Illustration of the Year

The Speculative Literature Foundation announces an open call for a piece of original artwork combining fantasy and science fiction themes to be featured as its Illustration of the Year.

OPEN NOVEMBER 20, 2023 – DECEMBER 20, 2023

Award: $750 USD.

Winner announced Early January, 2024.


Artwork will be displayed on the Speculative Literature Foundation’s (SLF) website and social media accounts. Artwork will also be used as a visual element of SLF’s marketing material and swag, including but not limited to, bookmarks, pins, posters, etc., and may be cropped or otherwise minimally altered to fit these different formats. The winning artist will receive $750.00 (USD) and will be announced, along with the selected Artwork, on SLF’s website and in a press release.

This is the SLF’s seventh open call for an Illustration of the Year.

Submissions Open: November 20th
Submissions Close: December 20th
Winner Announced: Early January


  • Each artist (Artist) may submit one (1) Artwork for consideration.
  • The Artwork may be created digitally or by hand.
  • The Artwork may not be created by any AI programs like DALL-E, Midjourney, DreamStudio, and Firefly
  • The Artwork must combine fantasy and science fiction elements and incorporate SLF’s literary focus.
  • The Artwork may not have been featured in any other fantasy and/or science fiction genre prior to submission or pending the announcement of Illustration of the Year.
  • Artwork must be submitted in both jpeg and pdf formats.
  • Aspect ratio must work for the website banner, being at least 1,500 points wide and 400-500 points high.
  • Final resolution for print must be at least 11 inches wide and 300 dpi.
  • Files are limited to 10MB.


  • Artist must represent that the submission is wholly original art and warrant full ownership of artwork. In submitting art, Artist agrees to indemnify and hold SLF harmless with respect to any challenges or claims regarding ownership of the artwork.
  • If chosen, Artist grants SLF exclusive rights to print, publish, display, copy, distribute, and otherwise use the Illustration of the Year for the full calendar year.
  • On January 1st of the following year, the SLF relinquishes exclusive rights to the Illustration of the Year but reserves the right to continue to print, publish, display, copy, distribute, and otherwise use the Illustration of the Year in connection with any materials created during the year in which the Artwork was chosen, for historical purposes, and for an anthology of Illustrations of the Year.
  • For more information or questions about this Call for Artists or SLF, contact us at

Submission Instructions

Please email your submission to with subject line: “YOUR NAME – Illustration of the Year 2024”

In the body of the email please include your name, email address, phone number, name of your artwork (if any), and short bio.

2023 Illustration of the Year

Bala On Her Illustration:

“I have always thought of deep sea and deep space as two ends of a vast unknown; as above so below, compelling depths of boundless beauty that humanity has barely explored a fraction of. To an astronaut the vacuum of space is the frontier of setting sail, and in this piece, I imagine a lost astronaut, an untethered explorer and the awe of getting to hold the miracle of a star in your hands, to be one with the particle of possibility, to swim with the fishes. How long has the cosmic sailor been here? Caught in the undertow of a perennial wave? What lives in that shell of a space-suit? I leave the rest to your imagination.”

About the Artist

Sejuti Bala is a writer and a student of English Literature who spends their time arranging for and taking care of the older stray animals in their neighbourhood. When not busy tending to the whims of their beloved cat, they can be found reading graphic novels with a copy of Ancillary Justice tucked under their arm. They are an avid fan of horror stories with the hope of publishing their own science-fiction graphic novel someday.