March 18, 2013

Breakthrough Contest 2013 Q&As

The Breakthrough Contest is in it's third week and with the deadline set on April 5th, there is still plenty of time to decide on what to submit. 

We would like to remain as communicative and open as possible so here are answers to common questions we have been asked: 

How many winners will there be?
There is only one winner that will receive the full prize. There are 4-5 runners up that are featured on our website and social media as well as 10-20 staff picks that we in the office choose to feature as well. 

What do you mean by "all-expense paid trip to NYC"?
This means we will be paying for your airfare from anywhere in the world, a 3 night stay in a hotel, as well as food expenses for 3 days. In the past, winners have chosen to stay longer than 3 nights. The hotel and food expenses for the extra days were paid by them. 

Can I have a representative/agent at the time of entering?
We would prefer that you not have an agent at the time of entering. Since we are an illustration agency hosting the contest, if winner is represented, this can be viewed as a conflict of interests. 

Does winning the contest mean automatic representation by Richard Solomon?
This is not necessarily the case as this is a promise that we might not be able to keep. For example, if the illustrator got representation from another agency in between entering and the announcement of the winner (as did happen before). We can say however, that the winner from the first year, Michal Dziekan, is now repped by us as well as several non-winners from both years we ran the contest so far.

How is a winner chosen?
On the left panel of, we list the judges that will help us decide on the winner. They are all either art buyers and art directors in a variety of fields, from publishing to editorial. We present them with the submitted portfolios and they grade each one on a scale from 1-10. Once the last judges submits their scores, the person with the highest tallied score is the winner. 

Why have you put a cap on age?
This is the question we are probably asked the most so I will do my best to clarify. Our purpose for this contest is not to air an open call for all illustrators and find the best one. As you can imagine, this can create a lot of unfair competition among illustrators with different levels of experience. The initial idea has been to find a young talent just starting out in their career and give them the leg up they need that they might otherwise not have. Since we have no way to accurately gage experience level, the best we can do is set a ceiling on age. 

Many people have brought it to our attention that they started out a career at a late and the age limit is unfair. Although we completely understand, this is the exception rather than the rule. People above the age limit are still very much welcome to submit their work for review in the traditional way (by sending us an email). In future years, we can come up with a better compromise to be more accommodating, but for this year the age limit will remain at 30 and 35 if still a full time student. 

If you have any more questions, don't hesitate ask either in the comment field or via email ( 

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