Illustration FAQ


Table of contents

What is Illustration?
Pure illustration includes all forms of two dimensional art that use neither photographic nor 3D rendered elements. This can include traditional media, such as pencil, pen, paint and charcoal, as well as digital media such as Painter, Photoshop, Gimp, etc.
Generally all styles of painting and drawing are acceptable unless the contest rules specify a particular style (e.g. Manga, Cartoon, Abstract, etc.)
Other forms of illustration involving the use of photographic textures to enhance the work or the inclusion of 3D images or paintovers may occasionally be allowed in individual contests, but this will be made clear in the instructions, and you should not otherwise use them.

How do I enter an illustration contest on Dagger Bay?
  • Create an account if you don't have one yet.
  • Find a contest you like that is open for entry in the list of Contests.
  • Read the contest rules and make sure your entry meets their requirements and the general Illustration Rules.
  • You must be the original artist of all the work you submit.

Do my illustrations stay mine after I enter them?
Yes. Dagger Bay doesn't take away any of your rights to your art, you simply give Dagger Bay permission to use it.

Can I use reference material?
Yes, but the resulting work should clearly be your own and should under no circumstances be a paint-over of an existing photograph or image or so closely referenced that it is practically identical to the source.
Also, you should not paste photographs, 3D images or the work of others into your picture.

Can I use digital filters?
Yes, but with reservations. Using applications/plugins to render, filter, or generate aspects of your art can be helpful, but you should not use these tools to create the art for you. Your work may be disqualified if there is little evidence that human effort and creativity were involved.

What digital brushes and textures can I use?
Native application brushes and textures, as well as copyright-free brushes found on the internet, are generally acceptable as long as they are not photographic in nature (e.g. sourced from real clouds, bricks, tree bark, etc.), entire objects (e.g. plants, vehicles, characters, etc.) or illustrations within themselves (e.g. art nouveau borders, line art elements, rendered objects, etc. that you did not create yourself).
Any brushes you have created yourself are acceptable, as long as they are not based on photographs or the artwork of others.

Can I include text in my image?
Only if it is part of the image itself (e.g. a shop sign, a notice or a written document). You may not include WWW addresses, watermarks, titles or signatures.

What is not allowed in illustrations?
  1. Anything pornographic or any material which may violate International Law or the laws of any country.
  2. Anything overtly political, religious or offensive in intention which could provoke antagonism or hostility or cause distress.
  3. Any kind of advertising.
    Some of these areas may be subjective, but the decision of the Quartermasters is final.

Voting Scale
  1. Completely without merit.
  2. Underdeveloped technical skill. Not enough thought on composition or theme.
  3. Novice work and/or weak ideas. Little thought went into composition or originality of idea.
  4. Below average. The idea is there, but more time or practice could benefit the artist.
  5. Definitely displays potential and thought, but lacking in some distinct areas.
  6. Just above average. User shows much promise ahead.
  7. Great idea. Good execution. Perhaps a bit unrefined in a few places.
  8. Great entry all round. Original idea with a show of great skill, solid composition, and a thoughtful approach.
  9. 'Wow' entry. Stands out among the crowd. Makes you want to see more by the artist. Professional quality.
  10. Instant classic

What to consider when voting
  • Technical execution: composition, lighting, pose and subject arrangement.
  • Artistry; creativity and clarity of idea or expression.
  • Appeal: how well the image speaks to you.
  • No illustration should score low based on the failure of just one of these aspects. Keep an open mind and consider the overall intent of each illustration when voting.