Focused young student participating in a drawing competition

How to Win a Drawing Competition?

Drawing competitions give young artists an exciting opportunity to express their skills, gain recognition, and push their artistic boundaries. Whether you are a seasoned competitor or a newcomer to the world of art contests, the prospect of winning can be both thrilling and daunting.

In this article, we will explore the key strategies and tips that can help you increase your chances of success in drawing competitions. From understanding judging criteria to developing your unique style, we’ll cover everything you need to know to create a winning entry.

Before we go into how, let’s first understand what and why a drawing competition is.

What is a drawing competition or drawing contest?

A drawing competition or drawing contest is an event where participants showcase their artistic skills by creating original drawings based on a given theme, prompt, or set of guidelines.

These competitions can be held in various settings, such as schools, art galleries, or online platforms, and are often organized by art organizations, educational institutions, or community groups.

Participants are usually divided into categories based on age, skill level, or medium, and their submissions are evaluated by a panel of judges who assess the drawings based on criteria such as creativity, technique, and adherence to the theme.

Winners are typically awarded prizes, recognition, or opportunities for further exposure in the art world.

Why do you need to win a drawing competition?

Taking part in and winning a drawing competition can be an incredible experience. I have listed some of the reasons here:

  • It is an excellent way to showcase your talent and creativity to the world. Winning boosts your confidence in continuing to pursue your passion for art.
  • Winners get noticed by the art world. People will start recognizing your name and your work, which can help you with more opportunities.
  • Winners might have new opportunities to participate in art exhibitions, collaborate with other artists, or sometimes even be commissioned to create work.
  • Last but not least, you will get prizes. Winning a competition can mean you can get some prize money, art materials, recognition, etc. Anyway, you will benefit from being a winner.

If you are thinking about participating in a drawing competition, you should go for it. It could be the start of an amazing career journey.    

How to Win a Drawing Competition?

If you want to win a drawing competition, you must create original, visually appealing artwork that showcases your unique style and technical skills.

To make your artwork stand out, pay attention to details and experiment with different techniques and mediums. Also, meet all submission requirements and deadlines and present your work professionally.

I have listed down 10 points which will guide you to win a Drawing Competition:

Familiarize yourself with the competition rules

The first step before participating in any art competition is understanding the rules. A rule is a specific guideline or regulation that you, as a participant, must follow to be eligible and considered for the competition. The competition organizers set the rules to ensure fairness, maintain the competition’s integrity, and align with the event’s overall goals and theme.

Some of the examples of rules are as follows:

  • What is the Theme?
  • What is the age limit?
  • Is there any geographic limitation?
  • How many entries are allowed?
  • Is it an International Competition?
  • What is the deadline for artwork submission?

The above is just an example. You must pay close attention to all the criteria. If you do not adhere to the rules, you may get disqualified. After taking part and doing my best, I was disqualified because I used a different set of art mediums for my painting. So, you must take the time to review the rules carefully.

If the completion is open to interpretation, think of something that catches your eye or something you enjoy drawing.

If it is a themed competition, you have to ensure that your drawing fits within the parameters.

Clarify any doubts or questions

Your next step is to clarify all your doubts about the competition. You should contact the organizers for clarification.

Another best way to do this is to talk to people who have already won similar competitions and who are willing to share their experiences. You must reach them through social media or art communities and learn from their valuable insights.

Many competitions will already have contact information or a support team for any queries.

Do not wait until the last minute to clarify your doubts; this can help you avoid misunderstandings, and you will be in line with the competition’s expectations.

Remember, the key to winning is never to give up and always strive to improve your skills.

Research the Organization Hosting the Competition

One of the best ways to increase your chances of success in winning a competition is to do thorough research about the organization hosting the contest.

Read their mission statement and guidelines carefully to understand what they are looking for and explore their past events and initiatives. When you know the organization’s goals, you will have an idea of what the expectations for the winning entry will be.

What type of Art do they usually promote? Who is their target audience? Tailoring your entry to the organization’s specific preferences significantly increases your chances of success.

If you are already involved in the theme or cause, you must consider how you can align your artwork with its objectives while maintaining your artistic integrity.

Additionally, be sure to follow all the competition rules carefully. Even a tiny mistake could result in your work being disqualified.

Study and Analyze Previous Winning Entries

This is something significant; what you can do is research the previous winning entries or artwork. Some competitions publish their past winners on their websites or social media accounts. You should check the competition website or contact the organizers to inquire about past winners.

You must take a close look at these drawings and analyze them.

This will give you an idea about the type of artwork the judges are looking for.

