March 5th - April 15th, 2013

Call for Entries


2nd - Lin Bo

3rd - Tanner Griepentrog

4th - Julia Griffin

5th - Nuri Kelia

5th - Celia Krampien

5th - Rodney Pike

5th - BreeAnn Veenstra

2013 Breakthrough Artist:

Trylea ZhiChao Cai

We now proudly announce the winner to be Trylea (ZhiChao) Cai  of Hangzhou, China. We look forward to bringing him to NYC where we will host a reception and introduce him to our friends as well as award him his prize.

Selection by:


Todd Detwiler

Art Director || Technology Group, Popular Science

Matt Lennert

Creative Director
|| Deloitte University Press

Laurent Linn

Art Director

|| Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Jay Loucks 

Associate Director

|| W3 Advertising

Mark Maltais
Art Director || Rolling Stone

Alison Morgan

Tundra Books

Justin Page

Senior Art Director
|| Playboy Magazine

Karen H. Sawyer

Associate Director, Art Production 


Noah Simon 


Janice Rossi
Creative Director
|| Kensington Books

Mark Tyner

Art Director

|| The Wall Street Journal

Irene Vandervoort

Assistant Art Director
|| Penguin Group



The Idea

The idea took shape while we were brainstorming during our staff dinner meeting in the winter of 2011. My staff and all artists understand how hard it is to break through and succeed as a professional illustrator in today’s market. This is why we named the contest  “Breakthrough”. We targeted young artists and so the rules stated that the entrant must be under 35 years old with less than 5 years professional experience or a student from anywhere in the world.

Our goal was to create a contest that would produce a long term benefit for the winner. After all, every young artist’s greatest concern is to have a successful career. Unlike other competitions which simply offer a cash prize or a scholarship, we have gone a step further. We will bring the winner to New York City where they will meet top art/creative directors, be given constructive criticism and advice by the industry’s top pros needed to succeed as a professional illustrator.