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Welcome to the [Super helpful, well presented and totally awesome] BIG guide to the character of the week challenge, aka CHoW. This is one of those one stop shop type places where you can find out everything you could need to know about taking part in a CHoW challenge!
So let's get started....
What is CHoW?
CHoW stands for Character of the Week. It is a challenge held over here at Conceptart.org on a weekly (Sometimes fortnightly) basis.
In its simplest form, CHoW is a place where artists have the opportunity to create new and fantastic characters based on a weekly theme set by the challenge moderators. However it is also a great place to develop core skills, not just in character design, but also general art techniques.
CHoW is all about stepping out of the comfort zones and really striving to create interesting characters. Challenges can range from being completely open to a very strict brief and cover as many different styles, genres, settings and character types as possible, so there is always something for both new and established artists.
Who are the challenge Moderators?
The current moderators are: Quinn Simoes and Havok Reed.
The role of the moderators includes setting the theme each week, posting the Finals/Voting threads and setting up the weekly poll. They also keep the forum as clean as possible by deleting spam threads, moving posts to their appropriate location and updating the various challenge images.
Mods are also a source of help and information. Any queries, concerns or questions can be directed to them via private message or in the topic threads. However the moderators are all volunteers with lives and jobs outside for the forum, and whilst they do their best to respond as quickly as they can, it is not always possible to reply to everyone immediately.
How do I enter?
Each sunday, the moderators will post a new thread with a new challenge title. The format of the thread names are as follows:
CHoW#[NUMBER] :: [TOPIC NAME]
Artists may then use this thread to post updates of their works and offer feedback for other concepts. Posts which are off topic or considered spam, will be removed.
When posting updates of concepts, it is highly advised that artists use the CA attachment manager as it is free, there is no hotlinking required and the images won't suddenly disappear.
How do I upload my concepts using the attachment manager?
1. Click the "Go Advanced" button in the Quick Reply section of the bottom of the thread.
2. Once on the advanced reply section, scroll down to an area called Attachments and click the "Manage Attachments" button.
3. A new window or tab will open with the upload manager. To upload a new image, click the "Add Files" button at the top right and select the image from the computer.
The new manager keeps into memory your previously uploaded images, so if you wish to upload a previous image, simply find the one in the list and drag it into the area just below where it says "Drag previously uploaded files into this area to attach them". When you have the files you want uploaded, click "Done" on the bottom right corner.
Is there a set size or aspect ratio for uploading images?
Whilst there is no specific resolution for CHoW, extremely large images make people do this: pld: and cause the mods to make this face:
A good rule of thumb regarding images is to keep the longest side of the image a maximum of 800px when posting them in the topic thread.
If an image exceeds what the mods deem 'acceptable' then it will be removed. The same will happen to images which are inappropriate or without taste.
Can I post my image elsewhere to get feedback?
There is no rule against getting criticism from outside the CHoW forum, however it is generally considered to be not in the 'spirit' of the challenge. Once the challenge week is over, artists are free to use their concepts however they wish.
What do I do when my image is finished?
Finished images are posted in the Finals Thread along with two (2) works in progress (WIPs) images. The Finals thread can be identified by the name which is in the following format:
CHoW#[NUMBER] :: FINALS :: [TOPIC NAME]
and by the topic icon which has the word: Finals and several in the background.
The finals thread is posted on the Friday before the deadline.
General discussion, comments and crits are not allowed in the finals thread until AFTER the poll has been posted! All posts of this nature will be removed!
How do I submit my final image?
First of all the image has to be saved in the correct format. All final images must contain the Artist's name and the CHoW#Title at the bottom or top of the image like so (TYPED, NOT WRITTEN). A frame is not necessary, but have at least a footer bar:
Final images are submitted in the same way a work in progress shots in the main topic thread. Artists are required to use the CA Attachment Manager to upload the following:
- ONE final version of the image with a maximum height or width of 1000px
- A single image containing at least TWO work in progress shots
Can I enter more than once?
