SHIBUYA PIXEL ART 2021

Entry period

Message

It’s been a year since we hosted the Pixel Art Contest amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. The world is still brimming with anxiety – but although we may be miles apart, this past year has found us looking to pixel art (many from social media) for help in filling the emptiness of our hearts.

This year is our fifth to host the contest, including our test run in the summer of 2017. The contest has now grown to become the world’s largest event where professional and amateur artists from various countries, generations and genres come together. Shibuya Pixel Art is now a place where participants can discover new artwork, learn from each other and create their one and only masterpiece – all because of the simple sign-up rule of posting on Twitter or Instagram with a hashtag.

What is the contest competing against, anyway? This was a question we found ourselves reflecting upon this year. Our answer: it’s a challenge of self-expression. How will you express yourself using pixels within the rules you set for canvas size, colors and style? And will your masterpiece also find a way into someone else’s heart?

This year, all the judges are experienced in pixel art form. They will evaluate each and every artwork as an artist and observer. We have also created the new judges’ award to showcase those that found a special place in the hearts of our judges.

So post with the hashtag #shibuyapixelart2021 and join the challenge – we look forward to seeing your masterpiece.

From the Shibuya Pixel Art Committee

Judges

  • Special judge: Kazuko Shibuya

    I feel my passion for pixel art grow stronger as the number of applicants – both domestic and abroad – increase every year. We also saw a surge in video artwork last year. There is no right way for pixel art; there are countless ways to express it, using however many dots as you like. I look forward to seeing more exciting work this year.

    CG Designer/Art Director, SQUARE ENIX Co., Ltd.

    Creator of pixel art for characters in the “Final Fantasy” series. Known as ”masters of pixel art”, Kazuko captivates fans in his various works.

    • Twitter
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    Kazuko Shibuya

    CG Designer/Art Director, SQUARE ENIX Co., Ltd.

  • Special judge: eBoy

    After last year's impressive submissions, again we are curious about new approaches in pixel art. There are many young artists that have the chance to expand and re-imagine the genre, and we're looking forward to being inspired. This contest is a wonderful event, and we're happy and honored to be a part of it! Thank you!

    eBoy was formed in Berlin by Kai Vermehr, Steffen Sauerteig and Svend Smital in 1997. Since then, the group has collaborated with adidas, PlayStation, Renault and Google among other companies. Recent projects include artwork for the Japanese edition of Louis Vuitton Travel Book and the cover art for Japanese musician Yuzu’s new album, “YUZUTOWN”. New digital tools and media are what spark eBoy’s imagination – they command pixels by working directly on the screen, and their intricate, rich artwork is born through developments in the module system environment.

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    eBoy

    pixelartgruop

  • Special judge: Ou Sugiyama

    I find in pixel art an ultimate beauty of subtraction not unlike haiku and ikebana. There is something very Japanese in the way it is expressed in a simple and restrained form, and how the artwork’s story expands by the imagination of the viewer. I also have a personal history with pixel art – it’s one of the art forms that fills me with nostalgia, as if I’ve slipped back in time.

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    Ou Sugiyama

    Experience Planning Unit, Mori Building Co., Ltd./Director, MEDIA AMBITION TOKYO Institute

  • Special judge: mae

    I am grateful for this opportunity to be part of the judge’s panel this year. There is an infinite number of ways an artist can set the direction of their work. The same goes for pixel art – its appeal lies in the countless ways it can be expressed, with pixel being the common language. I personally hope that artists can look at differences between themselves as personalities, not as a matter of superiority or inferiority, and learn from one another. There are no winners or losers here. I will do my best to create a safe space for all.

    Pixel artist/First prize winner of SPA2020

    Born in 1993 in Kanagawa prefecture, mae is a former elementary school teacher who works on pixel artwork for videos and loop GIFs such as music videos, CD cover art and commercials. First prize winner of Shibuya Pixel Art Contest 2020.

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    mae

    Pixel artist/First prize winner of SPA2020

  • Special judge: Klas Benjaminsson

    To embrace the simplicity of pixel art, with a limited palette and canvas size, is essential for creating interesting pixel art pieces.

    Entrepreneur/Pixel artist, handle name “Prowler”

    Creator of “The Masters of Pixel Art Book” series, Klas is a pixel artist with an experience of almost 25 years.

