (Part 1)

In this post, I unveil what I discovered from conception to final result to eventual success of the comic contest. It is also the summation of information from what I have learned from over 20 contests entered in one year alone. For the record, many (in fact, ‘most’) of these contests required actual skill rather than just luck (such as contests where you simply enter just contact info). Several main lessons were learned that I hope will help those in similar situations.

Oh, and do be prepared, this one will be quite long winded haha :). *Deep breath*

Very shortly ago, in a contest not too terribly far away. There was this goal to create a comic from an empty 4-koma (4 panel comic) that already had art, but no dialog. This was centered around CDS and Radiant Dreamer’s most recent contest. When I had first heard about it, and the prize that was offered, I was initially hesitant to enter, but eventually decided to give it a try.

If this had been the first contest I’d entered I’d expect that I wouldn’t have. This is because from entering so many contests before my insecurities as well as sensitivity to the stress that can (and often times will) ensue were lowered.

The first thing that hit me was similar to most, ‘what would I make this comic about?’. My brain stormed madly and I was assaulted by many visions of different versions of the comic. Some of these were based more on the series presented by the art, others blended several series’ together. At the end of the day I decided it would be best to make it to cater to a very specific audience. This judgement I would learn to have not been the best of choices, though. Without delay, here’s the contest entry followed by my thoughts when making it.

– Click on the image to view at the full size –
The comic’s artistry is credited to the highly skilled artists at Collateral Damage Studios and don’t forget it!~ 🙂

I first thought about merging the series ‘K-on!’ with an entity from another series who goes by the name of ‘Kyube’. A sort of ‘what if’ scenario if you will. For those unaware, Kyube is an individual who will grant any wish and great power in return for your service to his cause. I first envisioned what could possibly go wrong and how I could make it humorous in end. The first thing that struck a chord was ‘Yui with her obsession for cake and her willingness to do anything for it’.

I then decided to make the joke and punch line about Yui’s wish for tons of cake being rejected for it being too stupid of a wish to accept. Which considering that Kyube was VERY persistent to have others join his cause was extremely ironic–or so I had thought at least. This also played on the fact that Yui was constantly placed in situations that made her seem to not be the smartest person in ‘K-on!’.

You could even say there was a second smaller irony in the fact that the very wish itself was ironic. Why you might ask? Anyone who has watched ‘K-on!’ knows that Mugi is practically an unlimited supply of sweets and cake :). Rarely was it ever shown that Mugi was not in some way providing for her friends in that regard. In other words, Yui already was getting what she had wished for. I suppose you could say that Yui in this work had become much more of a glutton. 🙂

The problem though was that everyone needed to know and understand these crucial points of information and not everyone did.

The rest of the contest is now history. Long story short, I fought a hard battle with another entrant, and won from a single vote from one of my friends in the end. It was an intense contest that’s for sure! 🙂

So what was the lesson I learned at the end of it all? Several key important things based on the input of my friends:

  1. The comic was directed at too specific an audience for everyone to get the joke(s).
  2. The fact that the character’s had names and pre-designed persona’s made it confusing for some–they were unaware and/or confused of who they even were or who was who without special introduction.
  3. Always run the final comic idea by a friend or two that are not planning on entering to make sure it’s good before entering–even a family member is fine. Especially someone who’s not in your target audience to get outside input. This initial evaluation is critical. It will also help in establishing if the comic’s confusing in any way.
  4. The last and most important thing? Good friends will support you even if they don’t understand the work.

Quite simply, after these it was all up to luck, fate, and most of all promotion. I’ve learned from another competition this very thing–which can be a nasty thing. Sometimes the person with the most contacts will win regardless of the quality of their work. This depends on if or how they promote it, however.

At the end of that one particular contest the person who won had about 350 votes. Many others only had either 50 or less. All of the entries were outstanding however. The overwhelming difference was his ability at promoting the entry not just his skill at his craft. Just in case if you were wondering by the numbers, it was an enormous contest with a truly epic prize to be had.

The very last and most–and I mean MOST–important thing to understand is this. When facing odds that look insurmountable and all your resources are spent: lose like a pro. Congratulate the winner regardless of how you feel and move on. It’s always FAR better to be humble and respectful and accept the loss than to hold a grudge. I can say this from personal experience that you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll be received much better too. I’m sure we’ve all met a sore loser before. People always respect good sports.

I’ve always been told that my attitude towards competitions was great. It’s probably because I almost ‘never’ enter contests with the first intent being to win. My first primary reason has always been for the fun of it. But I have several others too such as for the challenge, as well as the participation. Winning has always been last on the list as far as I’m concerned.

For challenge, I mean that I’ve not entered a comic contest like this one before so it was quite challenging. For participation though? That’s because take a look at every single one of the contest entries [Link Here].

Do you notice one thing about them that’s shockingly true?…You should. Each and every one of them is different. Each artist had a unique and different take on the comic. This is what I’m referring to by participation.

To conclude, if you take nothing else, I hope that you take that it’s not only important to have a winning attitude in contests, but also important to be able to lose them like a pro. Then, in time, you will undoubtedly become a pro at winning at not just contests, but at life. Don’t burn bridges and others will spring up in the most unlikely of places.

*Wheeze* *Gasps for air*

In part 2, I’m going to talk about my entry from the CDS/Radiant Dreamer contest. I will detail possible ways I could have gone about it differently to have, perhaps, improved my chances without promotion. Remember that at the end of the day everything in art is extremely subjective. I hope that these tips will benefit you, my viewers, in the future!

Part 2 will come out tomorrow, so stay tuned! It’ll be much less as serious as this post was hehe. But hopefully not any less insightful. 😀

Oh, and I have a little something special planned after that ;). Just so you know bwehehehe (You know what I mean Radiant 8) ).

As always, take care my friends!

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