Character Contest 71 Winners!

Many thanks to everyone who entered Character Contest 71. I know it was a tougher theme than usual, so I appreciate your creativity very much.

Without further ado, here are the ones I thought stood out the most, your Finalists!

I was glad to see some folks take a literal approach and design actual playing cards. One of the best of those is Atomic Punk's "Goblin King". I like that it's an imaginary sort of critter but rendered in a classic way. The symbol instead of the "K" is a great touch, too. All the little details here work.

I also like stripped-down, minimalist, everything-matters kinds of creations, and Blue Blazer's "Solitaire" is a good example of why.

BornToBeALoser's "The Queen of Spades" has a number of interesting twists to it. The psychic ruffle should be a staple of more characters, in my opinion. And the introduction of a lot of red to a traditionally all-black suit is intriguing. But what really earned "Finalist" status for me is the nifty cut-out spade in the bodice. That's cool.

Brons' "Queen of Hearts" has a lot of dynamism that enhances the cool design. I do wish that bottom "Q" had been flipped, though. I like the subtle change of having one foot in front of the other, as if she's gliding right out of the frame.

For something completely different, Cliff designed a business "card" that looks simply outstanding. Love the silhouetted leg and toucan. Maybe she's bathing in Fruit Loops? And don't judge me because that sounds hot.

dblade continues to bring the Awesome every week, and his "Queen of Hearts" is no exception. Look at that face -- the subtle shading and highlighting with gradients is outstanding.

HeadlessGeneral's "One Eyed Royals" is a fantastic concept very well executed. The idea of having all the "one-eyed" face cards band together is genius, I tell you. GENIUS!

Imp went the Tarot route with his Adam & Eve twist "Judgment". I love all the elements and the overall composition is just great.

I don't know what a Hellucard is or why it needs a tribute, but MartianBlue's images blew me away.

I thought more people would take on the Joker card, but maybe it's been overdone. Or should I say "Holy Overused Card References, Batman, it's the JOKER!" Regardless, I love newerlie's take on the concept, which introduces a maniacal, evil, disturbing twist on it. Very well done!

NGpm brought back some fond D&D memories with his "Deck of Wondrous Things" solicitation.

We all know PapaKrok is a master, but I think he might have outdone himself with "High Priestess". It's a brilliant composition, echoing all the elements in a classic card while being something else entirely. All the colors work, the perspective is inspired, and the character herself looks fantastic. The look of dreaminess on her face is outstanding. Stellar illustration, sir!

Sutter_Kaine shows once again that you don't need a dozen colors and fancy backgrounds to create a beautiful character illustration. His tarot-card "Magician" figure really pops off the screen through the subtle use of variations of just a couple of colors. Combined with excellent item choices, this is a real winner.

Tarkabarka's "Living Card" has lots of menace, mood, and malice, which are three of my favorite "m" words. It looks like the dinosaur is about to leap off the page, which is exactly what he was going for. Nice job!

Finally, Unstable put together a wonderful scene in "Royal Flush Saloon Scene". Granted, that's not actually a royal flush he's got there, but still, it's close! Maybe one of the other players has it, which means this guy's about to bust out. Poker rules aside, the scene really works well, with good figure-ground relationships, clear layers of scenery, excellent detail in the subsidiary figures, and excellent use of color. This is definitely one of the best "scene" images I've seen in quite a while.

Those are all great, but alas, there can be only one overall winner. I ultimately had a tough time deciding this week between three entries -- PapaKrok, Unstable, and MartianBlue. I think "High Priestess" by PapaKrok is one of my all-time favorite HM images to date, with a rare combination of character, design, and concept. She looks flat-out awesome. But, I finally had to decide that it just doesn't quite fit the contest theme as well as the others.

MartianBlue's "Hellucard Tribute" looks great and is clearly an actual card while also, as I understand it, having a puzzle built right in, but Unstable's poker hand is a fantastic scene.

After much agonizing, I finally decided to give the win to ... Unstable! I think it's really hard to pull of a scene like that and this one is absolutely nailed. So congratulations, Unstable! Just let me know either via email or a comment to this post what you'd like for your prize.

Thanks again to everyone who entered, and congratulations to all of our stellar Finalists.

32 Responses to Character Contest 71 Winners!

  1. Worf says:

    Congrats Unstable. Nice picture.

    Wish I could have made into the finalists but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

    @Jeff: I believe that Hellucard is a poster in the forums…(I could be mistaken)

  2. Tarkabarka says:

    Grats for the finalist and especially Unstable. – That picture is awesome.

  3. gero says:

    Congrats, Unstable! Amazing picture, and great idea!

  4. Kytana says:

    Congrats. I like the western style.

  5. dblade says:

    Awexome job, everybody! And congrats to Unstable on a wonderful composition. I hate to sound like a broken record but “I knew you were a whole heap of trouble when I saw ya ride in.” Well done.

  6. PapaKrok says:

    Amazing stuff! Congrats Unstable!
    Dblade…I am amazed at the detail of your work. I gotta learn how to do gradients…
    You are doing some things there that I can’t quite wrap my head around.

  7. MartianBlue says:

    Just to quickly clarify, Hellucard is a forum member’s name. Like my Atomic Punk tribute, I’ve taken his name and tried to design a piece around the name. I think I’ve made 17 of these tribute pieces in total thus far (my forum only has 16 listed on first page, I haven’t updated it yet).

    Some very good images this week, my favorite concept is HeadlessGeneral’s One Eyed Royals, the way the characters are like living people, but still have the card backing is very cool. That said I appreciate you agonizing over the consideration of my piece, and congrats to Unstable, great scene, must’ve taken forever to make, and congrats to everyone else.

