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Friends, Smogoners, countrymen, lend me your ears—it's time for another Smeargle's Studio update! I bet you thought things couldn't possibly get more exciting than they have been over the past few months, but once again the artists have upped the ante in an effort to win those prestigious MACs. We've also seen the arrival of brilliant new artists, and the return of old favorites such as HellaHellaStyle—the Smeargle's Studio summer (since, of course, the Smogon offices are in the northern hemisphere) promises to be HellaHellaScintillating!
Recently, all of the past MAC contests (including various reboots) were dragged back from the depths of old threads and cataloged, meaning that—in a somewhat bizarre twist—the artists were suddenly competing in MAC #15, rather than MAC #7. Nonetheless, Studio denizens were not fazed by such a change and brought this example of Strength into their artwork. Alright, I'll admit it: that was a tenuous link.
If you're a fan of this series of articles, then you
have bad taste will have seen Yilx's name crop up many, many times over the history of the MAC. In fact, Yilx is the most frequent winner of the Monthly Art Contest, having participated since its inception. In this piece, however, he has outdone himself once again: the composition is truly excellent. The angle immediately adds drama to the piece, and the brilliant contrast between the young Iris and her intimidating Haxorus is underlined by the chessboard floor. At the same time, however, she is linked to her Pokémon by the shared shade of purple, which also adds a sense of motion to the Haxorus. If there was one criticism I was to lodge, however, it would be that Iris isn't quite integrated into the ground in the same way as her Pokémon. Still, the focus is so clearly defined that this becomes a non-issue.
Nope, that isn't a typo. As I already mentioned in the introduction, HellaHellaStyle has recently made a welcome return to Smeargle's Studio, and what better way to announce his reappearance than with a stunning MAC entry? Yilx and HellaHellaStyle were the titans of this poll, each one managing to eke out in front of the other for a little while, before balancing out again. This piece is characteristic of HHS, mixing a mind-numbing professionalism with a brilliant streak of humour. The shading is perfect; the outlines clean—there's even a Deoxys-A in a suit. What's not to love?
While being somewhat left in the dust by Studio veterans, the newer sandshrewz still earned a deserved second place with this quirky drawing. The lack of shading adds an interesting twist to the design, linking in with the stars of the piece being NFE Pokémon, rather than the fully-evolved powerhouses used in the above two submissions. Despite the theme of sandshrewz's piece being more reminiscent of "Assholishness" than "Strength" (poor Cleffa!) it's certainly representative of the variety I was anticipating!
In a distinct shift from the recent, more abstract themes, the challenge of MAC #16 was definitely more down-to-earth—in more ways than one. The theme? Simply draw one or more Ground-type Pokémon. Of course, when you make such requests of such a talented bunch, the results are still absolutely spectacular. This time HellaHellaStyle snatched that win he'd been hoping for, but faced fierce competition from the new kids in town.
Although it contains enough ground-related puns to make even me wince and groan, this has to be one of the best pieces I've ever seen HHS post on the forums. It takes a lot of skill to be so detailed and yet keep the composition balanced, and yet HHS has created a piece that is both pleasing to the eye and humorous. The multiple light sources are perhaps the biggest achievement of this submission, with that beautiful blue-bathed Sandshrew being particularly impressive. It also contains a sad Cubone, which—as we all know—is the key to the success of any artwork.
DEZ-who? DEZTROYA, that's who! Despite not being a Smeargle's Studio regular, this awesome piece almost made HellaHellaStyle share the 1st-place podium once again. The most striking part of DEZTROYA's submission is the use of space: unlike the rest of the entrants, he has chosen to exclude part of Swampert's body in favor of the rocks. This adds a nice weight to the piece, emphasizing Swampert's power. The line art is somewhat minimalist, but this only serves to positively accentuate the expert shading. There's a lot more in store from this guy, I think!
You may remember that in the previous issue I highlighted an exciting new challenge of Smeargle's Studio, the 'Extreme Pokémon Makeovers' contest. Since that time, the competition concluded, and the winner was named as none other than Studio favorite Fatecrashers, who edged past Bummer and Nastyjungle (the highlighted submissions in the previous issue) to claim victory. We're all anticipating the exciting future of this new opportunity for Studio-goers.
Furthermore, after a long hiatus, the Weekly Spriting Contest has started up once more, under the joint leadership of RitterCat and RODAN. Let's hope it will go from strength to strength and once again become a staple of the community.
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