Since 1996, Young Guns has been an elite portfolio-based competition that takes the profiles of young creative professionals already on the rise and helps elevate them even further. And while the program has made major strides since the days of being jokingly thought of as an award for "extremely talented white designers and illustrators from Williamsburg", there's always room for more diversity.

Enter COLORFUL: A Prelude To Young Guns 19. Ahead of this year's Young Guns competition, we teamed up with acclaimed first-generation Filipinx designer and Young Guns 8 winner Rich Tu to co-found a free portfolio competition and a grant exclusively for young BIPOC creative professionals who qualify for Young Guns — they just haven't entered and won it yet.

After receiving submissions from across the globe, a jury made up of 11 BIPOC creative superstars — all previous Young Guns winners themselves — went over every single entry, grading them not only on the strength of their work but also on how they intend to use the $3000 creative grant, should they win. Afterward, the jury convened to discuss and debate which entrant stood above others as the overall winner of the grant, as well as assemble a class of finalists. The winner and the finalists will all be welcomed to enter YG19 completely free of charge, with the confidence that comes with knowing they've already impressed a jury that knows exactly what it takes to win Young Guns.

COLORFUL: A Prelude to Young Guns 19

Leonardo Santamaria


Leonardo Santamaria is a first-generation Filipino-American freelance-illustrator. He is an honoree of a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators and a Silver Medal from Spectrum Fantastic Art. In addition, ADC, American Illustration, and Communication Arts has recognized his illustrations. The work has been published in varying applications: from editorial pieces for The New York Times’ Disability Series, to covers for NPR’s Invisibilia podcast, and to ad campaigns for Vanguard and The New Yorker. He’s also contributed to motion projects with the animation studio Buck. In 2017, he graduated with Distinction from ArtCenter College of Design. As his career gained momentum, he assisted and learned from established artists and illustrators like Brian Rea, James Jean, Josh Cochran, and Jason Holley. In 2020, he was a finalist for Young Guns. He currently lives and works in South Pasadena, California.

See Leonardo Santamaria's Work




Share To

Follow Us