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The best way to hone your artistic skill is to practice it, but what happens when you run out of ideas? What do I draw? What should I paint?
Social Media Art Challenges
You’ve probably heard of #inktober. This hashtag started popping up on Instagram and Twitter feeds a couple of years ago alongside drawings people had made. It’s an online challenge started by Jake Parker where every day of October, you’re supposed to create an ink drawing, and post it online with the hashtag #inktober.
I’d guess that’s where it all started, but that’s not where it ends. There’s now art challenge ideas for almost every month of the year. Most of these challenges have art prompts with a different idea for each day of the month (and the prompts usually change every year).
You don’t have to participate in that way though. I prefer to do one painting in that theme for the whole month. I have a day job afterall, and I’d rather end up with a more polished picture than 31 sketches. Also nothing wrong with picking and choosing which sketches you want to do instead of creating them every day. Unless you’re being paid, you should never allow art to become a point of stress for you.
Here’s a list of all the challenges I know about. where possible, I’ve posted a link to the official art prompt list for every day of that month for the current year. There are some unofficial and self prompts that artists publish as well, so if you do a simple online search for ‘faebruary prompt list’ for example, that should net you a couple of ideas.
- #Creatuanary – Invent a new creature.
Official art prompts here: https://www.instagram.com/creatuanary/
- #Faebruary – Draw, sculpt or paint a Faerie.
- #MonthOfLove – Do a weekly art piece around the subject of love
Official art prompts here: https://monthofloveart.com/
- #MarchofRobots – Draw, sculpt or paint a robot.
Official art prompts here: https://chocolatesoopstudio.com/marchofrobots
- #MagicalMarch – Draw, sculpt or paint a magical girl
- #MonsterMarch – Draw, sculpt or paint a monster
- #Mermay – Draw, sculpt or paint a mermaid / mer-person
Official art prompts here: https://www.mermay.com/
- #Kaijune – Draw, sculpt or paint a kaiju (big monster)
- #Junicorn – Draw, sculpt or paint a unicorn
- #JuneBug – Draw, sculpt or paint an insect
- #Julycanthropy – Draw, sculpt or paint a werewolf
- #Smaugust – Draw, sculpt or paint a dragon
- #Pawgust – Draw, sculpt or paint anything with paws
- #Doggust – Draw, sculpt or paint dogs
- #Sketchtember – Sketch (not finished/polished drawings) something everyday
- #Inktober – Do an ink drawing every day
Official art prompts here: https://inktober.com/
- #Drawtober – Do 6 horror related drawings
Official art prompts here: https://www.instagram.com/drawtober/
- #Drawlloween – Draw something for Halloween
Official art prompts here: https://www.drawlloween.com/
- #MonthOfFear – Do a weekly art piece around the subject of fear
Official art prompts here: https://monthoffearart.com/
- #Goretober – Draw or paint a bloody horror piece
- #Catober – Draw, paint, or sculpt cats
- #Huevember – Paint a picture (or do a coloured drawing) using only one hue (but different saturation and values)
Get the hue for each day here: https://huevember.tumblr.com/post/166979874943/huevember-is-back-get-ready-i-used-last-year
- #Slowvember – Create one polished portfolio piece
See more info: https://patriciapedroso.com/slowvember/
- #Dinovember – Draw, paint, or sculpt dinosaurs
- #Drawcember – Draw something daily
Official art prompt here: https://twitter.com/realdrawcember
- #Decemburtonartchallenge – draw, sculpt or paint something in the typical style of Tim Burton
- #Decembird – Draw, sculpt or paint a bird
Art Community Challenges and Competitions
DeviantArt routinely runs art challenges which you’ll find out about if you’re on their mailing list. Most are just for fun and will simply net you a badge for your profile. I’ve seen people post scribbles with the challenge hash tag just to get the badge for participating. That’s a bit sad. Occasionally they also host competitions where you can win something, but win or not, it’ll give you an idea of what to create.
ArtStation’s contests are a lot more serious. Often the judges are industry professionals, even from AAA game studios. The prizes are definitely worth competing for, but the competition is stiff.
Corel often run small competitions where they give away brush packs as prizes. A lot of the entrees tend to be photographs that have been slightly touched up in Corel PhotoPaint, which has always puzzled me, because I can’t see how they can judge something like that in the same category as a paintings. One of their recent competitions had a serious cash prize for the winner, but required all entrants to agree to some questionable terms and conditions, so please read those before entering anything. I’d suggest signing up for the Corel Discovery newsletter to be kept informed of competitions.
If you’ve not heard of it, Proko.com is an absolute goldmine for art lessons, both free and paid. Stan Prokopenko hosts a #ProkoChallenge regularly for a wide range of art disciplines. One time, it will be anatomy, another time book illustration, another time character design, etc. Prizes are pretty decent. The last one I saw had a Wacom One as the first prize. Probably a good idea to sign up for the newsletter.
Create a Series
Another source of inspiration is your own work. Look at something you’ve created that you’re proud of and consider making a series out of it. One benefit is that sets apparently sell better than single works of art. I remember reading that tip from a print on demand service that sells art prints. They recommended sets of 8 incidentally.
For a successful set, you will want to keep the artwork style consistent, but the subject matter, orientation hues, etc, could potentially be quite different, and hopefully that will inspire you to put stylus to tablet.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful, and please don’t hesitate to hit up the comments if you know of some art challenge or competition that should be listed here, or other ways you find inspiration.