By Braeden Pelton
Every year at the end of June, artists from around the world start prepping their characters, talents, and phones for one of the biggest art events of the year. Artfight is an international competition for creative types, and despite the name, it is strictly meant to be fun. And no, you don’t have to draw to compete.
Myself and a few of my friends participate in the competition each year. I can confirm it is worth it. My art has improved dramatically thanks to Artfight, especially with digital animation. The amount of cool people I have met thanks to this alone, makes it worth every second of work.
What is Artfight? It’s essentially a massive art trade. On July 1 the fight starts. People who join are assigned into two teams. The teams change each year based on a theme. For example, last year’s theme was Steampunk vs. Cyberpunk and this year’s theme is Bloom vs. Wither. Each player places their own original characters on their online profile with whatever restrictions they want for what people can make with it, such as no gore or things like that.
Now for the rules. Players seek out members of the opposing team and look at their characters to make attacks. The player makes art related to that character and uploads either a digital copy or a photo to the site. When submitting an attack, the site will have you describe what you made with a very brief list of questions to determine how many points you will receive.
The more complex the art or work put into it, the more points players receive for the attack. Now players can attack you back in a revenge sequence to gain extra points. Even if you don´t think your art is good or intricate enough to be on the site, that doesn’t mean you can’t compete. You can submit stick figure versions if you want.
If you mislabel your art with an inaccurate description, the admins come in and fix it. You can also attack people on your own team, which is called friendly fire. You do get points for this as well, just fewer. The team at the end of the month with the most points wins bragging rights and an onsite sticker.
People come back to compete for many reasons, including making friends with other players you interact with, having a place to come up with new ideas, improve your art, or just for receiving some cool art.
I went to the person that got me into Artfight and someone I introduced to the competition and asked why they’re competing this year, and what they hope to get from the competition.
Digital artist and veteran fighter Silas Tinker, 18, said, “I do Artfight mainly to improve my art skill. But I also do it for the sense of community it creates. I love interacting with the rest of my team and making art for others.”
Although most players attack with drawings, you don’t have to. Some do stop motion, pottery, embroidery, anything you can think of. Faith Gentry, 22, a rookie fighter, does knitting.
“I’m honestly a bit nervous since I’m not doing traditional or digital art,” Gentry said. “I am excited though to get some practice in with a new technique with knitting scarfs. I’ve never tried patterns before, it will take me longer than I do with a traditional scarf.”
For the most part, team assignments are random. But if players go to the site and sign up before the competition begins, they can pick their team. Players can get access to team choices using this news post on their main page.
Artfight is completely free and is run by a team of volunteers. Players are encouraged to donate to the site if they join. You can donate by going to the donation section of the Artfight page. All money goes back into making sure the competition can continue on. If you’re not the donation type, you can buy Artfight merch with the logo or team swag on the store site too.