Top 10 Art Contest Tips

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today I'll give you my top 10 tips on

entering art competitions both from the

perspective of someone who's entered a

lot of them and from someone who's

judged them stick around won't you


hey art tube well today we're going to

talk about art contests I'm gonna open

up my brain and let you see inside

I just finished judging an online art

show for fine art studio on lines bold

brush July 2018 competition it isn't the

first show that I've judged but as I was

judging it it reinforced a lot of my

impressions from previous shows over the

years we artists will enter a lot of

shows and it's a great way to connect

with the art community and collectors it

looks good on your bio and doing well in

certain well respected shows can really

open the doors to gallery representation

which is just what happened to me after

being awarded a medal at the oil

painters of America's Western Regional

show so there are a lot of upsides to

entering art shows but if you don't have

your straight thinking glasses on it can

be really tough on your pride and ego so

I just want to give you my list of the

top ten ways that I believe you can

improve your odds in an art competition

okay here's my disclaimer these are just

my thoughts on what worked for me and

what I look for when I'm judging an art

show of course every judge is different

and looks for different things sometimes

it feels like you're just gambling and

losing when entering shows but I believe

that if you follow the guidelines I've

given you you'll do better on not only

getting into more art shows but also

placing in the money so here we go tip

number 10 would have to be stand out

from the crowd in my last competition

there were 1840 entries so you have to

do something that's going to get you

noticed paint something that's unique to

you all the same kind of categories you

would expect like portraiture not

still lifes with either fruit or flowers

were popular oh and loads and loads of

landscapes lots of trees one genre

that's always wildly popular uh-huh

wildlife there were lots of dogs and

cats because people loved painting their

pets I mean who doesn't love Snoopy

there were lots of western genre

paintings my personal favorite horses

cattle Cowboys cowboy hats they had your

ocean scenes boats both in the water and

dry dock but there were lots of amazing

abstract and experimental pieces and

some genres I wasn't really quite sure

what it was and my personal least

favorite of all when people feel like

they want to paint their kids just after

they've had their lunch or dinner and

it's smeared all over their face

hopefully that number 9 is just a tweak

if you're gonna paint a scene try and

paint a scene that has a mood to it

manipulate your lighting so that you

make your view or feel something always

much more effective tip number eight

research your judge to see if you have

something that might connect better with

them I'm not saying paint for the judge

but just see if you have an entry that

you think might connect with them tip

number seven is choose your entries

wisely just because you're allowed to do

multiple entries doesn't mean that you

always should if you have one strong

painting and the other one that you're

on the fence about leave that second one

out oftentimes an artist's strong entry

can get eliminated because of a weak

entry that he also entered tip number

six has to do with traditional versus

digital entries and sometimes they're

both in the same show when I'm judging

an art competition I will always give

the nod of a prize to a traditionally

painted piece over a digital painting

and that's if both paintings are equally

successful in my eyes the reason to me

is pretty obvious traditional paintings

are harder to do than digital since

there are no undo buttons and

traditional and there are so many ways

to cover up your shortcomings on the

computer though I would happily give the

nod to a better digital painting over an

inferior traditional painting and I feel

comfortable with that opinion because I

spent the last 15 years of my

illustration career doing digital

paintings and now I make a living with

traditionals so I think I've got a valid

opinion tip number 5 composition the

very first thing I noticed when I

started judging was how 80 to 90% of the

entries are plopped right into the

middle of the canvas we're all in

different places on our artistic journey

and hey I'm as guilty of this as the

next guy but as I was making my initial

pass through the entries the paintings

that always stood out were the ones that

took a chance to be different and gave

my eyes a welcome relief so if you want

to stand out to the judges give

composition more than just the passing

thought tip number for originality beats

the pants off of copying please I can't

stress this enough don't copy another

well-known artists style even if they're

not well known don't copy it and even if

you think your own personal style isn't

as good as your ability to copy another

artists style either because you've

studied with them extensively or you

have all their books and DVDs and you've

worn them out now you might be able to

fool some of your friends for a little

while but other artists and more

importantly collectors will know and not

only that your shortchanging the world

of giving it your own interpretation

rather than just being a copy of someone

else yeah don't be a mini-me

tip number three I would have to say is

show them your mastery of technique so

many artists are just one of the flock

if you have a very unique technique then

you are gonna stand out

you know I can name a whole bunch of

artists who who are great at this and

you know their paintings from across the

room it's one of the reasons why they're

so successful collectors love to be able

to recognize an artist's work just by

glancing at it now these last two tips

are really about I think resetting our

own expectations tip number two is

understand that no doesn't mean never

this is an easy one we're all on our

artistic journey and we're probably not

as good as we're gonna be

so keep at it keep working on your weak

spots you know what they are and keep

trying one of these days that no is

going to be a yes

and the number one tip I don't know if

this is the most important tip or not

but it certainly is important and that's

look you know when you've not done a

great painting so don't let some

stranger dictate how you feel about your

painting I've had paintings that I

thought were the best I'd ever done that

took years to sell while others that I

didn't feel were quite as strong sold

right away so you just need the right

person to come along and connect with a

work to want to give it a forever home

art competitions are just like that

personal taste accounts for so much of

what's get selected so let's say that

you do this amazing painting of a poodle

riding a bicycle on a high wire in the


it's obvious to you that it's destined

to be purchased by a major museum but

the stupid judge didn't even give you an

honorable mention what's wrong with them

well maybe the judge used to be a mail

carrier and every day he got chased by a

wild pack of poodles or maybe their

girlfriend fell in love with a circus

clown and there's when the circus

visited their tab and now any reminder

of a circus makes them break out in a


you just don't know so be gentle on the

judges it's a thankless task and

remember that everyone has their biases

whether conscious or unconscious so even

if you don't get in or if you get in but

don't win that grand prize of the

inflatable Bob Ross statue you've been

pining for there's always the next one

because as we all know art contests are

like relatives after you've won the


they just keep common

too much is that too much all right well

that's about it thanks for watching

thank you to all my new subscribers and

all my previous subscribers I appreciate

every one of you and thank you for

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you down the road