    For all those who didn’t make it, keep your chin up, some amazing creators out there, and remember everyone can’t win all the time, but just because you didn’t get included in the finalist doesn’t mean your pieces are not good. To be perfectly honest, I wonder if I stand a chance against alot of the entries week after week, some of them simply amaze me.

  8. dblade says:

    @PapaKrok(6): Thanks! I will try to post the text file tonight if you want to pick it apart.

  9. dblade says:

    @PapaKrok: And for the record, I find your pieces to be amazingly composed with a great story told through shape and atmosphere. In other words, I am a big fan. 🙂

  10. Cliff says:


    Thanks Jeff,
    You never pick the ones to mention of mine, that I would.
    But I relly appreciate the Honorable Mention.
    I don’t know if it will make you like it less …
    but it’s not a tucan, its a hairdo on a blank face (to represent almost any woman)

    So many great entries
    dblade Queen of Hearts
    heh and I was worried about my Lovers being too suggestive 😀

    HeadlessGeneral’s “One Eyed Royals” was really awesome concept and rendering of it

    MartianBlue’s Hellucard is supremely awesome!

    Tarkabarka’s “Living Card” really strikes a courd with me considering I created Dino Dude this week and been obsessing with him
    I really want to know how you got all the shading and the red tongue, shite teeth and clasws, green dino and orange stripes

    these four really tie for 1st to me 😀
    I love all the sading, and having quite nailed it yet, not where it looks so realistic

    Congrats Unstable with “Royal Flush Saloon Scene” taking 1st Place
    It is a great pic
    I wouldn’t have the patience for so many figures the card foreground AND the saloon background.
    As it was the Church without people took me hours!

  11. TOOL says:

    Congrats to the winner

  12. Unstable says:

    Hahaha, thank you very much! I liked very much PapaKrok’s “High Priestess”! I really don’t know what to ask for prize! If I may, I would like some advice from the rest of people here! (I like so much science fiction stuff)

  13. Jessica says:

    Wrist-mounted blasters!

  14. dblade says:

    @PapaKrok: Just in case you want to check out the file…

    Queen of Hearts Text:

  15. Just mind-boggling how complex these entries have been! I fold.

    @Unstable: Congrats! (Pssst… more mech items!)

    @Jeff: Thanks for the honorable mention. I actually learned a few things while designing the cards. Experimenting with widescreen and mirroring. Which I’ve been attempting through direct input of values.

    Question: In the text file, what purpose do the and tags serve? Thanks!

    No particular order:
    * NGpm’s Deck of Wondrous Things: Love the nod to “The Princess Bride”
    * PapaKrok’s “High Priestess”: Missed the reference at first; a great design regardless
    * HammerKnight’s “Queen of Hearts’ Court”: The underscore on the 9 was a nice detail to an epic picture
    * Kaldath’s Tarot: Patience that I just don’t have
    * Kaylin’s King of Diamonds: The pose and facial expression give it great attitude
    * Kytana’s Card: Well-composed, the complementary nature of the characters
    * MartianBlue: Again, thanks for the honor. (I used to be battery-powered, but saved enough E.P. to buy off that Limitation!) ;9
    * MScat’s Clubs: Trippy
    * Myro’s Darryl Heater: Very convincing
    * Newerlie’s Queen: Mmmm… goth chicks
    * Trekkie’s Soldiers: They have a “uniform” appeal; very consistent
    * Vanja: You beat me to it!
    * Zahalee’s PokerFace: Another convincing “realistic” design
    * Everyone I forgot to mention: For sharing. Don’t stop, don’t be discouraged.

  16. Jeff Hebert says:

    Punk, the end tags are like end tags in HTML — they serve to tell the script “This is the end of that particular command or object.”

  17. @Jeff: Oops… the forum reads “” as actual HTML!

    I’ll try without… the “oY” and “oX” tags?

  18. Jeff Hebert says:

    Atomic, if you mean the UGO Forums and that you’re trying to post a save string, it’s much much better to post it as a text file attachment than to try and paste it in-line. MUCH.

  19. The Imp says:

    Congrats, Unstable; that’s a really great scene. You guys have far, FAR more patience than me, I’ll tell ya that. 😀

  20. X-stacy says:

    …dblade’s entry had a face? Are you sure? 😉

  21. Tarkabarka says:

    Cliff (10) – I can’t tell you how to i make the shades, because i don’t know how to tell it. If it help i show you the text file.

  22. Trekkie says:

    Congrats Unstable! That picture is fantastic.

  23. Zyp says:

    Congrats Unstable! 😀 Fantastic picture!

  24. dblade says:

    Eyes up here, mister!

  25. NGpm says:

    Congratulations Unstable! Congratulations everyone … this contest had some of the most interesting entries so far.

  26. The Eric says:

    I like the way Tarkabarba used selective gradient lighting, only on the back of the dino and the teeth and claws.

  27. PapaKrok says:

    Thanks Dblade! I have been trying to keep up with you, that’s the truth. I have actually been a bit blown away by the entries lately, totally stepped up the competition.

    I’ll check out the text file and see if I can borrow some magic from the master!

  28. Unstable says:

    Hi Jeff, I decided to ask for prize the quarian space suite, if you don’t mean to add due to the replacement. Otherwise I’ll choose something else. Thank you very much.

  29. Jeff Hebert says:

    You got it, Unstable! I reserve the right to pick out just one element from the entire suit, though — otherwise if I do the helmet, body, arms, and legs it turns into like two dozen things and it’s supposed to be just one item as the prize.

  30. Unstable says:

    Thanks. I’ll appreciate so much the legwear or the gloves. Better the gloves I think bacause we need a tech gloves for three-fingered guys. Your call.

  31. Hunter631 says:

    LOL, the last is like Call of Duty but years before the other games.

  32. VonMalcolm says:

    MartianBlue was my fave here; but a lot of great entries.