    • Twitter
    • Twitter
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    Klas Benjaminsson

    Entrepreneur/Pixel artist, handle name “Prowler”

  • Special judge: Hermippe

    I am very honored to be a judge at a contest that has previously given me so many opportunities as a participant. It is a great pleasure to be able to see artwork created by an increasingly diverse group of people from all generations and backgrounds. I look forward to discovering many wonderful submissions.

    Pixel artist/Winner of BAN-8KU Award at Shibuya Pixel Art 2017, first prize and Medicom Toy Award at Shibuya Pixel Art 2018, and second prize at Shibuya Pixel Art 2020.

    Hermippe has provided his artwork for brands such as Uniqlo and adidas as well as for musician Daoko. He shows his work in exhibitions, uses various forms including lithographs, embroideries, drawings, cassette tapes, zines and also works as a VJ.

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    Hermippe

    Pixel artist/Winner of BAN-8KU Award at Shibuya Pixel Art 2017, first prize and Medicom Toy Award at Shibuya Pixel Art 2018, and second prize at Shibuya Pixel Art 2020.

Schedule

Prizes

After a final round of evaluation by the judges, prizes will be awarded based on originality, sociality and story-telling capability.

*Announcement of nominees is planned for mid-August, 2021.
*Winners for first prize and judges’ award will be announced at the ceremony on Sunday, September 19, 2021.

最優秀賞

First prize 1 person

300,000 yen/ Wacom One LCD pen tablet 13/artwork display at Shibuya Pixel Art 2021 exhibition in mid-September, 2021/ broadcasting on Shibuya Scramble Crossing’s QFRONT digital signage in September, 2021/ publication on “Shibuya Pixel Art 2021 Collection Book”/and trophy

優秀賞

Second prize  10 people

Wacom Intous pen tablet/artwork display at Shibuya Pixel Art 2021 exhibition in mid-September, 2021/publication on “Shibuya Pixel Art 2021 Collection Book”/and trophy

Judges’award

Winners of the judges’ award will be chosen from first and second prize winners.

  • Kazuko Shibuya
    Award

    a signed copy of Kazuko Shibuya’s art book,“FF DOT.-The Pixel Art of FINAL FANTASY”; and interview at SQUARE ENIX headquarters

  • eBoy
    Award

    a signed copy of their poster

  • Ou Sugiyama
    Award

    an invitation as creator to the next Media Ambition Tokyo event

  • mae
    Award

    an exhibition of the winner’s artwork as collaborator in mae’s upcoming solo exhibition based in Shibuya

  • Klas Benjaminsson
    Award

    a copy of artbook “The Masters of Pixel Art” published by nicepixel

  • Hermippe
    Award

    an original lithograph using the winner’s artwork *Lithograph...a silk screen printing machine made by Riso Kagaku Corporation from 1980.
    *The Pixel Art Game Award will be replaced by the newly created Pixel Art GIF Animation Award.

Special award

adidas特別賞

adidas Special Award

adidas特別賞

an artwork display at one adidas shop in Shibuya (adidas Brand Core Store Shibuya, adidas Brand Center RAYARD MIYASHITA, or adidas Originals Flagship Store Harajuku) in September, 2021

Category awards

*The Pixel Art Game Award will be replaced by the newly created Pixel Art GIF Animation Award.

Limited Pixel Art賞

Limited Pixel Art Award  4 artwork

Limited Pixel Art賞

awarded to the most artistic work using a limited number of pixels and colors (Must be 16x16 pixels and viewable on Ditoo, Pixoo, Tivoo etc. Please make sure to expand the artwork so it is viewable when posting on social media)
Divoom product(Pixoo Sling Bag)

Analog Pixel Art賞

Analog Pixel Art Award   1 artwork

Analog Pixel Art賞

awarded to the most unique work going beyond the boundaries of digital format (Analog work such as sculpture, painting, drawing, iron beads, embroidery and blocks.)
Assortment of nanoblocks (®), or nanobeads (®) set of 47 colors x 1,000 pieces (47,000 pieces)
* You can choose the prize
* The photograph is an image

Pixel Art GIF Animation賞

Pixel Art GIF Animation Award   1 artwork

Pixel Art GIF Animation賞

awarded to the most captivating, story-telling GIF animation (Must be an animation made in GIF format and posted on Twitter.)
Publication on LINE’s GIFMAGAZINE

