$20K Jigsaw Jam

The $20K Jigsaw Jam was an illustration challenge sponsored by True South Puzzle Company in the spring of 2022. Nearly 200 illustrators from around the world pitched ideas—mood boards—for a jigsaw puzzle illustration. 


From the pool of entries True South Puzzle Company will choose 10 illustrators to offer a $2,000 puzzle artwork commission and 5 illustrators to award a $100 Great Idea Prize.

See all the mood boards!


Pitch a MOOD BOARD for a jigsaw puzzle illustration that is SITE-SPECIFIC, has a UNIQUE THEME, and generates MASS APPEAL.

This illustration challenge exposed the creative process and revealed the conceptual development—the research, the sketch, the preparation—that goes into a successful illustration. A great illustration doesn't just happen. A lot of work and thought goes into it before the paint hits the paper—or the pixel hits the program! In this challenge we did not ask participants to create a fully finished illustration. We only wanted to see a "mood board"—also known as a "planning sheet" or "concept pitch."


The 10 illustrators offered a $2,000 commission by True South Puzzle Company to create artwork for a jigsaw puzzle are...

Allie Gibson...

Ally Frame...

Laura Sant...

Eri Iguchi...

Connie Resch...

Erica Ilene...

5 Great Idea Prizes

The 5 illustrators awarded a $100 prize by True South Puzzle Company for creating a really fun concept are...

Congratulations to Stephanie, Jenna, Ksenia, Lori, and Katie! 


True South Puzzle Company
 was founded in 2013 by Susan Taylor in Nashville, Tennessee. With True South, Susan combined her love of jigsaw puzzles, her sense of wanderlust, and her passion for illustration. Her small, creative team shares the desire to showcase the work of independent artisans and feature treasured images of beloved places.

True South is looking for 10 illustrators to create fresh map-themed/site-specific artwork for their 2023 product line! This could be the beginning of a beautiful client relationship. True South often hires the same illustrators repeatedly. Check out the impressive collections by Nate PadavickLucie RiceBetsy Beier, and Scott Schiller.


✔ The busier, the better: lots of interesting imagery engages the puzzlers
 Fun content: each illustration is an chance for puzzlers to connect
✔ Play with scale: make little things big and big things little
✔ Niches: a specific theme is good, but don't make the niche too tight
✔ Permanent features: don't illustrate places that might go out of business
✔ Target Market: define your audience and pitch an idea that relates
✔ Avoid trademarks: companies are protective of their brand



✔ Due Date: 11:59pm EST, Sunday, June 12, 2022
✔ File: 5000px wide x 2500px high, 72 dpi, RGB, JPG
✔ Content: all mood boards must follow the Creative Brief
✔ Age: Only persons 18+ years can win
✔ Originality: Your mood board must be your original work
✔ Entries: Yes, you may submit multiple mood boards!
✔ Keep in mind: Winners may be asked to create an entirely new concept or asked to re-work their sketch to fit a different puzzle size. 


Does it relate to many people?
Concept: Does it have an interesting story/theme?
Inspiration: Does it celebrate a specific location?
Accuracy: Is the content accurate?
Technique: Is it well-executed and engaging?
Typography: Is the type or hand-lettering legible?