The 2009 Eustace Tilley Contest

Eustace Tilley Contest
As I promised in my post about The Many Faces of Eustace Tilley last January, I’m letting you know about the 2009 Eustace Tilley Contest in time to participate if you’re inclined.

Eustace Tilley is the name given to the foppish character drawn by art director Rea Irvin for the first cover of The New Yorker in 1925 (image above, top left). The character has returned for a reprise on the anniversary issue each year and has essentially become the magazine’s mascot.

Last year The New Yorker began a contest in which entrants create their own version of an alternate or updated Eustace, and the winners are featured in a slide show on the magazine’s web site (some of last year’s entries shown above as well as in my previous post). Last year they were also featured in the print version of the magazine, but they don’t mention that on this year’s page about the contest, so I think it’s just online this time.

The contest is only open to residents of the US and Canada (with the exception of Quebec). To enter, you sign up, confirm your registration and then upload your image(s) as a jpg, png or non-animated gif file, ideally 465×633 (must be in vertical orientation).

You can submit multiple entries (up to three, I think). The entries must be received by midnight Eastern Time on January 15, 2009, and the winners will be announced on February 2, 2009.

There’s no particular prize other than inclusion in the slide show of the 12 winners, which will be chosen by the New Yorker’s art editor, François Mouly; and, of course, the fun of creating your own variation of the character.

You can see the submissions to date for the 2009 contest here, the winners of the 2008 contest here, and a Flickr gallery of all 170 entries from the 2008 contest here.

You can also see a gallery of some of the variations on Tilley that the magazine has commissioned as covers from various artists, including Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Roz Chast, Robert Crumb, Anita Kunz, Carter Goodrich and others; and an article about the history of the character by Louis Menand, Mystery Man: The many faces of Eustace Tilley.

I’ll write another article when the contest results are posted in February and we can all see the new round of thoroughly modern Tilleys.

[Via Kottke]


4 Replies to “The 2009 Eustace Tilley Contest”

  1. In reading the fine-print of last year’s “contest”, I was simply appalled at what I found.

    In short, the Conde Nast organization owns ALL work submitted (forever throughout time and space in all possible dimensions, natch), and it will treat that work as WORK FOR HIRE.

    Since no moneys change hands, I find that both legally specious and totally immoral. Rather than featuring Conde Nast’s continuing disrespect to our professional standards, why not start your OWN version of such a contest?

    I did 2 parody pieces, editorials really, after last year’s special contest. But Conde Nast will never own them unless they lose their minds and buy the rights to them…

  2. Thanks, Lee. It’s an important consideration.

    I didn’t read last year’s contest rules in detail, as the contest was already past; but my reading of this year’s rules, perhaps changed as there is no promise to print the winners in the magazine this time, is somewhat different.

    They indicate that the entrant keeps the copyright, but grants the New Yorker unlimited non-exclusive license to use the work in the context of the contest without payment. They add that if they want to use it in another context (bath towels, perhaps) they would pay for that.

    They also own and will not return or acknowledge your entry materials, i.e. the JPEG file you upload.

    What they calm ownership of throughout time space and all dimensions is the rights to the Eustace Tilley character. In other words, if your entry looks too much like their character, you can’t print it on t-shirts and sell it.

    But it doesn’t look to me as though this year’s rules include anything so onerous as to be considered work for hire.

    You bring up an important concern, though, and I would certainly suggest that interested entrants read the Official Contest Rules, particularly the relevant passages in sections 8 and 10.

    Other readers may also want to check out Lee Moyer’s online portfolio of very nice illustration.

  3. The Rang Rasiya Freedom of Expression Art Competition extended until January 21, 2009
    After receiving an overwhelming response , the Rang Rasiya Freedom of Expression Art Competition, a nation wide contest, a venture by Infiniti Film Entertainment has extended the closing date of entries till January 21, 2008. This Art Movement is an endeavor to bring about a socio cultural movement in India and provide a platform for new talent who are passionate about Art.
    The competition is open to all above the age of 18. Entries open till January 21,2008.For participation, log on to .
    For further details contact – Infinity Film Entertainment @ 022- 40742100 or Logon to

  4. The above mentioned contest in India (and limited, I believe to participation from within India) can be entered here.

    While the Eustace Tilley contest is obviously a promotion for the associated magazine, this one (on a much larger scale) is promotion for a film about an influential Indian artist, whose controversial works were taken to court. More info here.

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