Beyond Pixel Art賞

Beyond Pixel Art Award  1 artwork

Beyond Pixel Art賞

awarded to the most original work that redefines pixel, regardless of its format
Exhibition at Shibuya Cast Are in September, 2021

Entry

Requirements

  • Shibuya
  • firework
  • vehicle
  • rainbow
  • flying
    creature

Express one or a combination of the following themes using pixels

Follow Shibuya Pixel Art’s official account on Twitter or Instagram during the entry period and post your work (illustration, animation, movie, sculpture, embroidery, photography, game etc.) with the hashtag #shibuyapixelart2021 and art title.

Entry period

From 12am Saturday, May 1, 2021 to 12am Wednesday, June 30, 2021

*Note that the event schedule may be subject to change.

  • First screening
    mid-July
    2021
  • Final screening
    end of July
    2021
  • Announcement of nominees
    early to mid-August
    2021
  • Exhibition・Award ceremony
    Exhibition
    Saturday, September 18, 2021 (TBC)
    Award ceremony
    Sunday, September 19, 2021 (TBC)

■ Announcement of nominees
*First and second prize nominees and winners of the special and category awards will be announced.

■ Exhibition/Award ceremony
*First and second prize winners will be announced at the ceremony.

Conditions

Applicants may enter the contest regardless of nationality, age, gender, profession or organisation.

How to apply

Follow Shibuya Pixel Art’s official account on Twitter or Instagram during the entry period and post your work (illustration, animation, movie, sculpture, embroidery, photography, game etc.) with the hashtag #shibuyapixelart2021 and art title.

*Please make sure to post with the title of your work.
*Submitting multiple work is allowed as long as they are not the same. Artwork that have been awarded in the past will not be eligible for the contest.
*Do not remove the hashtag #shibuyapixelart2021 until the winners have been announced.

Criteria

The judges will evaluate and choose winners with a focus on the following elements:
●Originality...whether the work is unique and expresses individuality
●Sociality...whether the work expresses its relationship with or poses a question to society
●Story-telling...how well the work reflects the theme(s), and the way it is expressed

Winners

First and second prize nominees and winners of the special and category awards will be announced early to mid-August, 2021. First and second prize winners will be announced at the award ceremony in Shibuya on Sunday, September 19, 2021.

Winners will be notified through direct messaging on Twitter or Instagram using Shibuya Pixel Art’s official account.

Winners are given the opportunity to showcase their work at an event space in Shibuya from September 18, 2021, as well as have them published as part of the artist collection book. These prizes are optional and will be proceeded with consent.

2019年のアーティストコレクションブック

Terms

Please enter the Shibuya Pixel Art contest (led by Shibuya Pixel Art Committee using Twitter and Instagram) only after reading and agreeing to the following terms.
During the entry period from May 1 to June 30, 2021, all posts on social media using the hashtag #shibuyapixelart2021 will be considered as submissions under agreement of the terms.Posts should be deleted if you do not agree with any of the following.

Important notice

・Applicants will be accepted regardless of nationality and location of residence. Prizes will be sent to all locations, both in and outside of Japan.
・Posts from private accounts or those without the official hashtag and/or title will not be eligible for the contest.
・Multiple posts of the same work will be deemed invalid.
・Submissions must be done by the artist themselves, unless they are posted by a parent or guardian on behalf of a child under the age of 13 who is unable to use Twitter or Instagram.
・Any submission through Instagram that does not have the private mode setting turned on, or is uploaded in any way that is considered inappropriate, will be deemed invalid.
・Any work violating copyright, public order and standards of decency, and/or privacy will be deemed invalid.
・If considered to be against the principles of the contest, the committee may ask for the post to be taken down or refrained from being posted without notice to the applicant.
・Applicants are responsible for any expenses that may occur for internet connection and communication when entering the contest.
・All images posted using the contest hashtag will be considered to have cleared all rights related to image rights and copyrights (hereinafter referred to as image rights).
・Shibuya Pixel Art Committee will not be liable for any violations of third party rights including image rights by the submitted artwork.
・Applicants must assume responsibility and base their decision on their own judgement when entering the contest. Shibuya Pixel Art Committee will not be liable for any damages to the applicant, unless it is an outcome of their willful or gross negligence.
・This contest is not supported, approved, operated or affiliated in any way with Twitter or Instagram.
・Note that artwork submitted to the contest may be used for websites, social media, and other media platforms of Shibuya Pixel Art and its sponsors.
・The following actions are prohibited when entering the contest. Submissions violating the following may be taken down or deleted by the Shibuya Pixel Art Committee.
(1) Term violations
(2) Disturbances to the operation of the contest
(3) Actions inflicting disturbance, harm or discomfort to others
(4) Slandering or online defamation
(5) Violations of copyrights and other intellectual property rights
(6) Violations of property, privacy or image rights
(7) Actions deemed by the Shibuya Pixel Art Committee to be against the principle of the contest
(8) Actions deemed by the Shibuya Pixel Art Committee to be harmful or inappropriate
(9) Posting and promoting obscenity, child pornography and child sexual abuse
(10) Information sharing, advertising or soliciting for sales purposes
(11) Violations of public order and morality
(12) Violations of Twitter/Instagram’s terms and conditions and decree
(13) Actions similar to the list above

