Art Contest – Info & Rules

The 2024 contest will open on March 25th at 11:59 PM Central and end on June 1st at 11:59 PM Central.

This Year’s Theme:

Quinceañera – Coming Of Age

There will be two art contests this year.


One art contest is strictly for the T-Shirt contest and another for the Mega Art Contest. If you would like to see people wearing your artwork as a badge or be on the covers of our printed guide then you’ll want to enter the Mega Art Contest. If you want your graphic artwork to be on our T-shirt, you should enter the T-Shirt Contest. We do make yearly changes to the rules and guidelines so please read over them in detail.



All winning Art Contest entries will receive a 8′ x 12′ corner booth and 4 Artist Alley badges. This booth will consist of 3 6′ tables. It may be divided up to allow a friend or colleague to sell there, too. The booth will have a retail value of $1000. The table setup will be U-SHAPED at an end cap.

T-Shirt art entries must be in by June 1st, 2024. The Mega Art contest will end on June 1st, 2024 at 11:59PM CST.

Request For All Entries:

While we will encourage our female mascot, Sana, and the chibis to be utilized, we are looking for ALL types of artwork. Also, there is no limit to the number of subjects that can be included in the art piece. Princess, prince, youthful, and other coming-of-age scenery are encouraged. Please ensure the artwork is not overtly sexual or disturbing, which might displease certain people. The design must show some influence from the Japanese art style if possible. We are leaving it up to the artist to develop the design. Review previous entries from 2009 – 2023 galleries (top of this page) if you need inspiration.


Please review our galleries for references to our mascot, Sana, and the chibis. Below is the original concept art of Sana and our Chibis if you’d like to see their designs, but you are not required to mimic the style. We want to see entries that are diverse in design. You are not required to incorporate Sana, as it may be any gender in the art piece at the artist’s discretion.

Mascot Concept Art



  • We will accept fan art submissions based on a well-known anime, manga and video game series. Do not list the title of the series or characters anywhere in the artwork so that we do not get in trouble from the respective copyright holder. Artist creativity and interpretation are 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 styles that are 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. Do not have the artwork depicting a violent action scene. Do send in grotesque or shock value artwork. Please keep it to something that a parent would not get mad about.
  • All submissions must have layers left in. Do not flatten your image. Submitted art needs to be in EPS or AI [T-shirt contest preferred], TIF or PSD/Photoshop format [Mega Art contest preferred]. If submitting a JPG/PNG file, let us know if you have an 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 be exported in EPS/PSD/TIF or PDF format.
  • Please do not take an art piece from your existing portfolio then slap the text “SAN JAPAN” on it. This is noticeably evident when we receive these kinds of entries. Please send in original creations that you made for this specific art contest.
  • Make sure the picture is high-resolution at 300DPI. 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″.
  • 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.
  • Please list which fonts that you use and please ensure it is a font that does not require us to purchase if modifications are necessary.
  • All entries must be an original creation made specifically for the art contest.
  • Lastly, there is no limit on the number of entries you may submit for the contest but only one winning entry entered will be selected for either contest.

Upon submission, the artist agrees to 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. This means that if you submit your art to the Mega Art Contest, you could win the T-Shirt contest and vice-versa (this has happened in the past!).
  • We reserve the right to use any art submissions for our own promotional and media purposes until the end of San Japan 15 (2024). All art entries after the San Japan convention concludes revert back to the art creator and may be used at the discretion of the artist and allowed to resell.
  • Artists will be credited in our print and promotional materials if the artwork is used for promotional purposes.
  • All selected art pieces that are contacted and compensated will be used for promotional purposes on convention badges and convention signage. The artist will also allow San Japan to use their submitted art piece in the future for signage and promotions.
  • If an art piece is selected to be sold as merchandise beyond the year that it was submitted then we will privately contact the artist for compensation by exchange or momentary compensation.

