Announcing the Return of our Badge Art Contest!

For Naka-Kon 2017, we’re once again giving our amazing fans a chance to shine by featuring your artwork on our convention badges!

The theme this year is "The Phoenix Paradox," which is going to tie into the interactive storyline that plays out at the convention, starting with our manga prequel and running until Closing Ceremonies, with plenty of activities in between! We know, that’s not a very descriptive theme. So here’s what you need to know:

The Naka-Kon cast will be traveling back to feudal Japan, the age of samurai warriors, to once again face the Yokai. However, they won’t be alone as they attempt to unravel the mystery of the phoenix.

Therefore, we ask that all submissions feature some interpretation of a phoenix. You are welcome to create your own art of Tomo, as well as Suzaku, a phoenix whose role will be revealed later on!  

Description: Suzaku wears a red furisode with a gold wing motif on the upper body and sleeves and a gold rectangular panel hanging from the front of her obi, which is decorated with a red and gold phoenix motif and tied in a darari knot. She sports a gold kasane eri, a white juban collar and obiage, and a round blue obijime with white socks and black zori with red accents. Her hair matches the overall look, with cascading layers of color: red over orange over yellow, with a wash of yellow hair framing the face. Her makeup consists of subtle neutral colors, and her eyes are blue.

Resources: All About Kimono and Yukata, Kimono Layers

The contest will be blind-judged by a small committee of our staffers. That means our judges won’t know the artist’s identity to keep everything fair. The deadline for entries is December 26, 2016.

The Prizes

The winning artist will get credit on our website, on our social media, and in our program book, plus 1 of 2 possible prizes:

  1. An artist table in the Exhibit Hall at Naka-Kon 2017, complete with 1 standard weekend badge (for your table assistant) and 1 VIP badge (for you). As a VIP, you’ll get:
    • A swag bag full of goodies.
    • A special lanyard and badge.
    • A VIP-exclusive T-shirt.
    • Line-jumping privileges for most events.
    • Access to the Kon Suite.
    • Free admission to one ticketed event of your choice (the Maid Café, Lolita Tea Party, a Sake Tasting, or the Charity Ball).
      Find out more about our VIP badges and perks on the registration page.
  2. A $300 gift card. You can choose from 1 of 3 options: Michaels, Best Buy, or Amazon.
    If you’ve already applied for an artist table (whether you were accepted or not), you are still eligible to enter the contest!

The Rules

  1. The artwork must be your own original creation and not previously used for any commercial purpose. That includes selling prints of the art.
  2. Japanese-inspired art styles are highly encouraged, but as long as you embrace the theme of "The Phoenix Paradox," your entry is valid for consideration.
  3. Your entry must be appropriate for all ages.
  4. Your submission shouldn’t have any sort of signature, initials, or identifying mark on it when you submit. The winning artist will have the opportunity to add their signature, initials, or identifying mark to the art before we send it off for printing.
  5. All entries must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. CST on December 26, 2016.
  6. No current Naka-Kon staff members or immediate family members of Naka-Kon staffers are allowed to enter.
  7. Naka-Kon will use the winning submission for its 2017 badges. We won’t use your artwork in any other capacity without your express permission.
  8. Contest art entries must be kept confidential until the winner is announced publicly via Naka-Kon’s official channels. After the announcement, the winning entry must be kept confidential until March 9, 2017, to help us prevent counterfeiting. Public disclosure of any submitted artwork before the permitted time will be grounds for disqualification and forfeiture of prizes.
  9. Naka-Kon reserves the right to disqualify any entries that violate the stated rules or do not fit publication specifications.
  10. Naka-Kon also reserves the right to choose another piece of artwork for our 2017 badges if all the entries are unsuitable for publication. In this event, we will still name a contest winner and award prizes.

Art Specifications

The artwork should measure 3 inches wide by 4 inches tall with a 1/8-inch bleed (0.125 inch) on all sides (that means the final artwork will measure 3.25 inches by 4.25 inches).

Both digital and non-digital art are welcome. However, any non-digital creations must be scanned at a minimum 1200 dpi to ensure the image is sufficiently clear for our printer. For digital entries, the resolution must be a minimum 300 dpi.

Color format must be CMYK.

Acceptable file formats include .JPG and .TIFF.

How to Enter

All entries must be submitted by email to Please use the subject line "Badge Art Contest Submission." You can also direct any questions about the contest to

Your submitted file should be named as follows: "2017 [your legal name]."

Please also include in your entry email:

  • Your name (and whatever pseudonym you use for your art, if applicable). Don’t worry, our judges won’t see any names during the judging process!
  • Whether you already have an artist table at Naka-Kon 2017.

You may e-mail attachments using Google Drive or via a file sharing service (such as Dropbox, Hightail, etc.). Please verify that your links work before submitting.

The judging committee will review entries, make a decision, and contact the winner via email on December 30, 2016. The winner must respond to that email no later than January 6, 2017. Because of the confidentiality required, Naka-Kon will not award the gift card prize until after the March 9, 2017, deadline.

Good luck!