San Japan: Art Contest – Info & Rules



We are holding two art contests this year. One art contest is strictly for the T-Shirt contest and for the Mega Art Contest. If you would like to see people wearing your artwork as a badge or be on front cover of the program book then you’ll want to enter the Mega Art Contest. If you would like your graphic artwork to be used to on our shirt then you’ll want to enter the T-Shirt Contest. We have made changes to the rules and guidelines so please read over them in detail.


Theme: This year’s theme is GAMING. This is up to the artist interpretation if they want to go with a gaming theme or homage to gaming. While we are called San Japan: 8-Bit, it does not necessarily mean it needs to be Pixel Art. The setting and background is up to the artist.


Last year's winner as an example.

Last year’s T-Shirt winning art contest entry by Soo Kim.


T-Shirt Contest

  • Here are the rules & guidelines for the T-Shirt Contest (rules written up by our T-Shirt Printer):
    Step One.

    • Create your design using a vector art program like Adobe Illustrator (PREFERRED).
      Create your design using a raster program like Adobe Photoshop.
    • Hand drawing the sketch on paper then coloring in Photoshop or Illustrator is perfectly allowed.
    • We are looking for artwork with layers to allow us to edit what is necessary.
    • If you are designing with a raster program, make sure your canvas size is 12″ x 15″, and 300 dpi (pixels per inch).
    • Use a minimum line width of 5 pixels.
    • If your design contains gradients, you must convert them to halftones. Make them 1 to 30 LPI (lines per inch).
    • Each dot that makes up your halftone must be one solid color.
    • If you are designing with a vector program, make sure the canvas is at least 5″ x 5″.
    • Use a minimum line width of 1 point.
    • If your design contains gradients, your gradients must have a minimum 15% dot in all colors. We’ll create the halftones.
    • Your fonts should be expanded or outlined in your final version.
    • Save all final vector files as an eps.

    Use a maximum of 4 colors. This includes black and white. (If we print on dark shirts, we’ll add an underbase. A base is separate from white, and NOT counted in the artist’s maximum 4 colors.) Note: if you plan to present your design on a black t-shirt, you can use the t-shirt’s color as your black line; therefore it doesn’t count as one of your max 4 colors. Colors should be Pantone Solid Coated. RGB.

    T-shirt Color:Although Black t-shirts are King, you may choose a t-shirt color that best suits your design from the following: Ash, Black, Deep Forest Green, Deep Red, Deep Royal, Gold, Light Blue, Light Steel, Maroon, Navy, Orange, Purple, White, or Yellow.

    Tee Colors


    Step Two: Please save a copy of your design as a GIF, JPG or PNG. We’ll give an option to submit your high resolution artwork but if selected we will ask for it. Please make sure your high resolution artwork has all layers in tact. Do not flatten your image when in the form of .psd, .pdf or .eps.

    The winning Artist receives an Artist Alley table with two Artist Alley badges ($185 value). We will not be selecting a 2nd place entry. All T-shirt entries not selected for first place will be automatically rolled over into the MEGA Art Contest.

    Last Year's 2014 Mega Art Contest Winner

    Last Year’s 2014 Mega Art Contest Winner by Trauma Tize

    Mega Art Contest

  • Here are the rules & guidelines for the Mega Art Contest:
    • For the Mega Art Contest, the entry may have as many colors as you’d like and no restriction on the background.
    • Mega Art Entries must be digital; traditional art submissions (i.e hand-drawn art and sketchbooks) will not be accepted. To Clarify: Hand drawing the sketch on paper then coloring in Photoshop or Illustrator is perfectly allowed.
    • Mega Art Entries relate to this year’s theme of GAMING. Pixel art is not a required entry style for the 2015 contest.


    Prizes for Mega Art Contest


    • 1st Place: Art used on Program Book Cover. Winning artist will be awarded 1 table in Artist Alley with two Artist badges (good for all 3 days of the convention) for San Japan: 8-Bit ($185 Value) [WINNER MAY REQUEST A SUBSTITUTE PRIZE OF EQUAL VALUE].

    For 2015, we will have a new type of prize. Instead of the past of 2nd-8th place, we will be selecting up to 15 entries as FINALISTS. These art pieces will be used for our different badge designs for attendees and staff.
    The prize for all finalists will be the chance to purchase an Artist Alley table and it will include one additional Artist Alley badge at the discount rate of $50 total (a discount from $185). Even if you only need one artist badge it will still be $50. All finalists will still need to have a Texas State Tax ID # in order to purchase a table. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE GIVEN.
    A link will be sent to all finalists by no later than June 15th, 2015 after the winners have been selected. If the artist finalist has already purchased an artist table then they will be issued a refund of an upward of $135 ($90 if only purchased a table and no additional badges). If an artist does not want to purchase a table then they will be offered a discount code for a complimentary badge/pass to the convention. No other compensation will be given to artists if they decline on a complimentary badge.


