Lara Emilie Wieser
Have you ever heard about art challenges?
Maybe you have wondered about hashtags such as #ourplanetweek or #folktaleweek, or heard people talking about Inktober, or art prompts?
In today’s post, I am going to explain what art challenges are, why I love them and share with you some of my favourite ones.
What are art challenges?
Let’s get directly to the heart of the matter: art challenges can take many forms, but they usually include prompts (or themes) to be used as inspiration for creating art. The prompts are often words or sentences, but they can also be colour palettes, inspiration boards, and much more.
Some of these challenges last only a few days, others are longer. Some have prompts every day, others every other day, or one prompt for each week. They take place on social media and include a hashtag so participants and other people can see what was created. The hosts of the challenge sometimes share some entries, and so do other participants.
Taking part is free, the rules are usually quite flexible and there are sometimes prizes to win, although this is not often the case. In other words, art challenges are FLEXIBLE and FUN!
Draw this in your style challenges are a specific type of challenge where artists paint or draw something and invite other people to redraw the piece in their own style. It is great fun and a very good exercise. I love taking part! A quick note however, be careful about copyright issues if you participate in some!
Why every creative should take part in art challenges
As a creative, taking part in such challenges can be very beneficial for several reasons:
It enables you to create a collection of works that go together well.
The use of prompts makes the blank page problem less likely.
You can connect with other artists, discover great artworks and get your work seen.
You might create things you wouldn’t have come up with on your own thanks to the prompts.
It might challenge you and lead you to create better art, because some of the prompts might be very inspiring to you while others will get you out of your comfort zone.
It might be good if you tend to procrastinate, as you have something close to a “deadline”
If you haven’t found your style yet, it might be a good way to develop it.
It can be a good opportunity to explore new media or try outnew software.
It can help you create a routine and be creative regularly for a certain amount of time (and, who knows, maybe you’ll keep up after the challenge).
You can grow as an artist.
The dangers of art challenges
You have probably guessed by now that I love art challenges. However, when taking part for the first time (and the following times too, I guess), there are a few things that could go wrong. Here are a few pieces of advice to help you make the most of the experience!
The extent of art challenges varies a lot and some can be a little overwhelming. While it is good to push yourself to create, it must remain fun and forcing yourself to draw a very detailed artwork every day might get a bit stressful.
Try and choose a challenge that works given you other obligations and your schedule (e.g. if you work full time, you probably won’t be able to work 4-5 jours on a piece every day)
Adapt the rules to suit you: maybe only choose a few of the prompts (and do the other ones once the challenge is officially over or don’t do them at all), maybe work on sketches only… you decide!
The first time I took part in Inktober, for example, I decided I would only spend 45 minutes per prompt, which helped me keep up. In last year’s Folktale Week, I chose a few prompts. This year, I decided to do them all, but since I wanted to work on fully detailed illustrations, I worked at my own pace and I still have two illustrations to finish off, even though the challenge is officially over.
The fact that such challenges are taking part on social media can be good, but gaining followers and visibility should not be your main goal, because you might be disappointed and won’t make the most of it. Remember - the worth of your art is not measured by your following!
Don’t compare yourself with others. With all the participants working on the same prompts, it might be tempting to spend too much time looking at the artworks created and never get started on your own… or to decide everyone else’s art is better than yours.
Don’t copy or get heavily influenced by other artists - if you’re worried it’s going to happen without you noticing, don’t look at social media until you have finished working on a prompt!
Interact with others and be as authentic and real as you can - this might not bring you as many followers as randomly commenting on each entry you see, but it will be a lot more valuable!
My favourite art challenges
Another important thing when taking part in a challenge is choosing something that interests you! Remember you are going to use your creativity to work on it for some time, so what is the point if you are not excited about it?
The number of available challenges is amazing, but sometimes it may be hard to choose between them. While I love art challenges, I think it is also important to work on personal projects and I therefore try to limit myself to a few I really like rather than try to do them all.
So… here are a few of my favourite ones:
Our Planet Week - created by Asia Orlando, it is focused on the environment and usually takes place in March or April.
Folktale Week - focused on folktale, it takes place in November each year and is hosted by many very talented artists. Check out the official Instagram account.
Jehane’s Twelve days of Christmas - created by Jehane, it takes place in December and includes one prompt every other day. And it is starting soon!
Powerful Women Week - hosted by several brilliant artists, it usually takes place in April or May @artyguava @whistleburg @weronika.salach @carinalindmeier @elimartinez.studio @_maggiestephenson_ @petrabraunillustration @tarnellisart @mirjamdeuiter @studiolisa
Inktober (Ink) - probably one of the most famous art challenges, taking place in October each year. Originally, it was all about ink drawing, but people now use many different media and many people create their own lists of prompts.
30 Flowers in my Style (Pattern Design) - created by Lucía @Deinki, it consists of one floral prompt each day in September. The original idea was to create patterns, but some people simply draw them.
Un printemps / un automne au Japon (Watercolour): this challenge was created this year and included a spring and a fall version. The hosts proposed a theme and the participants could either interpret it the way they wanted or reproduce the watercolours made by the hosts. Aurélie @tamaya_art, Jenni @jenni_avec_un_i, Sarah @sarahs_artventures, Vi @les.instants.de.vi et Véro @alice_et_jo
If you want some inspiration, you can check out Anna Galitskaya’s Instagram account: she makes an amazing list of challenges at the beginning of each month!
Lets’s get creative!
So, what are your thoughts on art challenges? Are you ready to take part? Which ones will you choose?
If you have taken part in some already, what are your favourite art challenges? In which ones have you already taken part?