Disclaimer and other notices

・This contest is run with the utmost care and attention. However, the committee does not guarantee the integrity, accuracy, safety, usability etc. of the information that is offered, the program and services, and all other issues related to the contest. The Shibuya Pixel Art Committee will not be liable for any damages to the users or third parties in case of situations below.
(1) Emergencies such as software/hardware incidents, fires, power outages and damages to internet connection when participating or applying to the contest.
(2) Regular or urgent system maintenance for the contest.
(3) Situations of conflict between users or between users and third parties.
(4) Interruptions, delays or defects in the contest services caused by disturbances from third parties.
(5) Incorrect information sent out by the contest or defects that are not outcomes of willful or gross negligence.
・Shibuya Pixel Art Committee will not be liable for any situations of conflict or damage (both directly and indirectly) that occur to the applicants by participating in the contest.
・Shibuya Pixel Art Committee may change or cancel any part of the contest (either partially or completely) without notice to the applicants. If deemed necessary, the committee will have the authority to change the terms and conditions without notice to the applicants and may take necessary measures to ensure an adequate operation of the contest.

Treatment of personal data

・Shibuya Pixel Art Committee will use personal data collected from users to send notifications, prizes to contest winners and compile anonymous statistics as reference for future contests and events.
・The committee will not disclose or share personal data of winners to third parties that are not affiliated to the event without consent (except when legally required).

Q&A

What is pixel art?

Q.What is pixel art?
A.In general, it is considered as “art created using visible, low resolution dots (pixels), which are the smallest elements forming an image” – however, there is no one correct definition. We welcome submissions that interpret and express the words “pixel art” in unique, creative ways.
Q.What kind of softwares and apps are available for creating pixel art digitally?
A.Below are some of the most regularly used softwares and apps. There are more options available, so we recommend using one that fits you the most.

Aseprite (windows, macOS, Ubuntu + Steam key) / EDGE, EDGE 2 (windows) / EDGE touch (iOS) / Graphic Gale (windows) / Photoshop (windows, macOS) / Pixel Studio (windows, macOS, iOS, android) / dotpict (iOS, android) / Dottable (iOS, android) / 8bit painter (windows, macOS, iOS, android) / PixelTweet (iOS, android) / PIXELAIT PRO (iOS, android) / Divoom (iOS, android)

*There are both free and paid services. Any fees that occur must be paid by the user.
*GIF formats may not be available for output depending on the software/app.
*Please contact the manufacturers for details on the services.
Q.Are there any pixel artwork that can be referenced?
A. Artwork created by winners from our past contests can be viewed on our Archives page.

