Win Art Contests For Money: A Competitor’s Guide

May 7, 2019 by Displate Artists Team in Art Tips

Do you want to win online art contests for money?

Would you also like to know where you can find the best online art competitions?

The answers you wish to discover are inside of this competitive guide!

It’s full of tips, tricks, and strategies that can help you win any type of art contest.

Aside from advising you on how to swing future art competitions in your favor, we’ll also reveal…

  • How to get contest judges to fall in love with your artwork submissions
  • How to cleverly gain advantages over the artists you compete against
  • Where to find the best monthly art challenges online

We promise that once you complete this guide, you’ll perform better in every art contest you join moving forward.

Most importantly, you’ll have a different and better perspective on how to win them!


Are you ready to claim your future title and become an “Art Contest Champion?”

Read the guide below to make your wish come true and achieve the success you desire!

How To Win Art Contests And Art Competitions

The following list represents the top 10 things you should do to win an art contest.

Read them carefully, as there are tons of golden tips you won’t want to miss out on.

1. Always Read (And Follow) The Rules

Every art contest has its own set of rules and guidelines for contestants to follow.

In fact, there are 4 rules you must pay careful attention to if you want to win.

1. General contest rules will help you check your eligibility to enter the art contest. You’ll also learn what is the specific theme of the art competition, what type of artwork is accepted, and how to successfully enter yourself as a contestant.

2. Artwork submission rules will tell you how many artworks you can enter into the contest, and how to correctly mail or upload your artwork so it gets accepted for review.

3. Voting rules will give you direct information about how your artwork will be judged in the contest and who will do the judging. In most cases, either the general public or a jury panel or art experts will cast the deciding votes on who places and wins an art competition.

4. Timeline rules will give you a clear understanding of when the art contest begins and ends. You’ll also know what day the contest winners will be announced and awarded with prizes.

Following these 4 rules is a no-brainer, really!

However, you’d be surprised at how many people don’t read the rules.

As a result, they waste time by submitting artwork that doesn’t qualify for contest entry or artwork that’s bound to receive low scores of judges.

By taking the time to carefully read through the rules of every art competition you join, you’ll have an immediate advantage over the artist contestants who ignore them.

2. Pay Attention To Entry Fees

You may not want to believe it, but it’s true…

Some art competitions will charge you an entry fee to participate.

(How dare them!)

Unfortunately, that’s not the worst part.

Art contests with entry fees will drastically limit your ability to win, so you should avoid them in most cases — for two good reasons.

1. Your competition will be fierce.

Art competitions that cost money to join will always attract some of the best and most competitive independent artists there are.

In fact, these artists are so good, they’re literally willing to pay and bet their own money that they’ll beat you and win an art competition.

Challenging them for 1st place may prove too difficult if you’re not an experienced artist.

2. Your competition will have an unfair advantage over you.

Some art contests will charge money based on the number of artworks you decide to enter the art competition.

This automatically gives a major upper hand to the contestants with the most cash on hand. 

It’s unfair because artists who enter the competition can simply pay extra fees so judges see 10x more of their artwork versus yours.

As a result, it’ll be 10x more difficult for you to win these types of art competitions.

By knowing about the costs to enter an art contest, you can better determine your odds of winning and come up with an optimal strategy that other competitors won’t think to try.

Last but not least, you’ll also know if entering to win an art contest is worth the money you must pay to participate.

The good news, however, is that the majority of art contests you join will be 100% free!

3. Discover What The Contest Judges Like

The winners of art competitions are selected by the general public or a jury panel of art experts.

Finding out which group holds this power will give you a secret advantage.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to predetermine what type of artwork will impress a general crowd of people at an art contest.

Remember, judges of art contests are just like you and everyone else — they have personal biases and will use them to make decisions.

If you can somehow get the inside scoop on who the judges are and find out what type of artwork they like, you can create artwork that will be more appealing to the contest judges.

Hey — if you want to win badly enough, sometimes you have to get a little creative.

As an artist, you’ll have no problem doing this!

4. Study The Previous Winners

Knowing about the past can help you succeed in the future.

This wisdom applies to win online art contests for money, too!

Before you join any art competition, you should always study a few of the artists and artworks that have won previous contests.

If you do, you’ll discover firsthand what styles and techniques are possibly favored by judges.

Here’s what we mean:

You’ll receive hints about what subject matter, color schemes, and moods are worth trying out.

Studying the winners will enable you to assess your own skill level, make comparisons, and determine where exactly you need to improve.

You can also find opportunities to talk with previous winners who might be open to giving you some insightful tips on how to win an art contest.

Overall, the more information you have, the better.

5. Browse The Contest Organization’s Website

Some artist communities and organizations will host several art contests online.

A good strategy to win these types of contests, like the monthly art competitions by Displate, is for you to browse the artwork that’s featured for sale on the company’s website.

(Hint, hint!)

This strategy will give you a good indication of what type of artwork the contest judges want to see.

Of course, it won’t guarantee that you’ll win or make the short list of runner ups.

