Art Competition winners: The Return 2021

Every July we invite concept artists from around the world to join our annual Art Competition. For 2021, the theme was “The Return”; what were the interpretations this year? A forgotten project revisited, reigniting ancient magic; a village brave returns to avenge past crimes, while a monster once defeated raises its heavy head for a final dose of terror.

The submissions were judged on creative details and ability to tell a compelling story. With over 360 submissions this year, we were impressed with sheer level of creativity from entrants across the globe who explored many unique ideas and incorporated a strong sense of atmosphere into their artworks.

After much deliberation with the judges, the final six winners exemplified storytelling, creativity and technical acumen. Winners will receive a selection of incredible artist goodies from Adobe, Wacom, Escape Technology, Proko, Sumo Digital, ArtStation, 3dtotal and Photobash.


We are thrilled to announce that first place goes to Kat Talar for this touching forest homecoming. “The atmosphere portrayed in this scene draws me in; makes me want to know more about this story,” says Atomhawk UK Studio Director, Darren Yeomans, “the Atomhawk Art Competitions are a storytelling contest first and foremost and Kat nailed the brief in all aspects. The artwork’s composition works well, supported by beautiful lighting. I’d love to see this as an animated short.”

From all of us at Atomhawk, we want to extend a huge congratulations to Kat!

Kat is now the proud owner of a 1 Year Adobe Stock license, a Nintendo Switch and an Anatomy Skull figure, courtesy of our generous friends at Adobe, Escape Technology, Sumo Digital and Proko. Other prizes include store credit to 3dtotal, ArtStation and Photobash as well as a choice of portfolio review or paintover by an Atomhawk Lead Artist.

Please check out more of Kat’s work at


Second place goes to Svetlana Berezina’s enchanting depiction of unrequited love, or perhaps a love lost? “I was immediately drawn to the style of this image; one of the more unique interpretations of The Return theme,” says Atomhawk Lead Artist, Charlie Bowater, “Svetlana exemplifies composition, lighting and storytelling that invites the viewer to step into the headspace of the heroine.”

Please check out more of Svetlana’s work at


Third place goes to Ted Arfken with this gritty shock moment that looks like it could be pulled right from this summer’s blockbuster thriller flick. “Fantastic composition and framing of the main character along with great mood makes this piece positively terrifying,” says Dario Jelušić, Principal Concept Artist, “Great job Ted! This was a real stand out.”

Please check out more of Ted’s work at


The Hawk’s Choice Award is decided by the Atomhawk team, who have voted for their favourite artworks which nailed “The Return” brief. From all the Hawks, we extend a huge congratulations to Murilo and Alben, joint winners of the Hawk’s Choice Award for their gorgeous artworks.

Among other prizes, they with both receive their choice of a portfolio review or paintover by an Atomhawk Senior Artist, in hopes to help them further their artistic careers.

Please check out more of Murilo’s work at and Alben’s at


Last, but certainly not least, we are thrilled to announce that the winner of the Rising Star Mentorship is Leonardo Ambrosini, who was one of our Honourable Mentions from last year’s “The Adventure Begins” competition. “I really like the overall composition, storytelling and world that Leonardo built, so there is a good artistic foundation,” says Principal Concept Artist, Thomas Stoop, “I’m positive our team can help push the overall design and work on some technical aspects to elevate the work to the next level.”

Leonardo has won an exclusive mentorship with an Atomhawk Senior Artist and a Wacom Cintiq 16, courtesy of Wacom and Escape Technology. Other prizes include store credit to Proko, 3dtotal and ArtStation.

Please check out more of Leonardo’s work at


We were honoured to receive so many great entries for this year’s competition. Overall, the quality was better than ever and it would be amiss to not award some honourable mentions that were standouts from our judges shortlist: Charlotte Kuegler, Jakob Vandenabeele, Omar Gamal Eldin, Lasse, Pedro Ferrer and Noor.


Thank you to the 365 people who entered our art competition this year. We were humbled by your enthusiasm, creativity and ingenuity. We hope you will join us again for next year’s competition!

Please check out more entries with the hashtag #atomhawkreturn on Twitter and Instagram.