stI understand, but maybe it would help to spice up with something NEW and exciting. Prizes don't necessarily have to be expensive, but they need to inspire and make the challenges worth the effort. For example: Challenge Title: Japanese Gardens Prize: Winner gets a personalized tutorial on creating oriental PC flowers from you via skype. These contest used to be fun! Make them so again. Just get the imagination juices flowing and don't give up.
Also, a competition needs to compete! Better challenges = better artists = better competition = more challenge = more participants
I apologize for being so critical but I am seeing a loss of inspiration that saddens me. Why? Because when an artist loses inspiration, creating goes out the window, and life isn't as much fun. Plus, I need really inspiring challenges.
FYI: I am not a novice to PC. I started creating with PC way back when it only came in flesh tone and only made by Sculpy. Long before today's PC artists were experimenting, I had already tried just about every technique known today. My friends still call me the "mad scientist of Sculpy". I used anything I could find for tools: Forks, spoons, nut picks, clothes pins and safety pins. I tortured the clay with inclusions of leaves, spices, sand, pebbles, rice, powders, makeup, nail polish, glitter, paint, dyes, and inks. You name it, I used it. I punctured, chopped, diced, and sliced. I made textures and impressions using burlap, yarn, old jewelry, rocks, rugs, string, branches and sticks. I put it in boiling water (I seriously don't recommend trying this), and dipped it in melted wax (don't recommend this one either). No one told me I could do these things and no one told me I couldn't, so I did and it was fun! There were no instructions, no tutorials, and no books with ideas. I formed my own ideas and left it to my own imagination to sculpt (and then sell) fantasy dolls long before they were so popular. By the time PC companies started to branch out and artists were sharing their ideas, I was already bored. Been there, done that. I tried many, many types of arts and crafts over the years, including sculpting with kiln fired clay. But none were as much fun or rewarding as experimenting with polymer clay. It was, and still is, my first love. When I found PC Central I started following your challenges. I created something for many of the challenges. I had no interest in the competition itself nor the prizes. I used the contests as something to challenge myself into making something different and unique. They inspired me out of my boredom.
But as I already said, over time the challenges have become lackluster, uninspiring and boring. They need to be jazzed up. I strongly suggest, and hope, you will go forward, not back, for new and innovative challenges. To do this, you DO need to look back just once... to remember what challenged and inspired YOU to become the artist you are today.