Show us what you’ve got

Step up and stake your shot. This is where you can get your work
seen and appreciated.

Check out the guide below to see how it’s done.

Get started

Make a submission

What we are looking for

You can submit either an animation or an illustration.

Illustration

You must submit your entry as one image file. Multiple files cannot be submitted.
Accepted file formats are: JPEG, PNG and PDF.

A full figure of a character from the story you’ve chosen. You can include sidekicks, props, vehicles or additional characters if you feel it’s important to convey your vision, but one character must be the FOCUS of your submission.

or

A full figure of a character from the story you’ve chosen, along with a range of facial or Physical expressions that sell and convey your character’s personality or emotion.

Use digital or traditional media - if you’re using traditional media then a photo or scan of your work is acceptable.

Submit your art as JPEG, PNG and PDF.

Don’t forget to express who you are and your style.

Black and white or coloured artwork is okay

Use your name as part of the filename (it’s easier to for the judges).

Animation

You must submit your entry as single video file MP4, MOV or AVI file.
Your animation must not exceed 15 seconds, this is plenty to sell your concept. Your entry can use dialogue, music or sound effects (but read the submission guidelines about copyright.)

Animated full figure of a character from the story you’ve chosen. Think about facial expression, body motion, and interaction with the scene, props or secondary characters. You can include sidekicks, props, vehicles or additional characters if you feel it’s important to convey your vision, but one character must be the FOCUS of your submission.

or

A full figure of a character from the story you’ve chosen, along with a range of facial or Physical expressions that sell and convey your character’s personality or emotion.

Use any animation software at your disposal.

Black and white or coloured submission is okay.

2D, 3D or Stop motion is OKAY.

Submit your project as MP4, MOV or AVI file.

Use your name as part of the filename (it’s easier for the judges).

What we are NOT looking for

Only the head or Torso of a character.

Heads and torsos are acceptable if you’re cutting in for a close-up as part of your animation.

Heads are also acceptable if you want to use them alongside a full-body illustration to show a range of expressions.

No opening titles.

No end credits or on-screen text .

How to: a guide

Don’t know what to do? We’ve got you covered. Follow these simple steps to award-winning glory, and the first leg on the journey to a brilliant career:

Read the stories

Choose the one that fires up your creative imagination.

Read the guidelines

And our top tips for your submissions.

Over to you

It’s time to get creative!

Make a submission

Make sure to read the read the submission guide below first.

Submission guidelines

What you will need to make your submission:

profile
picture

(Use a recent
photo)

Your
contact details

Short description

About you and
your work (max
300 chars)

Rules of submission

Your entry

To enter The Secret Story Draw you must be 18 at the time of the competition closing date, which is 28 May 2021.
Entries will be accepted up until 23:59 on day of entry deadline. Only entries from residents of the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland are eligible. Sorry!
To enter, please use the submission form.
The Shortlisted entries will be notified by via email some time in June. The date of the awards will be published in due course.

Judging

Judging will take place in Early June - Entries will be judged based-on, but not limited to:

Originality

Creativity

How much does the viewer care about the characters

How engaging your idea is

Does your entry work in the context of the story you've chosen.

The work submitted

One entry per person per story.  
Your story must NOT contain any of the following:

No sensitive information

No offensive language or images

No nude or sexual content or images

No violent or graphic content

No content depicting exorcism, the occult or the paranormal

No brands

No commercial music

No names of real people

Your work MUST be 100% your own! You must NOT copy anyone else’s work.
Work submitted must be created specifically for this competition. No previous work can be submitted.

Formats for submission:
Illustration formats
JPEG, PNG, PDF - you may submit a photo or a scan of your work if you're using traditional non digital media.
Animation formats
MP4, MOVE or AVI file. - your film MUST NOT exceed 50mb in size

Availability

You must be available for any promotion or events connected to The Secret Story Draw - Dates and timings to be confirmed.

Top tips for a perfect submission

We asked Emmy award-winning animation and VFX creative director Tom Brass from Jellyfish for his top tips to make sure you give your work the best shot of standing out from the crowd. Here’s what he had to say:

1.  Your characters

What do they look like? Where are they from? How does their outward appearance reflect who they are inside? Great character design is often simple, direct and communicates something fundamental about their personality.

2.  Your world

When creating the setting for your characters, whether abstract or highly detailed, your world needs to communicate something to the viewer. Ask yourself, “What does this world feel like to be in?”, what is the geography, architecture, weather. Is this a familiar world or something completely new? What relationship do your characters have to their world - do they loom large or does this world dwarf and intimidate them?
Even if the questions feel irrelevant or over-specific at first, it's a fantastic exercise that will allow you to go deeper into the setting for your work and open doors to a more imaginative an unusual world.

3.  Your style

The range of potential styles is incredibly broad. What style works for the story? Should you choose something that is hyper-realistic or incredibly stylised? These different routes will produce different reactions in the viewer, so do consider this carefully. If there's a style that feels comfortable and familiar to you, should you try something new? Reaching for a different style in your work can often push you to new and exciting places.

4. Point of View

Who's eyes should we look through to see this story? Do you want us to identify with a particular character or is there another point of view that is important to you? Is it yours?

5.  Your medium

Each medium has different artistic possibilities, and also different practical considerations. If you're an illustrator then it's worth focusing on a couple of powerful images that really nail your interpretation of the story. If you're a character animator and plan on delivering unrendered animation then really focus on the nuances of performance and how you can best use those to really sell your ideas.

6. Who cares

Lastly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, whatever you do, it has to make people feel something. It's one thing to make an image or animation that is technically excellent, but it's quite another to really touch someone emotionally. If you want to make someone else care about what you've depicted with your work then you have to care yourself. Ask yourself what the story you've picked means to you. Why have you chosen it and why do you care about it? Does it inspire love in you? Does it inspire fear? Connect as deeply as you can with that emotion and put it into your work.

Make a submission