    This will be the only way artists who want to get an artist table at San Japan after Artist Alley table availability has closed on February 27th, 2015.

    This is what we request for all entries:

    • While we will encourage our female mascot Sana and the chibis to be utilized this year we are preferably looking for ANY type of artwork. There is no limit on the number of subjects that can be in the art piece. Non-human or robotic original artwork will be okay as long as it matches the theme. The design needs to show some influence from Japanese art style if possible. We are leaving it up to the artist to come up with the design. If you need some inspiration, be sure to look over previous entries from 2009 – 2013 galleries. This is a link to our teaser artwork but you do not have to use this.

      San Japan 8 Poster Art by Amelie Belcher

      San Japan 8 Poster Art By Amelie Belcher


    • We will accept fan art submissions based on a well-known anime, manga and video game series. Artist creativity and interpretation is highly encouraged.
    • Fan submissions may not be a tracing that is directly lifted from an anime, manga scene or lifted from a video game cutscene even if the character design is modified to be original. Any entries discovered to be a tracing will be disqualified and the artist will be banned to enter future contests.
    • If you want to submit your own original work it will be considered as long as it is in an anime/manga style or other non-traditional art style that is not common in Western style comic art.
    • ALL artwork submitted must be G or PG rated. Nothing overtly risque or offensive. Clothing must cover key areas. No suggestive posing.
    • The 2015 attendee badge template will be vertical. Please put this into consideration when drawing for the Mega Art contest.
    • It is highly preferred that all submissions have layers if at all possible. Do not flatten your image. Submitted art needs to be in TIF or PSD/Photoshop format [preferred]. We will also accept JPG/PNG files. If submitting a JPG/PNG file, let us know if you have a EPS/PSD/PDF (Photoshop/Illustrator) file available so that we can ask for it if your entry is selected. The submission can be made in any digital program as long as it can exported in EPS/PSD/TIF or PDF format.
    • Please make sure the picture is high-resolution at 300DPI. Please be at minimum 1000 x 1500 pixels if at all possible for MEGA Art entries. Bigger is better. The preferred canvas size for T-Shirt entries is 12″ x 15″.
    • The selected fonts for San Japan: 8-Bit, if you wish to add text to the entry, is MegaMan2 Regular Font, Forced Square and also Mahawa Font. You are not required to use this font which may select another font. Please ensure the font is a layer and is not integrated or drawn into the artwork as we may need to move or reposition the text for both Art Contests.
    • There is no limit on the number of entries you may submit for the contest but only one entry entered will be selected for either contest.
    Upon submitting your entry, the artists agrees on the following:


    • We reserve the right to decide for each entry if it should be in the Mega Art Contest or in the T-Shirt contest. Meaning that if you submit your art to the Mega Art Contest, you could win the T-Shirt contest and vice-versa.
    • We reserve the right to use any art submissions for own promotional and media purposes until the end of San Japan: 8-Bit. After the end of the convention, we will contact the artist to ask for permission for any further use of the artwork. All art entries after the San Japan 2015 convention is the rights of art creator and may be used at the discretion of the artist.
    • Artists will be credited in our program book and promotional materials if the artwork is used for promotional purposes.
    • If an art piece is selected to be sold as merchandise then we will privately contact the artist for compensation by exchange or momentary compensation.

    Submissions for the T-Shirt contest must be made by May 20th, 2015 by 11:59PM. Submissions for the Mega Art must be made by June 1st, 2015 at 11:59PM. We will privately contact artists for any commissioned pieces. Do not contact us to consider for commissions.


    • There will not be a limit to the number of entries you may submit to all of the contests. Limit one 1st place winner (we won’t allow one person to win two Artist Alley tables and a pre-reg badge).
    • If the winner of either contest has already purchased an Artist Alley table then they will get a refund of $140 for their table and an additional $45 refund if purchased an additional Artist badge.
    • STARTING IN 2014: Prior year winners of either contest will no longer be able to win a second year in a row. They may submit art for the other art contest that they did not win. This is to allow new artists to have a chance to win.

    If you have any questions then fill out the form on our contact page.


    You are not required to pre-register for San Japan in order to submit an entry.





    Information below may be for our 2015 convention. Most of the pages and FAQs will be updated for our 2016 event starting in late November 2015.