Submissions for the T-Shirt contest must be made by June 1st, 2024 by 11:59PM Central Time


Submissions for the Mega Art must be made by June 1st, 2024 at 11:59PM Central Time

  • The number of entries you may submit to all of the contests will not be limited. However, we will limit the first-place winner to one (we won’t allow one person to win two Artist Alley booths and a pre-reg badge).
  • If the winner of either contest has already purchased an Artist Alley table, then they will get a full refund of $250-$350 for their table and an additional $90-$100 refund if they’ve purchased an additional Artist badge.
  • Prior year winners of either contest will no longer be able to win two years in a row. They may submit art for the other art contest they did not win. This is to allow new artists to have a chance to win. Finalists in the previous year’s competitions are still eligible to enter.
  • Finalists who’ve already purchased an artist table the artist will not be eligible to purchase another one. They will only receive a partial refund for their purchased table.

You are not required to pre-register for San Japan in order to submit an entry. We will be posting the winners a few weeks after both contests closed. We do not have an exact time or date on that announcement. 


We ask for your patience as we will need up to four weeks to make a decision.

T-Shirt Art Contest

Rules & Guidelines

(Per Our T-Shirt Printer)

  • Create your design using a vector art program like Adobe Illustrator (HIGHLY PREFERRED).  —OR–  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 4″x5″.
  • 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.
  • Lastly, save all final vector files as an EPS or AI file as it must be in an Adobe compatible format. We can not accept SAI files.

T-Shirt Colors

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.

Please save a copy of your design as a JPG or PNG (preferred) when sending us a flatten preview image. We require to have all layers in tact. Also, do not flatten your image when in the form of PSD, PDF or EPS. Do not save in SAI format.

Prior Year T-Shirt Winner

Noble Demons

The winning entries will each receive a 8′ x 12′ booth (3 TABLES TOTAL) within the Artist Alley section with four badges ($1000 value). All T-shirt entries not selected for first place will be automatically rolled into the MEGA Art Contest. The winning artist table is non-transferable, and the winning artist (or their helper chosen) must be present at the convention, as we will not allow the selected artist to sell through proxy sales.

Prior T-Shirt Winner

Chasing Blue T-Shirt Entry

Mega Art Contest

Prior Mega Art Winner

Mega Art Winner 2019

Rules & Guidelines

  • 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 and then coloring in Photoshop or Illustrator is perfectly allowed. The reasoning for this is that we need to have the drawing in vector format and digitized to allow us to modify as necessary and our printers able to scale to print.
  • Mega Art Entries relate to this year’s theme of listed at the top of the page. There is no restriction on the art style for the contest.

Prior Mega Art Winner

Blaze Manga Productions - Mega Art Entry 1


ONE Winner Selected: 1 Cover Art Mega Art selected on the cover of the Printed Guide. As a result, each winning artist will be awarded an 8′ x 12′ booth (3 TABLES) within Artist Alley with four Artist badges (suitable for all three days of the convention) for this year at San Japan ($1000 Value) [WINNER MAY REQUEST A SUBSTITUTE PRIZE BUT IT WILL BE LESS THAN 1/3rd OF THE RETAIL COST OF A BOOTH]. The winning artist booths are non-transferable, and the winning artist must be present at the convention as we will not allow the selected winners to sell through proxy sales. If you would like to split the booth with a friend, you may.

Special Prize Selection: Based on selected Mega Art entries received we may decide to use some entries for additional parts of the convention. We will notify the artist and notify them about compensation offers.


We also will be selecting up to 17 entries from both contests as FINALISTS. These art pieces will be used for our different badge designs for attendees, along with staff badges.

If an artist submits multiple entries, we reserve the right to select and use those multiple entries for badge materials. If there are multiple entries by one artist selected, that artist will be awarded one table and two badges.

The prize for all finalists will be the chance to purchase an Artist Alley table, which will include one additional Artist Alley badge at the discount rate of $75 (a discount of $350). Even if you only need one artist badge, it will still cost $75. Furthermore, Finalists must be present at the convention to redeem their table, as we will not allow proxy winners. There will not be any table transfers or refunds to finalists. Also, all finalists and winners still need a Texas State Tax ID # to obtain a table. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE GIVEN.


After selecting the entries, a link will be sent to all winners and finalists by July 30th of the convention year. If the artist finalist has already purchased an artist table, they will be issued a refund of upward of $250 ($160 if only purchased a table and no additional badges). Also, if a finalist does not want a table, they will be offered a discount code for two complimentary badges at the convention. No other compensation will be given to artists if they decline the complimentary badge and/or table.


This will be the only way for artists to get a fan artist table in San Japan after Artist Alley table availability closes in May 2024.