No. Simply put, CHoW gets far too many entries without having to deal with multiple entries from the same artist. Artists are free to create as many images as they wish during the week of the challenge, however only one will be accepted to poll.
But the challenge asked for more than one character, do they have to be in the same image?
No, multiple characters can be shown in different images as long as they are submitted in a single file. However, Artists may not submit multiple designs for a single character.
When is the deadline for challenges?
The usual deadline each week is Sunday at 10:00PM GMT+1.
NOTE: In the winter, this time is whatever the time is in the UK, plus one hour, however in the summer, the UK switches to British Summer Time (BST) which is the same as GMT+1. If in doubt, you can check the time HERE
After the deadline has closed, the mods will post a poll of the successful images and change the title to the following format:
Poll: CHoW#[NUMBER] :: VOTING :: [TOPIC NAME]
At this point, users are able to vote for their favorite concepts and post feedback on finished images.
May I vote for more than one image?
Yes. The poll is a multi-vote which means that you can select as many images as you like, however a lot of artists restrict themselves to voting for their top three!
Why are some images not successful?
The simple answer is that they have not followed the rules. CHoW gets a huge number of entries and whilst it is only a bit of fun, the rules are there for a reason.
Common reasons for images NOT making it into the poll include the following:
- Posted after the deadline
- Submitted under-developed, incomplete or rushed concepts
- Did not place their name and CHoW# on the final image
- Did not follow the brief or general rules
Last edited by Havok Reed; February 10th, 2014 at 09:40 AM.
THE RULES FOR GETTING TO POLL
The rules are really, REALLY straightforward and most of them take a matter of seconds to implement. There are 7 Golden Rules, but if a submission does not meet them, it will not be entered into the poll.
RULE ONE: FOLLOW THE TOPIC.
If the challenge is to design a robot space monkey sent back to the victorian era then it's no good if you create a Japanese Bunny Warrior. Stick to the brief and make the design clear.
RULE TWO: SHOW AT LEAST ¾ OF YOUR DESIGN.
CHoW is a CHARACTER DESIGN challenge! If not enough of the character is visible then it will fail. ¾ is roughly Top of the head to the knees, although it's best to play it safe and show the whole character.
Head designs, Busts and half torsos are fine to help develop the character, but they will not be accepted into the poll.
RULE THREE: POST YOUR FINAL IN THE FINALS THREAD BEFORE THE DEADLINE.
The finals thread is posted every Friday and is clearly named and the deadline is usually Sunday at 10:00PM GMT+1. If the final concept is NOT posted in that thread BEFORE the deadline is up OR when a mod closes for submissions, then it will not even be considered for the poll. Any changes to the submission time or day will be clearly marked!
RULE FOUR: CHARACTER DESIGN MUST BE CLEAR.
Again, CHoW is a character design challenge and the emphasis is therefore on the quality of the character! How the character is presented is entirely up to the artist unless the brief states otherwise. If the mods do not think that enough thought or research has gone into a design, it will not make the poll.
RULE FIVE: NO ENVIRONMENT BACKGROUNDS!
ChoW is about character design, not illustration. The focus of these challenges is to make a clear and well executed design on a character. People spend too much time on placing a character in an environment than working on the actual design. You may, however, use simple shapes, gradients, or silhouettes for a background. Nothing more.
RULE SIX: PLACE THE IMAGE IN A FRAME WITH YOUR NAME/TOPIC.
I hate having to cut people from the poll because of this, but it is such a simple rule, that if you cannot even follow this, you aren't ready for a studio position!
Skipping any of these rules means you will NOT make it into the poll.
Last edited by Havok Reed; November 16th, 2013 at 10:33 AM.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE POLL
Admission to poll will be based on the artists' skill and their ability to handle their subject matter: meaning the mods will keep a wide spread of work from beginners to professionals in the poll based on that particular week's submissions, but they will be far more picky on who actually ends up in poll.
