I hope you've primed yourself with plenty of pumpkin spice latte because it's that time: the annual Next Town Over art contest.

As ever, anyone can enter (although after last year not anyone can win -- see rules below) and any medium is welcome, although I aim to include three winning entries in Next Town Over Volume 2 — with full accreditation, natch — so if you go crazy avant garde you’re still eligible to win but obviously I can’t include songs or installations in the book. All entries will be featured here on the site, though, with a link back to their creators’ sites/pages.

One grand prize winner will receive:

  1. One signed, numbered Next Town Over Volume 1 hardcover (clothbound, with a foil-stamped slipcover, including books #1-4 and a ton of extra material). Since these have now been around awhile and a lot of the superfans that might want to contribute to the contest probably also kicked in to the Kickstarter or bought it right after, I'm also offering a print copy of Hell's Corners Vol. 1: Douchebags Never Die as an alternate if you prefer (softcover, 158 pages).
  2. Print copies of Book 6: Redridge Express and Genevieve. The latter two don’t even exist yet, so there may be a slight delay getting everything to you.
  3. One original hand-drawn character sketch (character of your choosing, from NTO or otherwise, on 8.5×11″ bristol)
  4. A Genevieve cameo brooch. Printed image under glass cabochon, with an antiqued brass pinback setting. These also don't exist yet, so I don't have an image for you, but they will be awesome.

Two runners-up will win:

  1. One signed, Next Town Over Volume 1 trade paperback (same book as the hardbound limited edition, same extras, just softcover — and a swank, foil-stamped softcover, at that). As with the Grand Prize, I'm also offering a print copy of Hell's Corners Vol. 1: as an alternate if you prefer (softcover, 158 pages).
  2. One print copy of Genevieve
  3. A Genevieve cameo brooch. Printed image under glass cabochon, with an antiqued brass pinback setting. These also don't exist yet, so I don't have an image for you, but they will be awesome.

And all you have to do is follow the guidelines (well, and win, too of course):

  1. Deadline is October 31, 2013 (so get cracking!)
  2. Send entries to erin@nexttownover.net with subject line NTO ART CONTEST 2014. This is important! I have nearly lost entries previous years (heck, maybe I did lose some and just don’t know because I never saw them) due to missing or incorrect subject lines.
  3. Full color, black and white, digital, traditional, macaroni or pumpkins are all acceptable (in fact pumpkins are encouraged; the NTO Art Contest is an October event and they are super cool and super festive). Although the focus of the contest is on visual art, short stories, etc.. are also welcome & eligible to win (in fact a short story nearly carried 2012 and a poem won a runner-up prize last year).
  4. Please work large with visual entries (or take big photos!). .TIFs, .PSDs, .PNGs & JPGs, need to be 2100x3150px or larger for inclusion in the book.
  5. Please include your name as you’d like it to be printed on the site (and/or in the book), along with the URL of any personal site/project you’d like linked to. I will probably not have time to personally email everyone verifying bylines this year.
  6. Your piece must be NTO-related or at least NTO-relevant. Snake, Genevieve, Marshall Snowman and of course any of the comic’s wronged parties are all fair game.
  7. This probably goes without saying, but keep it rated R or under.
  8. Enter as many different pieces as you like, but know that they’ll all be judged individually and will not necessarily increase your chances of winning
  9. By submitting your work to the competition you are granting me (Erin Mehlos) non-exclusive rights to post and reproduce it electronically and in print (with full accreditation).
  10. Delivery of prizes pending their printing/availability (NTO #6 and Genevieve may hold things up as I'm prepressing them right now. I’ll get them to you ASAP, though, and you can rest assured you’ll get them before anyone else has a shot at them.)
  11. Previous Grand Prize winners are ineligible to win the Grand Prize a second time. But why would they want to? They have half this stuff already anyway. However, runners-up from previous years are still eligible to win the grand prize, and former grand prize winners are still eligible to win a runner-up prize. This is possibly needlessly confusing, but I have gotten really attached to some art contest contributors and don't want to put anyone off!
  12. Sorry, but artwork created prior to the announcement of the contest is ineligible to win. As much as I love seeing fanart year round, if you created your piece previously you'll need to do another to qualify.

If you have any questions please let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Have fun, get creative, and don’t hesitate to post your project (or let folks know about the contest) on your site/blog/facebook/Twitter.

As always, I cannot wait to see what you guys come up with. My birthday is in October and this has become my favorite present.

You can check out 2012's amazing entries here, and 2013's here.