Earlier this year I discovered that my good friend, Zachary Harris – better known to you as Darkzel – had been killed. He was in Korea, teaching English, when he was struck by a bus crossing the road and killed. A tragic, pointless waste of the life of a talented artist who – I believe – would have had a grand future ahead of him.
I have struggled to think of a useful and respectful way in which to honour Zel’s memory and to continue his legacy. In many ways our relationship was defined by the fact that the work I gave him helped pay him through his schooling and that we became friends as I watched him grow.
Life is tough for students as a whole and art students, perhaps, in particular. All that work, often without the support of friends and family, chasing a dream that may, ultimately, never work out and never pay. Fantasy artists are being crunched quite a bit as well, work is scarce and pay hasn’t really increased – at least in analog gaming – for some years.
If in some, small way, I can help other art students to get through their schooling, even if it’s just to make sure they’re kept in ramen noodles, that strikes me as a good way to remember Zel and to continue to help.
Every year, every December, I will announce the opening of the Darkzel Scholarship for applications. This will consist of the previous year’s takings in terms of stock art sales from Zel’s work and sales of previous winner’s art. This will help keep the project relevant, continue to add material and continue to increase the scholarship fund and material year by year to keep it relevant.
This year’s scholarship amount will be somewhere over $250 US.
- You will submit a piece of art at least A6 in size and at least 300 dpi, by email to email@example.com
- You grant permission, should you win, for this piece of art to be sold as stock art on RPGNOW.com. Money raised from these sales will go to next year’s scholarship.
- You will include a link to your online portfolio, deviantart page or similar.
- You must be able to accept payment via Paypal.
Q: Does it have to be adult art?
A: It doesn’t have to be adult art. Zel worked on adult projects like Hentacle and Cthentacle but he also produced stock art that wasn’t suggestive (as well as some that was). Zel also did science fiction, fantasy and horror work for me and elsewhere he did comics, adult and not, furry and not, LGBT and not. Zel did a huge amount of different stuff and you can do what you want too. Do what you love. Equally, don’t feel you have to hold back on what you draw.
Q: Does it have to be B&W or colour?
A: It doesn’t matter. Do what you prefer. Colour is more work and more impressive – often – but it is also less useful in many cases as stock art. There’s pluses and minuses to both. It’s up to you.
Q: Does it have to be anime style?
A: Zel started out with a much more typical anime style and I think a lot of people have gotten their start this way in the last 10-20 years in the way my generation got a lot out of copying the style of superhero and sci-fi comics. His style developed over time and he’d really begun to find his own artistic voice towards the end, away from those roots. So no, you do not have to stick to a comic/anime or any other particular style. The only thing it really has to be is genre based. That is science-fiction, fantasy, horror, pulp, superhero etc.
Q: Can I make more than one submission?
A: You can submit as many pieces of art as you want to. They will be considered as a single entry however.
Q: When will I be paid?
A: Submissions will be accepted through to the end of December each year and I will try to make a decision and pay by the end of January.
Q: Do I have to be a student?
A: Yes. The Darkzel Scholarship is meant to help up and coming artists of the future. To give them a paying gig, help them get through school/college, soften some of the monetary pain day to day and to give them genuine exposure and the chance to have their art appear in real products and pay-it forward to others in following years. You can be an adult student though, the problems are no less when you’re juggling family, ‘real’ work and learning.
Q: Can I donate my submission for sale without winning?
A: Absolutely! If you want your submission to go up for sale anyway, even if you don’t win, please say so. The more art we have, the more we can earn for the next year’s scholarship. When you make your entry, please say so!
Q: How will you be judging the winner?
A: What I’m looking for is an ineffable quality. It is hard to define. I’m just looking for something that excites and engages, that stands out as a usable and great piece of illustration.
Q: I can’t enter, how can I help?
A: Spread the word, tell students that you know that this is available. Talk about it on forums, tweet, facebook, G+, youtube, whatever you can do to pass it on.
Q: Can I submit art I’ve already done or does it have to be new?
A: I would prefer you make a piece for this, but I appreciate December can be busy what with Christmas etc. So long as the submitted piece was created and completed within the year of the competition that would be OK.
Q: What happens with the image rights?
A: Anyone who wins or allows their art to be sold to aid the scholarship allows that art to be used in projects by anyone who buys the stock. Otherwise you retain all rights. You can sell prints, make T-shirts, use it in your galleries and portfolios, sell it to somebody else. Whatever you want.
Q: Zel was very supportive of his LGBT friends and community. How does that figure into this?
A: If you want to do LGBT themed art to submit, you’re more than welcome. It won’t impact at all on your chances and would be fitting.
2013 Scholarship fund: $250+