Retro 51 Tornado Review - Design & Art Contest [2024]

Retro 51 Tornado Review

Congrats go to Sandy H and her winning Retro 51 Art Contest design, "Card Party!" This design will be made into a 2024 limited edition rollerball pen design.

The final design will probably vary slightly from the mock-up you see here. We might add a little glow-in-the-dark, different trim, or metallic accent to the icy blue sky, perhaps? In any case, we'll work with Sandy to bring this pen vision to life.

Thank you to over 900 people who commented and voted on our Google form. And, thank you to the other finalists and everyone who submitted their artwork for this contest. It was fun!

Celebrating the Finalists and Public Voting Process

Sandy H's Card Party was one of four designs chosen as the finalists for this 2023 contest. You'll find all the finalists below. We invited the public to vote on the final four designs and "Card Party" obtained the most votes through social media and the Google form.

Congrats to Alice M for winning the 2022 Retro 51 Art Contest with "Movie Night!"

2022 Retro 51 Tornado Art Contest Recap

Sure to be a blockbuster hit, the Retro 51 Tornado "Movie Night" wraps a screen-printed red and white striped popcorn container design around the tapered pen barrel. Golden popped kernels are acid etched into the polished brass finish. A film reel unwinds down the length of the pen and can also be found atop the knurled twist-top.

Below, you'll find the other finalists from 2022 and 2021. Plus, you'll find the contest guidelines and rules below so you can start brainstorming your own design for later this year.

How does the Goldspot Pens Retro 51 Tornado Art Contest Work?

Zombies! Spaceships! Airplanes! Avocados! Coffee, and more!
Throughout its 30-year history, the Retro 1951 pen company explored a wide range of themes, making pens for all types of interests.

Now, it’s your turn.

For the third year running, Goldspot Pens is hosting a "Design Your Own" Retro 51 Tornado art contest.

All you need is your imagination and the Retro 51 pen design template you see on this page (Download PDF file here). Dream up the perfect Retro 51 pen and make it become a reality. You may use any type of medium (paint, ink, watercolor, pencils, etc) as long as you can digitally upload and e-mail the finished design to us at

Attach the finished art file to your e-mail and use the subject line "Entry for Retro 51 Art Contest."

A couple of guidelines about the artwork:

  • No clipart or AI-generated artwork
  • We advise against using gradients
  • Use only solid colors
  • Crosshatching is ok, but too much and it could lose the quality in printing
  • Keep in mind that your artwork will be scaled down to fit on a pen and that smaller details will be lost.
  • By submitting art, you understand that you do not own the concept .
  • Some concepts may already be in the plans for future us and may keep an entry from being in consideration.

Contest Timeline and Prize Details

We will accept submissions throughout the month of October. On November 1st, 2023, Goldspot Pens and Retro 51 will select the top three submissions. Richard at Retro 51 will convert the artwork into a virtual mock-up to show what the design would look like on a Retro 51 Tornado rollerball pen. Then, we will post all three virtual designs on the Goldspot Pens blog and put them to a vote.

Pen fans will vote on their favorite design they would like to see made into a real Retro 51 limited edition pen. After a week of voting, we will tally the results and announce the winner.

Now, here’s the fun part - the winner will receive the artist’s proof (AP) model as well as the final product in the specific edition number of their choosing. Plus, a $300 Goldspot Pens gift card. The winning pen will become a limited edition available for purchase exclusively through Goldspot Pens in 2024.

If you need inspiration, please feel free to browse our current Retro 51 limited editions and exclusives for ideas. You may also want to look at Retro 51's Popper back catalog to see which themes have already been explored in the past.

Most importantly - have fun creating!

No purchase is necessary to enter the contest. Each person may enter more than one design. The submission deadline is October 31st at 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time. No late submissions will be considered. The submitted artwork must be an original creation and cannot contain any clip art, copyrighted or trademarked properties. The winners are selected at the discretion of Goldspot Pens and Retro 51.

Above, you'll see a digital mockup of 2021's winner "Tangled Garden" by Sandy H. You can find the finalists for 2021's contest in the image slideshow below. Best of luck to you all. Get creative and have fun!

DISCLAIMER - This contest is open for fans to have fun creating art on the Tornado pen with the opportunity for the winner's artwork to be displayed on the Tornado rollerball pen. Unless you are the winner, Retro 51 and Goldspot will not use your art beyond promoting this contest. Please be aware that Retro 51 and/or Goldspot may already be developing similar concepts to be used on future pen designs and that does not entitle you to any compensation or a prize.

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