How to apply

Q.How do I apply?
A. Express one or a combination of the following themes using pixels: Shibuya; firework; vehicle; rainbow; flying creature. Follow Shibuya Pixel Art’s official accounts on Twitter or Instagram during the entry period and post your work (illustration, animation, movie, sculpture, embroidery, photography, game etc.) with the hashtag #shibuyapixelart2021 and art title.
Q.I don’t use Twitter or Instagram. Can I still participate?
A.Applications are accepted through Twitter or Instagram only.
Q.Can elementary school students join?
A.Twitter and Instagram do not allow children under 13 to use their services. Therefore, we accept parents or guardians posting on behalf of their child. For instance, a 7 year old elementary school student won a category award in 2019.
Q.How do I apply?
A. Please check our How to apply page.
Q.I mistakenly posted the same work twice. What do I do?
A.The Shibuya Pixel Art Committee checks all the work, but please delete your post and only submit the same work once.
Q.Can I submit a photo of a hand drawn artwork?
A.Both digital and analog formats are accepted.
Q.How much processing is allowed if working on digital artwork?
A.There is no limitation in processing for all categories apart from the Limited Pixel Art category award.
Q.Do I have to upload the original size of 16x16 pixels when submitting work for the Limited Pixel Art category?
A.When creating with 16x16 pixels, make sure to expand the artwork when posting so that it is viewable. The winner of the category may be asked to edit the original data in order to display it on Divoom.
Q.What is a GIF?
A.A GIF (=Graphics Interchange Format) is a kind of image file format that can display a simple animation on the web. There are various graphic applications that can create and output a GIF, and these can be posted as a loop video on Twitter. You will not be able to put sound effects on a GIF.
Q.What kind of work will be considered for the Pixel Art GIF Animation award?
A.The winner for the category will be chosen from GIF animations posted on Twitter. As of April 1, 2021, there is a maximum limit of 15MB for GIF files that can be uploaded on Twitter.
Q.Can I submit my work on Instagram and still apply for the Pixel Art GIF Animation award?
A.As of April 1, 2021, Instagram does not have the function of uploading GIFs. Please submit your work via Twitter.
Q.How many pixels are required for the Pixel Art GIF Animation category?
A.You are free to use as many pixels as you like. However, make sure to expand the artwork when posting so that it is viewable. The maximum limit for a GIF file when uploading on Twitter is 15MB.
Q.I want the judges to see an expanded version of my GIF animation. Can I paste the link to my original data?
A.Yes, you may link your post to the original data. The committee will check the link if we find the Twitter post difficult to check the details of your work.
Q.Are videos, music, and dance videos allowed?
A.Yes! We welcome all forms of expression.
Q.Can I submit work that has been submitted to other contests?
A.Yes, but we will limit submissions to those that have not won any awards in the past.
Q.Is there a limit to how many entries I can submit?
A.No, you are free to submit however many work as you like.
Q.Can I submit work that has been made a while ago?
A.Yes!
Q.Can I submit collaborative artwork that was created by multiple people?
A.You may, but please submit once through one account only.
Q.Do I have to be located within Tokyo?
A.We welcome all submissions both within Japan and abroad. We also do not require winners to come to Tokyo for the announcement.
Q.Can I submit my work from abroad?
A.We accept all work regardless of the participant’s nationality and location of residence. Prizes for winners will be sent to any locations within and outside of Japan.
Q.Can I repost or submit someone else’s work?
A.We only accept work created by the applicant. If you are using work created by third parties or photos with a human figure as the main image, make sure that you receive consent before submitting your work.

Evaluation process/Announcement of the winners/Prizes

Q.How do I hear about the announcement? How will I be notified of the result?
A. The winners will be announced on our official Shibuya Pixel Art homepage and award ceremony. Winners will be notified by direct messaging on Twitter or Instagram using the official Shibuya Pixel Art account.
Q.How are submissions evaluated?
A.Winners of first prize, second prize and the judges’ award will first be checked for eligibility based on the terms and conditions. The judges will then score each candidate. The final evaluation will involve all judges to decide on the winners. Winners of the special and category awards will be selected with the sponsors, in addition to going through the process above.
Q.Is it possible for an applicant to win multiple awards?
A. If submitting multiple work, it is possible for you to win multiple awards.
Q.Is it possible for one artwork to win multiple awards?
A.Yes, it is possible.
Q.Is it possible for one artwork to win multiple awards?
A.Yes, it is possible.
Q.Who are the judges?
A. Please check our Judges page for details. Note that they may be subject to change.
Q.What are the prizes?
A. Please check our Prizes page for details. Note that they may be subject to change.

Press kit

Please use our press kit for media and reporting.

Sponsor

  • adidas
  • 株式会社アカツキ
  • 株式会社カワダ
  • 株式会社 WiseTech
  • 株式会社ワコム

Media cooperation

  • GIFMAGAZINE, Inc.
  • タイムアウト東京
  • Tokyo Otaku Mode

*Japanese syllabary Order

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