Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Art Contest – Midwinter 2013


The theme for the second Norse Mythology Blog art contest is midwinter. During the winter solstice on December 21, those of us living in the northern hemisphere will experience the shortest day and longest night of the year. This may seem pretty early in the season, but it’s really the middle. From this point onwards, the days will start getting longer as we slowly move back towards summertime.

The Yule Goat (1912) by Swedish artist John Bauer

Throughout Northern Europe, there are local traditions that celebrate midwinter. Even though many have been subsumed into Christmas festivities, some of these practices preserve very old rituals. Your goal with your original piece of visual art is to capture the spirit of both midwinter and Norse mythology. Will you draw dwarves sneaking into the house to taste the cooking when nobody’s looking? Odin riding Sleipnir through the snowy city streets while everyone’s asleep? Thor driving his goats through the starry skies at night? It’s up to you!

I strongly suggest doing some reading and research on midwinter celebrations in Northern Europe before you start working on your artwork. Do you know about the Yule Goat? The Yule Lads? Frau Holle? Krampus? Most importantly – can you think of a way to tie these traditions to Norse myth?

If you need some ideas about Norse mythology, browse The Norse Mythology Blog Archive. You can also check out the winners of the Midsummer 2013 Art Contest in the three categories: kid, teen and adult. Most importantly – be creative!


I am very proud to announce the judges for the art contest. Both of these wonderful artists create thoroughly modern works that show great respect for and understanding of the complicated issues in the original Norse myths. In my classes on Norse mythology and religion, I use works by both of these creative illustrators to show how artists who have a deep engagement with the myths can bring out subtleties from the source material in their visual interpretations. The three of us will judge the entries together.

Anker Eli Petersen is an artist and writer from the Faroe Islands who has lived and worked in Denmark for over two decades. He is known throughout the world for the brilliant images he has produced for several series of Faroese postage stamps based on Norse mythology, saga and history. He has translated many texts from Faroese into both Danish and English; his translations of Faroese poetry have reached an international audience through their appearance on albums by the Faroe Islands folk metal band Týr.

Völuspá: The Norns & the World Tree
2003 Faroe Islands postage stamp
featuring art by Anker Eli Petersen

Anker Eli has also written song lyrics himself, including popular songs for children. His translations, articles, art and design are featured on the excellent Heimskringla website. He is gracious fellow, and has responded to my questions about Faroese culture with learned and thoughtful answers. What I particularly love about his art is his ability to render deep meanings from ancient myths in a very contemporary graphic style.

Erik Evensen is an American artist and author well-known to readers of The Norse Mythology Blog; his four-part interview was one of the first I ever did for the website. Erik’s Gods of Asgard graphic novel is a modern classic that presents the major Norse myths as an epic narrative while managing to completely avoid the visual and storytelling tropes established by Marvel’s Thor comic books. I have been known to use the cover’s lineup of Norse gods, goddesses and giants as an extra-credit question on midterm exams for my Norse religion class: one point for each character the students can identify!

The gods, goddesses & giants of Norse mythology – from cover of Erik Evensen's
Gods of Asgard graphic novel. How many can you name? Click image to enlarge. 
Erik’s The Beast of Wolfe’s Bay graphic novel takes a very different approach to ancient material; it retells the story of Beowulf in a modern science fiction setting. Erik’s art has been featured in titles by Image Comics, IDW Comics and many other publishers. He currently teaches in the Department of Design at University of Wisonsin-Stout. You can learn more about his work on his official website.


There will be three winners in each of the following categories:

Kids: Age 12 & under
Teens: Age 13-19
Adults: Age 20 & up


Your artwork entry must:

1. Be on the theme of midwinter.
2. Contain at least one element from Norse mythology.

Note: For the purposes of this contest, Marvel Comics characters are NOT considered part of Norse mythology. Any art with imagery from the Marvel comic books or movies will not be accepted. Please do some reading and research on celebrations of midwinter and the winter solstice, then base your imagery on what you discover about these holidays and Norse myth!

Bonfire from Moominland Midwinter
by Swedish-Finnish artist Tove Jansson


1. Art must be done with crayons, markers, paint, pen, pencil or digital materials.
2. Original art only; no photos or collage.
3. Art must be kid-friendly; no nudity or violence.
4. No copyrighted characters. Let’s leave the Marvel Comics to the professionals!
5. One entry per person, please.


Send an email to Yule2013@live.com that includes the following:

1. Your full name (kids can give first name and last initial)
2. Your age (as of December 18, 2013)
3. Your location (city, state/province, country)
4. A short description of your artwork that explains how it portrays midwinter and what element(s) you have included from Norse mythology
5. Your artwork (as an attachment)

Seriously, don’t forget to include your art as an attachment!


Midnight (Chicago time) of December 13, 2013


Anker Eli, Erik and I will be judging the entries based on creativity and relation to Norse mythology. Do some reading, do some thinking and make something original!

Norse Mythology Online logo features Skaði the giantess
from Erik Evensen's Gods of Asgard

The three winners in each age group will be featured on The Norse Mythology Blog, The Norse Mythology Facebook Page, The Norse Mythology Google+ Page, The Norse Mythology Pinterest Page and The Norse Mythology Twitter Page. Your art and your description of it will be posted on all the many sites of Norse Mythology Online and will remain permanently in the The Norse Mythology Blog Archive.

December 18: Kid winners announced
December 19: Teen winners announced
December 20: Adult winners announced

It’s time to sharpen your pencil and start drawing. Good luck!

1 comment:

LT said...

great blog!! loved the music samples...and tweeted this too!

Next Post Previous Post Home