People who want to channel their “inner nerd” have an outlet, thanks to the Metropolitan Library System's fan fiction and art contest.
The contest was started seven years ago by an anime club that met at the library and has grown to more than 100 entries in the two categories. Fan art includes crocheted Neopets and a tree skirt that was embroidered with the image of anime characters.
Anime are Japanese animated films and television shows.
“The first one we had a really good group and we got tons of really cool and diverse types of arts,” librarian John Hilbert said. “Someone baked a cake in the shape of a cat. We had a tree skirt that ended up winning. It can be any medium as long as it can fit through the door.”
Entries into this year's contest began trickling in this month. Savannah Mitchell went to art school at the University of Oklahoma, and now teaches art programs in the library system. She entered the contest when it began and now helps judge the entries.
“I did it as a way to get myself out there,” she said. “The work is a lot of fun. I enjoy the process quite a bit, but I also wanted to get feedback on my work. Everyone gets a certificate of participation but we try to give them some kind of feedback.”
A good entry combines established characters and art that is developed by a fan.
“Something that is original and doesn't look like it was copied is always good,” Mitchell said. “Novel media is always good. The Christmas tree skirt that won the first year and the cake are good examples.”
The writing portion of the contest also brings in interesting entries. Hilbert said it's not unusual for homemade comic books complete with illustrations to be entered.
“We've had kids turn in entire three ring binders as comic books that they wrote and illustrated,” Hilbert said. “People will mix the characters from a different genre. You'll have Star Trek coming in with Harry Potter. They're really cool and interesting and the writing is usually pretty good.”
Hilbert said entrants are mostly teenagers and those in their 20s and 30s who grew up with Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter and anime, but there are entrants who are older.
“The young people really seem to know the subject matter well, and it usually shows in what they write,” he said.
The contest is sponsored by Atomik Pop, Speeding Bullet Comics and the Scarlet Kitsune Anime Club. Prizes including gift cards, DVDs, books and other items are awarded to winners. There is no entry fee.
Entries will be accepted through 6 p.m. March 17 at the Southern Oaks Library, 6900 S Walker.
For more information on the contest email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 631-4468.