EXPECT TO GET CUT. If you come into this with guns blazing expecting to get to poll and win, you're coming at it backwards.
Things to keep in mind:
- The poll is subjective. Surprise. The entries that go to poll are the ones which the mods think best reflected the brief.
- Poll is not the end all be all of CHOW, CA, the mods' lives or yours, so get over it. Enjoy the entries, and the process and keep in mind that the moderator bust their butts to make CHoW an enjoyable experience, but ultimately in the great lay of things, it's meaningless.
- Mods make mistakes. They leave people out, they put people in who probably should not be in. They do their best, but at the end of the day, they're only human. Deal with with it.
- On occasion, someone will go to poll who otherwise wouldn't be there. This is done purposefully to help someone get some extra attention for their work and to get them some decent crits. It's not done so you can have a hissy fit about it. Get with the program and help people instead of bitching about the poll.
- If you get cut, DO NOT send the mods a PM bitching about it or having a go at them personally. That is a sure fire way to put them in a bad mood and you may find yourself out of future CHoWs. If the generalized reasons list doesn't cover it enough for you, They are more than happy to provide a more detailed reasoning either in thread or via pm - just ask politely.
Original post by S.C. Watson can be found HERE
ABOUT PROVIDING WIPS WITH FINAL IMAGE
CHoW is not just about the final concept, it's also about your process - not just how you progress from one element from another in the course of your illustration, but why did you choose those elements to begin with? What were you trying to do? Why did it work, or not? Use the main topic thread and your WIP thumbs to show other artists your inspiration - be it a photograph, or someone else's work that you admire, or something you have - or did you just shoot from the hip after reading the Brief?
So, in the Finals thread, this is your chance to consolidate all of your ideas and talk about them. Review your own work - look at it critically and analyze it from an objective standpoint, and talk to us about it.
Original post by S.C. Watson can be found HERE
GENERAL CHOW GUIDELINES
Follow the Character Brief to the best of your ability.
What this means: The Brief is where you find the details of the character for the given week. Often times there will be tidbits of vital information included in the Brief that you will not find by going just by the thread header.
Why: As CHOW is in part designed to give you some real world experience in character design, you are encouraged to read the brief and do some research on the character that week when necessary. Briefs vary greatly from assignment to assignment or client to client in a job situation, and so to here in CHOW.
Art created *only* for this activity will be accepted.
What this means: This means that CHOW requires you to create original artwork for the given week. Paint overs of other people's work is strictly forbidden.
Why: CHOW is about pushing your limits as much as possible. You do not benefit in any way, shape or form by copping out and submitting work that has been created previously for something else (either a personal project or for a client).
Furthermore, paint overs (of artwork or photographs) are viewed very, very dimly by the hosts, and are considered cheating.
One Entry Only.
What this means: One entry per entrant.
Why: While we encourage prolific illustration, it would rapidly get well out of hand for orchestrating the poll, therefore for our sanity, and yours; One entry only.
Minimum 3/4 character must be visible. No busts or head shots.
What this means: A three quarters view of a humanoid character is required. Head shots, or busts, are greatly admired and some of the best artwork every done has been done in this style, and they can convey a great deal about the character being illustrated. However, in CHOW, character expression is expressed through so much more than just the face. The stance, position of arms, hands, accouterments, costuming design all help convey who the individual is that you are illustrating. Also, showing just a back view of a character is unacceptable, and will not be considered for the poll. In the real world, if you handed an art director the backside of a character as your idea, they will think you are on crack, because that is not what they want to see.
Why: Mostly because we want to see what you can do. How well can you illustrate the human form, or any other form for that matter? Further to this is how well can you express an emotion through that form?
Background imagery NOT PERMITTED unless indicated by the brief.
What this means: Do not include a background. Unless the brief says otherwise. However, you may use simple shapes, gradients or silhouettes as a background.
