A couple of weeks ago, Clip Studio Paint announced one of their semi-regular illustration contests, with the them “the best smile”. I don’t enter hardly any contests (I can’t remember any, really, unless you count submitting to Spectrum, but that’s not really a contest), but I figured “Plunger Monkey has a good smile…” Shortly thereafter, this image popped into my brain. It was a lot of fun to create, and something I could “noodle” away at endlessly. It really helped me refine my digital comic making workflow, which I just started to employ as I rework Inside Toby’s Brain. I did the whole image in greyscale first, making use of some of my custom paper and pencil textures, then I added color through gradient maps and a hand painted layer. I don’t know that I stand much chance of winning (top prizes include subscriptions to CSP for a few years, money, and I think a Wacomb tablet, though I may be getting confused with another contest that was announced recently), but there’s zero chance if I don’t enter. I learned some things and grew as an artist a little bit in the process, so it was worth it either way.