Yesterday I went over some contest entries that couldn't make it into the top 50% - now I'm going to show you some that did!
One of the recent themes was one of those oddly-specific ones that seemed to have been inspired by randomly picked words, or something. Monsters, but done by hand-drawing with crayons. Well, I didn't feel like digging up some crayons and scanning something in, so I just used a crayon-esque brush in GIMP. One of the synergy themes I hadn't used yet was "mad", so I made my monsters angry and used that color scheme.
It garnered 66 votes and came in 75th out of 167. The design I liked best was this one.
Next, the theme was "herb garden." I went for all herbs that are all native to California, using mostly this page as reference. Also, the colors are all from the state flag! Well, except for the yellow, and that's from the "California Welcome Center" sign I've referenced before.
The plants featured here are Tule mint, wood strawberry, miner's lettuce, yerba buena, Western yarrow, alum root, wild ginger, and California sagebrush. I'm pretty happy with how this came out - when I have the time I think I'll put each plant by itself in a repeat. This got 83 votes, but essentially the same relative placement as the crayon monsters due to there being many more entries in this contest. My favorite entries were these two.
Then, the contest was for Rhinoceroses. I used the same set of colors as my jazz design. Thinking that the most signifying feature of a rhino is the horn, I used just heads to try to make a pattern that looks abstract, almost like a houndstooth, from afar, and then resolves into rhinos when you look more closely.
This got 76 votes and placed a little higher, at 88 out of 251. I liked this very cute Mary-Blair-esque damask and these more sophisticated home-dec style rhinos.