You must pay attention to the ideas, composition, and subject matter of the winning entries and ensure you emulate these elements in your work for submission.

When you do this, you must keep your unique voice, ideas, and style. Studying past winners will also give you more than an idea, and it can build your confidence in the competition.

Conduct Thorough Research on the Competition Topic

Topic research is critical in competitions. You need to understand the topic inside out, look deeply, and explore various perspectives, contexts, and cultural significances so that your entry has a chance of winning.

The more knowledgeable you are in the topic, the better you can express yourself and create a thoughtful and impactful entry. It would be best if you also stay up-to-date on current affairs. That way, you can see if any current issues align with the competition topic.

For example, if the competition is about environmentalism, you should research current environmental issues like global warming, pollution, climate change, and deforestation. These are the most common topics, and they are very likely to be.

The following are some of the topics covered in 2023 that can help you prepare for what can be the topics for 2024.

  • Climate Change and Environmental Conservation
  • Mental Health Awareness and Well-being
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Sustainable Living and Eco-friendly Practices
  • The Future of Education in the AI World
  • Overcoming Challenges and Resilience
  • The Role of Art in Healing and Self-expression
  • Imagining a Post-Pandemic World
  • Futuristic Cities and Sustainable Architecture
  • Envisioning a World Without Borders

By understanding both the competition topic and these current issues, you’ll be able to create a well-rounded, persuasive entry that stands out from the rest.

Choose the appropriate art materials

One of the most important things to remember is that you should understand what art materials you can use for your competition.

This will ensure that your work meets the competition’s guidelines and stands out from the rest.

For example, if the competition allows for digital submissions, you should use software to help you create high-quality Artwork.

Conversely, if the competition requires traditional mediums, you should focus on perfecting your use of charcoal, pencils, or paints.

Whatever the case, make sure that you are familiar with the competition’s rules and that you are using the best materials possible.

If the competition authorities are flexible and the rules are a bit relaxed, then you should always go for high-quality materials that you are comfortable working with. This will always give you an edge in the competition.

Demonstrate Originality and Impact

Originality is a subjective topic, but it often includes uniqueness, novelty, authentic voice, and transformative qualities. One key aspect of winning an entry is demonstrating originality and impact in your artwork. It would be best if you thought outside the box to be creative and come up with unique ideas.

It would be best if you thought about exploring different perspectives, mixing unlikely elements, or putting a fresh twist on a regular and familiar subject. These often create unique results.

The goal here is to win the competition. You have to create an artwork that captures the attention and leaves an everlasting impression on the judges and audiences. When doing this, you should remember that originality is not reinventing the wheel; it’s about infusing your voice and style into your artwork.

So, always trust your instincts, and let your imagination flow and run wild. Create a piece that truly reflects your unique artistic vision. When your drawing entry has that “wow” factor, it’s sure to make an impact and increase your odds of winning the competition.

Express your Technical Proficiency

Technical proficiency is the knowledge and skills required to perform specific tasks within a particular field or profession. In our case, it is art. Being creative is one aspect; it is equally important to show your mastery of art fundamentals.

Art fundamentals include elements like compositions, perspectives, shadings, and minute details. You should pay close attention to how you use lines, shapes, and values to create texture, depth, distance, and form in the artwork.

Always strive to create clean and polished artwork, which can prove your understanding of the medium and your ability to execute your vision with absolute precision.

When you blend creativity, uniqueness, and technical skills, you can produce impressive artwork that demonstrates your growth as an artist.

Complete a Pre-submission Checklist

Before submitting your Artwork, be it online or offline, you should check the following.

  • Get feedback from someone you trust. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or art instructor, getting an honest opinion about your work can be helpful before sending it off to strangers.
  • Recheck that the art size is as per the prescribed size in the Rules.
  • Recheck that you have used only the medium mentioned in the rules.
  • If it is a painting, ensure it is dried thoroughly and that you have applied the required fixatives.
  • If it is an online submission, you should use a good camera with proper lighting to shoot the image.
  • If it is an online submission, ensure it is in JPEG or any other format per the rules.
  • If you must courier the Artwork, ensure it is appropriately packed with adequate protective gear.
  • Sometimes, the organizers require a written statement or description; take the time to craft a compelling and articulate text that complements your drawing.

These are a few items to be checked prior to submitting your artwork after completion.

Submit Your Work with Confidence

Finally, you have completed your Artwork, and it is time to submit it to the competition. You have put in a lot of hard work and are confident that your piece will win.

Here are a few tips to help ensure that your submission is successful.

