The World Illustration Championships 2023 were record breaking for many reasons; 6 x (ex/reigning) IWS Champions featured in the lineup, the introduction of pundits into our live streams, launch of a new world-class Art-Sports website and the induction of King TROU (this year's DIGITAL World Champion) into an elite club of players feat: Alex Solis (@alexmdc), IMRIE (@createdbyimrie) and Lawrence H Burns (@lawrence.hugh.burns) all of whom now have 2 x IWS Major-League titles under their belts.
The ever present threat of King TROU (@kingtrou) across both IWS Classic & Digital leagues (and now carrying a win percentage-rate just short of 80%) continues to unsettle opponents. His unique style and risque narratives almost always impress both judging panels and fans alike, and as one of the most composed players on the circuit, his temperament and expansive skillset were showcased once again as ‘Fight Night Friday’ got underway.
Day 1 / Round 1 saw TROU get stuck-in Vs newcomer and promising Australian talent, Baked Lab (@bakedlab). With immediate effect they got to grips with HUFFPOST headline: "Simon Cowell Names The 'Real Catalyst' That Led Him To Seek Therapy". It soon became clear Baked Lab had the requisite firepower to combat TROU as he quickly depicted a naked, melting, lantern jawed Simon Cowel devouring the remains of boyband One Direction! TROU's response was equally leftfield portraying a TMNT inspired 'Krang' freeing himself from the confines of Simon Cowel's cranium and going on the rampage, while it’s super-producer host lay collapsed in the background. Despite a solid effort from the exciting Aussie prospect TROU won edged both the social vote and judges scorecards he closed out the battle 43 V 39.75.
Into the quarter finals, TROU sized up his next opponent; a hugely capable EEZUONE (@eezuone) - noticeably improved since his debut in 2022.
Grappling with HUFFPOST beauty: "Putin Welcomes Kim Jong Un At Cosmodrome Amid Aligning Interests" EEZU kicked things off using his bold graffiti inspired style and cleverly compiling Putin & Kim Jong Un locked in a knowing handshake during a tour of the Russian Cosmodrome. Both leaders closely resembled their actual appearance with the North Korean dictator even sporting the ‘Kim Skin Fade’!
TROU appeared to be in fantastic form as he crafted one of his most impressive digital entries to-date, taking the headline in a typically leftfield direction, TROU'ism took centre stage as fans were treated to a spectacular HE-MAN'esque composition. Kim Jong Un illustrated as a rotund and joyous 'Battle Cat' with a muscular Putin sat atop, brandishing his Power Sword, unamused as his HE-MAN wig slips-off in the wind, all set against a red/black Communist backdrop. As TROU closed out the social vote by a whopping 76% V 24% (one of the biggest social vote margins at this tournament) scorecards wrapped in TROU's favour @ 44.5 V 41.25.
The semi-finals presented a tantalizing matchup as reigning Digital World Champion Alex Solis (@alexmdc) prepared to dispatch TROU in a hotly contested clash.
HUFFPOST Headline: "Truck Spills 5 Million Bees Onto Road, Beekeepers Save The Day" would be the backdrop for the contest as Alex, in impervious form after two fantastic Rnd 1 and QTR Final entries once again geared up. Both players immediately got to it, constructing mayhem infused set-pieces. Alex focused on a bustling bee inundated centrepiece, while TROU (knowing he’d need to perform) pivoted to his brilliant best. Depicting a toppled honeycomb shaped tanker complete with honey spillage and a ‘Baloo inspired’ bee-keeping bear bursting into the foreground and wielding a giant straw he narrowly took the social vote and pipped Alex across Personality, Interpretation and Narrative judging criteria. Taking an unexpectedly comfortable win against the former World Champ the final scores tallied @ 45.5 V 42 as TROU progressed.
Into the final and IMRIE, (@createdbyimrie) appeared to be in formidable form, the 2 x UK Champion (DIGITAL), securing his spot in the final after an impressive and hard-fought Semi-Final victory Vs reigning Masters Champion (DIGITAL) Killer Napkins (@killernapkins), not ot mention an earlier Round 1 dispatching of tournament favourite REIQ (@reiqinstagram).
With the customary 60min preparation time between Semi-Final and Final TROU V IMRIE kicked off as they looked to crack the Final HUFFPOST headline: "Almost 'No One On Earth' Escaped Global Warming In The Last 3 Months".
Both players opted to include otherworldly beings as their protagonists, IMRIE depicting a fire breathing Godzilla and nicely animated/illuminated plume of fire set against a backdrop of smokey buildings and flailing characters. TROU (possibly anticipating IMRIE might focus on a time consuming animation) began producing a piece packed with narrative as he visualised an alien family (presumably, previous inhabitants of Earth) in their flying saucer escaping their flaming homestead. This charismatic composition from TROU showed a spaceship adorned with additions and paraphernalia including a bottle of SPF 200, sunglasses and fluffy dice!
As the 60 minute battle closed out, TROU scored slightly higher across Personality and Narrative judging criteria while also winning the social vote 51% V 49% - a rarity considering IMRIE's highly engaged fanbase but testament to a discerning group of viewers, increasingly enthralled by what IWS players produce in just 1 x hour. Final scorecards wrapped @ 43.5 V 41.
Once again a special congratulations to King TROU the World Illustration Championships 2023 (DIGITAL) Winner and now one of only 4 x IWS players to have won 2 x Major-League titles.