However, this strategy will help your artwork get accepted into online art contests and ensure the judges give your submission some serious thought.

6. Stick To The Theme

Art contests should be fair competitions, always!

In effort to make this happen, most contests will require you (and all participants) to submit artworks that revolve around one common theme only.

To give yourself an advantage with themed art contests, you should quickly familiarize yourself with artworks that fit the theme.

It can help you win!

All you have to do is search for keywords related to the contest’s theme using Google Images, Pinterest, or even Displate!

In an instant, you’ll see a full list of artwork related to the theme you’re looking for.

You can study these images and sketch them for good practice.

You’ll also find artworks that’ll inspire you to create your own original work of art — the type of artwork that wins competitions!

7. Get Feedback From Your Peers

Before you submit artwork to a contest, let your friends and family look at it first.

Hearing their constructive feedback will give you a different perspective on the art you create.

To get very honest feedback, you can ask people online to review your artwork for contests, too.

Plenty of online forums, subreddits, and Facebook groups for artists will give you helpful advice!

If you listen to them, you can rapidly improve the overall quality of your artwork and submit a winning piece!

Here’s another reason why you should let others prejudge your artwork for contests:

You can create multiple artworks and ask your peers to rank them for you.

The results you find will help you to submit only the best one(s) that have a shot at winning.

8. Make Your First Impression Count

Art competitions can receive up to hundreds or even thousands of submitted artwork entries.

To make sure your artwork stands out amongst the crowd, you must leave a strong first impression when judges go to examine it.

The cool thing is…

You can achieve this using one simple strategy:

Spend more time than the competition does on creating an artwork submission.

Makes perfect sense, right?

By putting forth a better effort than your competition, you can create something superior.

The contest judges will definitely notice the extra quality your artwork presents.

As a result, they’ll be more inclined to add your name to the short list of potential winners.

You’ll become a real contender.

Enkel Dika – New Idea

9. Do The Wall Test

In order to win an art contest, you should only submit artwork that looks good enough to win.

The only problem is…

There’s no objective way to determine the appeal your artwork will carry at an art contest.

So you’ll need to perform the wall test to ensure you only submit quality artwork that can win!

How the wall test works is simple:

1. Create some artwork you plan to submit to an art contest.

2. Next, mount or hang it onto a wall in your home where you’ll be forced to walk past it several times a day.

3. Leave it up on your wall for 2 or 3 days and take notice of how it looks to you.

4. After enough time has elapsed, ask yourself one question:

“Is my artwork attractive enough to become a wall art decoration?”

If your answer is ‘yes,’ then you should submit your artwork to an online art contest for money.

Judges will probably like it, too!

Louis Ros – I Like You

On the other hand, if you discover that you don’t enjoy the way your artwork looks on a wall…

You can take it as a sign that you should return to the drawing board (pun intended) to create something better for the judges to see.

When you do, you’ll not only create artwork that looks good to you, but you’ll also create something that judges will possibly love and want to award in the contest.

Trust us — the wall test always works!

Stoian Hitrov – Skills

10. Prove You’re Highly Skilled And Talented

Artists who win art contests tend to do so for one big reason:

They deliberately submit artwork that proves they’re highly skilled and talented.

To win an art competition, you must do the same — and be very strategic about it.

For example…

  • If you’re drawing a person, you should draw the person’s entire body to show the judges that you know how to draw with correct proportions!
  • Properly use light and shadows to convey an object’s realistic volume, mass, and depth.
  • Use interesting shapes in your artwork to show judges you understand the composition.
  • Consider submitting artworks that have interesting two-point or three-point perspectives to prove you’re not a one-dimensional artist with limited skill.
  • Add effective colors and mood in your artwork to evoke emotion.

The last example is of special importance. If you can force the people who are judging the art competition to feel something when they look at your artwork, then you’re bound to join the winner’s circle in any art competition you join.

Now that you understand how to win art contests for money…

Get ready.

We’re going to tell you where to find the best art contests online…

Mauricio Saavedra – Win Money

The Best Art Contests And Art Competitions

There’s always an art contest happening somewhere online — the internet’s a big place!

However, they don’t always offer you money or prizes if you win.


Displate will.

That’s right!

When you compete in the free monthly art challenges by Displate, real money is up for grabs!

And lots of it, too!

Displate offers a $2000 to $3000 prize pool for independent artists to win every month!

We also promote our contest winners’ artwork on our website, blog, and social media channels!

It’s a massive amount of free exposure.

Sounds good to you?

Mailbox Disco – A funny green bullfrog

Aside from all of the money, prizes, and the insane amounts of recognition you can get from winning one of our art contests…

Your artwork submissions will also become available for sale on our marketplace, where millions of shoppers go to buy original art online.

So no matter the outcome of Displate’s monthly art challenges…

You’ll always have a great opportunity to earn money as an artist with Displate!

Overall, we think it’s a pretty sweet deal! 🙂

So this begs the question…

Can you win our next monthly art contest?

You can check out this month’s contest theme and submit your best designs to Displate now!

You belong in the winner’s circle!

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