If the competition is offline, submit your work well before the allotted time. The organizers may disqualify entries submitted after the allotted time.

If it is an online submission, ensure that you have submitted it well within the date and time.

Triple-check if the address you need to send is complete and has a mobile or telephone number.

Lastly, you must send the Artwork through a reliable courier or postal service in your country.

What are the common mistakes to avoid when taking part in a drawing competition?

When participating in a drawing competition, there are multiple common mistakes that you should avoid to increase your chances of success. These mistakes can start from not following the rules to not presenting your work professionally. Here are seven key mistakes you should watch out for:

  • Not reading or understanding the competition rules and guidelines thoroughly
  • Submitting work that does not adhere to the competition’s theme or requirements
  • Using low-quality materials or not demonstrating technical proficiency
  • Lack of originality or creating work that is too similar to others
  • Poor composition, perspective, or attention to detail in the artwork
  • Waiting until the last minute to create or submit the entry
  • Not presenting the work professionally or failing to follow submission instructions

You should be careful of these common pitfalls and should take steps to avoid them; you, as an artist, can improve your odds of creating a winning entry and making a positive impression on the judges.

How does participating in drawing competitions benefit your artistic development?

When you participate in a drawing competition, you will push yourself out of your comfort zone and be challenged to create your artwork. This process will showcase your technical skills, originality, and conceptual depth, resulting in your artistic development.

Drawing involves researching themes, experimenting with new techniques, and refining your submissions, which helps you grow as an artist. The feedback you receive from judges and fellow participants will provide valuable insights into where you stand in your art career and also your strengths and weaknesses.

Seeing other competition entries will help you discover new techniques, materials, and subject matter that you may have yet to attempt to test.

Putting your work out there for judgment and critique can be scary, but it will teach you to separate your worth from others. Through these experiences, you’ll cultivate greater self-confidence, perseverance, and adaptability that will serve you well in your artistic practice and personal life.

What is the role of creativity in art?

Creativity in art is the driving force behind your artistic journey. It makes you think outside the box, experiment with new techniques, and infuse your unique perspective into your work.

By properly nurturing your creativity, you can produce art that is not only visually striking but also emotionally engaging and thought-provoking, leaving a lasting impact on your audience and creating a winning entry.

How do you find your unique artistic style?

If you want to find and establish your unique artistic style, you should start by experimenting with different mediums, techniques, and subject matter.

It would be best if you drew inspiration from artists you adore but do not imitate them. Embrace your habits, take risks, and trust your instincts.

With consistent practice and self-reflection, you’ll develop a distinctive style that will truly represent you.

Why is networking important for artists?

When you connect with your fellow artists, gallery owners, and industry professionals, you will gain valuable insights, discover upcoming opportunities, and build lasting relationships.

Networking with artists can lead to collaborations, exhibitions, and commissions, helping you establish yourself in the art world and further your career.


Winning a drawing competition is not easy, but it is possible. It requires a combination of skill, creativity, and strategic planning.

I am once again summarizing the headings here: by familiarizing yourself with competition rules, choosing the suitable materials, conducting thorough research and dedicating yourself to the creative process, you can increase your chance of success.

It would be best if you always stayed true to your artistic vision within the framework of competition guidelines and judging criteria. Always be hungry for more competition and embrace every opportunity to learn, grow and connect with other artists along the way.

Irrespective of the results, participating in a drawing competition is a valuable experience that can refine your skills, build your portfolio, and gain exposure in the art world.

Are you still deciding whether you want to participate in the competition for which you are reading this article? I would say grab your pencils, let your imagination soar, create a masterpiece, and express your unique voice to this world.

Good luck.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are some things to avoid when entering a drawing competition?

    Some things to avoid when entering a drawing competition include breaking the rules, submitting work that is not your own, and being rude to the judges. You cannot draw something derogative even if the topic allows for it.

  2. Can I enter a drawing competition if I am not a professional artist?

    You can enter a drawing competition if you are not a professional artist. Competitions usually have different categories, so make sure to enter the one appropriate for your skill level.

  3. What are the judges looking for in a winning entry in a competition?

    The judges are looking for a well-crafted and original drawing that meets the competition’s requirements. They also want to see realistic and creative drawings.

  4. Can I enter a drawing I made previously in a competition?

    It depends on the rules of the specific competition. Some competitions allow you to submit work created before the competition begins, while others specify that all work must be original.

  5. Do I need to include my name on my drawing when I enter it in a competition?

    Again, it depends on the rules of the specific competition. Some competitions allow you to submit your work anonymously, while others require you to include your name and contact information.

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