Aliya Chen’s Winning illustration of Elise Steven’s story Untrained Luck. Chen won the Golden Brush Award. Illustration courtesy Aliya Chen 
By: Cynthia Underwood
By: Stewie the Art Expert Cat, Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 4/8/19 – “The main point of this award is to give these early career artists and writers a leg up in their career” says Echo Chernik, coordinating judge of the illustrators of the contest created by the late L. Ron Hubbard. —of note, he was a major author and supporter of the arts and not only THE Scientology guy. As a cat I gotta about this out as a major red carpet affair.
Echo Chernik. (Photo courtesy: Cynthia Underwood)

I’m Stewie the Art Expert Cat coming to you live from L .Ron Hubbard’s Writers and Illustrators of the Year Black-Tie GALA award ceremony.

Ms. Chernik further elucidated the extent of the award. This award is not simply a big, super revered clear trophy that collects dust on a shelf. When one wins, they are awarded an invaluable week long workshop on the business of how to be an illustrator. Winners are educated on topics such as “how to handle clients”, “how to deal with contracts” and “how to make money as an artist”, among other things. These are things not taught in university but only learned through years of experience.


This major career jump-start award program has enabled past winners to go on to be well-renowned in the sci-fi fiction world and in illustration.

Illustration by Yingying Jiang. (Photo courtesy: Yingying Jiang)

What a fantastic show of emotion on the boy’s face in this winning illustration by YingYing Jiang. And yet, while I’m engaged with the boys expression, it’s the cat who entrances me. This is not simply because I’m a cat too. No. The viewer is sucked into the action by the expression the drawn kitty cat is showing us. As a cat myself, I read intense WANT of the glowing toy. This want is so great that I don’t even notice the untied shoelace waiting to be killed, although, this does add local color to the scene.


The twelve winning artists each illustrated one of the winning authors sci-fi short stories.

In her acceptance speech, Yingying touches on nearly all artists experiences when she says: I’d  like to thank my parents for not panicking when I told them I want to pursue art.

Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director of Author Sevices who, btw, represents ONLY L. Ron Hubbard. (Meowza!) said when asked by my human mom, Cynthia Underwood, what knocked her socks off about this years awards “this is my first year in my 34 years of directing that the winners were so able to eloquently express how they felt about receiving this award”.

Since I’m an art expert, I’m focusing on the art in my article. To read about the author winners please read my human mom’s article here:


Honestly, the only thing missing from this awards ceremony were mice for me to chase.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.