What does an Artists Magazine Cover Competition Juror looks for?

What does an Artists Magazine Cover Competition Juror looks for?


AM Cover

Make a cover-worthy painting for the Artists Magazine Cover Competition with these essential elements.

Trusting your artistic instincts is always rule number one in the studio. But alongside that evergreen wisdom, we love to be able to provide concrete, practical insights for you that can be put to good use in your art practice. We love it even more when we can deliver recommendations vouched for by the trusted senior editors and designers of Artists Magazine. That’s what you’ll find here—useful suggestions that align directly with the decisions you’ll be making as you select your submission for the Artists Magazine Cover Competition. (The final submission deadline of December 9th is fast approaching!) There are tips to make your work stand out to our editorial team and also sage advice based on what our experts look for in a cover with every single issue they design and publish.

We hope the result is twofold. One, that you can focus on making a meaningful leap forward in your artistic pursuit by staying true to your artistic point of view. Two, that you’ll be making decisions from an informed position on what often goes into a cover-worthy artwork.    

A Winning Mix

One of the main things our design team looks for in a cover image is a highly practical one. The image must allow for the placement of our logo and masthead in the upper left-hand corner. Just below that, ideally, is where a cover line would go too, though that’s not always the case.

For artists submitting their work for the Artists Magazine Cover Competition, this is obviously something to take note of. Best-case scenario, the upper-left quadrant of your painting would remain relatively uncluttered. That way the logo and masthead can reside there and remain readable with no major impact on the cover artwork. Compositions in which the upper-left area doesn’t contain the main action of the painting are ideal. Then nothing will be obscured when it comes time to fit the painting for the cover and apply the logo and masthead overlays.

Contrast is also really important in a cover as it can assist in the readability of the cover lines. For example, if the background of a painting is quite dark, our design team can place white type on top of it, which will have high contrast and therefore be easily read. Our designers are also always on the lookout for passages in a painting where secondary cover lines can be placed and remain readable.

Possibly Problematic

We all know that certain paintings break all the rules and it works. And yet, there’s something to be said for sound strategy when it comes to composing a painting with specific parameters in mind, like making it just right for the Artists Magazine Cover Competition. In that case, consider troubleshooting the following issues that our editorial team has encountered. These are a few characteristics that commonly impede our designers from placing an otherwise great painting on the cover of the publication.

Step back and consider if…

  • The painting is too dark.
  • The painting lacks a strong focal point. A winning composition will have an area that draws the eye strongly…as long as that focal point is not where the masthead and main cover line would go, as we mentioned above.
  • The painting is too busy. As a result, finding areas where cover lines can fit becomes a challenge.
  • The painting holds together when it is cropped to fit the dimensions of the magazine. You can submit an artwork of any size for the Artists Magazine Cover Competition. But the painting has to work when cropped or sized to fit the cover. In the case of Artists Magazine, the dimensions are 7.75 in. by 10.5 in.
  • And just to be clear, the image you submit must be at least 12 in. tall and 300 pixels per inch for it to be usable for the cover. There have been times when our team has been drawn to a particular an image. Then we realize, unfortunately, the artist submits a digital file that is too small to use. As a result, we have no choice but to select another painting.

Next Steps

Now that you have some more information about what works and what doesn’t, you can assess your submission plan for the Artists Magazine Cover Competition with fresh eyes. Evaluate your strategy with the outlook of a cover designer. You are sure to avoid pitfalls that way, which can also help you balance all the possibilities you are considering.

If you’re planning a brand new work, set aside a bit of studio time to draw a few sketches (or more than a few!). That way you can work through your ideas with rigor. The time investment will be worth it. After all, the Artists Magazine Cover Competition is considering your entry for a place of utmost prominence —the cover of an upcoming issue of the magazine, distributed to subscribers the world over, on newsstands and on the pages of ArtistsNetwork.com as well. You’ll want to make the most of the opportunity.

We hope you are inspired by what our designers shared with you today. Think creatively about how you can take these insights as inspiration. Then shape the next painting that comes out of your studio into the perfect fit for the winning artwork of the Artists Magazine Cover Competition.

And if you need a bit more time – it’s totally understandable. But definitely mark your calendars and make a plan so you can submit your artwork before the December 9, 2021 final deadline. Don’t miss the chance to have your creative abilities seen and appreciated by our editors, designers and passionate community—and thousands of art lovers worldwide.



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