Emerging Artists Contest

The Dream Foundry Contest for Emerging Artists is an annual no submission fees contest with cash prizes! Every year our contest coordinator selects ten finalists from a pool of submissions from artists around the world. Then our pair of judges choose three winners. In addition to their cash prizes, winners get featured at Flights of Foundry, an annual convention where professionals from all over the industry come to discuss all things related to the speculative arts.

You can see a list of past finalists and winners on our Winners Page.

First Place, Monu Bose Prize for Art: $1000

Second Place: $500

Third Place: $200

Submissions are open from 1 April, 2024 through 27 May, 2024. That includes all time zones.


This contest is for artists who are relatively new to paid illustration work for speculative publications in English. To be eligible for this contest, all the following rules must apply to you:

  • You are starting out as a speculative artist—someone who paints or illustrates anything that falls within the Fantasy or Science Fiction spectrum—, and your lifetime earnings for art are $1000 (USD) or less.
  • You have never been nominated for any speculative fiction awards for art (Hugos, Locus, World Fantasy Awards, Ignyte, etc), including fan categories.
  • You have not been published in art industry magazines such as Infected By Art, Spectrum, ImagineFX, etc.
  • You are not a previous winner of the Dream Foundry art contest (previous finalists can submit again).
  • You don’t use any AI program like MidJourney, Stable Diffusion or others to generate art.

Please note that we are trusting you to be honest regarding your own eligibility. We may disqualify any entry that does not uphold the spirit of this contest’s goals, or disrespects its guidelines; such determinations are decided by the Dream Foundry and are not open to debate.

Submission Guidelines

Submit 3-5 pieces for your portfolio. We prefer low resolution jpeg files, but can also accept pdf and docx. Those illustrations don’t need to be exclusive for the contest, and they can have been previously posted on the internet. Please include a title for each of the works, and specify which media you used (e.g. watercolors, mixed media, digital art, etc). If you have an online portfolio or any social media link with your art, please link those in the form.

All entries are final. No revisions are accepted.
No multiple submissions (do not send more than one portfolio.)
No AI generated/DALLE/MidJourney/Stable Diffusion images, under any circumstances.
Entries can be from any country.
All entries must be original artwork (no fanarts). Illustration/painting work only (no collages, photo manipulations, photography, etc).

Please Don't Send

We are looking for speculative (science fiction, fantasy, weird, horror, etc.) themed artwork. Please don’t send us artwork without a speculative element.
Nudity, sex, and violence can be depicted, but should not be graphic. No erotica or gore.
No fanarts, no collages, no photomanips.


Jessica Cheng

A light skinned woman with long dark hair, wearing sunglasses and smiling at the camera while raising her right hand with "peace' fingers. Photo background shows a blue sky, mountains, and hot air balloons.Jessica Cheng is a senior concept designer and art director who aims to construct worlds and stories in which players can lose themselves. She is interested in problem solving and worldbuilding. Titles she has contributed to include Call of Duty Black Ops4, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2019, and Star Wars Squadrons, to name a few.

Most recently she art directed the award winning and nominated first person puzzle game, Viewfinder (2023).

Lauren Raye Snow

A light skinned woman with short dark hair looking down at the camera. She's wearing a white turtle neck, long earrings shaped like swords, and her arms are folded across her chest.

Lauren Raye Snow is an artist and illustrator from San Antonio, Texas. Her work explores uncanny, ambivalent visions, both dreadful and cathartic. She is inspired by the Symbolists and the Pre-Raphaelites, by Catholic and Indigenous icons of Texas, and by works of horror, dark fantasy, and genre-defying dreams in literature, myth, and music.

Lauren is known for her work as Art Director for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA). Her illustrative work has earned her nominations in the Chesley and the World Fantasy Awards.


Grace P. Fong is a Chinese-American author-illustrator whose writing and artwork have appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Apex Magazine, Tor.com, Strange Horizons, and others. Her writing has won an award from FIYAH x Levar Burton Reads’s short fiction contest, and her art  has been nominated four times for the Best Fan Artist Hugo Award, and won the inaugural Ignyte Award in 2020. In addition, she has worked as a narrative designer in tabletop/trading card games (Magic: the Gathering) and video gaming (Palia).


Send all questions to art.contest@dreamfoundry.org


The submission window for the 2024 contest has closed. Congratulations to everyone who submitted!