Why: Backgrounds are not the focus of CHOW. People spend too much time on the environment and not enough time on the character design.
Color or Black and White.
What this means: You can work in color or black and white.
Why: Both color and black and white can be very powerful tools of illustration, and each artist uses them differently.
Any medium is accepted, except photography.
What this means: You can submit work that is created digitally, or traditionally. However, photography is not accepted.
Why: CHOW is about illustration, be it on a computer or canvas. Photography is not illustration therefore not accepted.
However, sculpture is accepted because it is done by hand.
No sketches for finals - we want finished work, just like the rest of the Weeklies.
What this means: Finished work is a fairly relative term. Review some of Wes Burt's or Marko's work (or John Singer Sargent for that matter) to see drawings that technically are sketches, but would be accepted in CHOW.
Why: For our purposes here, a sketch is a unfinished thought. A drawing (including artistically unfinished ones) are a complete thought - either completed by the artist, or by the viewer.
Remember: Focus your design. Pay attention to anatomy, shape, form, lighting, etc. USE REFERENCE.
What this means: Too often beginners try to do everything. Don't. Slow down and THINK about what you are attempting to convey - what you want to say. Look critically at what you are doing, and why you are doing it. Don't just throw everything into the picture including the kitchen sink just because it's within arms' reach. On the same note, don't use a every color on the pallet just because it's there. Color conveys emotion. Fewer colors will have a stronger impact in the illustration.
Why: You illustration will have more impact, and therefore stand a greater chance of going to poll, and getting votes if you know what you are doing. If you're not sure what you're doing, or how to do something, ask someone or experiment first before just throwing everything into your final.
On using reference: Reference is considered to be typically the use of an object, person, animal or location in photographic form to study so that you understand how to illustrate said object, person, animal or location. In regards to CHOW direct copying is strongly discouraged, along with paint overs (taking a photograph into photoshop or painter or other program and using a layer on top to either smudge or trace the photograph in part or in whole, regardless of whether you own the rights to the photograph or not). In fact, using someone else's photograph for your own artwork, or elements there of, is considered plagiarism and is forbidden in CHOW.
Please include accurate copyright information when submitting your entry.
What this means: It means that we'll need you to tell us how you are filling out the copyright form when you upload to the CA attachment manager. This means name (usually if we're not sure, we put it under the username, but you may specify another), image catagory, sub catagory, genre and media.
Why: Because of the new attachment system, we need accurate copyright information in case your image is posted anywhere else with regards to chow. (For example, the winner's thread.) We can usually guess, but it is much easier (and accurate) if you simply provide the information along with your final burning entry, and we will be requesting this from now on.
Last edited by Havok Reed; November 16th, 2013 at 10:37 AM.
Updated on 2/11/2013
Apologies if this has been asked before but I couldn't locate an answer, I just wanted to be clear on 'reference' as I am a CHoW noob. The rules above state:
Does this extend to using a royalty-free/creative commons stock photograph for an anatomical pose for your character? Or are we recommended to shoot our own poses for our submissions if we're shaky on bodily proportions? It seems to fall in the middle of what constitutes 'reference' and 'using someone else's photograph'....using someone else's photograph for your own artwork, or elements there of, is considered plagiarism and is forbidden in CHOW.
I only ask to be 100% clear, I'm not referring to copying costumes or other elements, just to ensure we get the foundations of our drawings right. Thanks.
dirksteele: I think that rule is general pointed towards paint-overs and photo-manipulations...if your using a photo to reference a pose there shouldn't be a problem with that so long as your not 100% (or mostly) copying the subject within the photo or image...
Last edited by Arden.; December 22nd, 2013 at 12:11 PM.
Havoc im new to concept art and ive been trying to verify my account but the verification code was not sent to my email. can you help please
you need to send an email to email@example.com and tell her the issue. be sure to include your user name for the forum to make things quicker.
is it possible to visit old CHOWS briefs?