Instagram is one of the most popular social media applications out there. It is a juggernaut of an entity that continues to grow each year. This is mainly because of its core image sharing capabilities. Let’s face it, people love to share their lives online. This couldn’t be more evident for an Instagram artist. I for one can relate and have been more active than ever on this platform. But as an artist, it is hard to figure out what to create on a consistent base. That is where Instagram art challenges come in. Participating in a couple of these challenges can help generate more content on your page which will result in more exposure for potential fans. I highly encourage any aspiring artist to open an account!
The Social Media Art Renaissance
Before looking into these Instagram Art Challenges. Let us take a moment and reflect the amount of great art that is being generated in this digital age. The respect and exposure that these social media artists are receiving are mind-blowing. The growth of the internet has definitely closed the gap between professionals and hobbyist. Back in the 90s, I remembered if I wanted to share some artwork I would have to bring my illustration to school and show it off to my friends. Now I can upload something on Instagram and share it with a fan halfway around the globe. I wasn’t always a supporter of social media, but over time I’ve learned the great benefits of the platform, especially for artists. I can only imagine what the future holds. With that being said, let us look into some of my favorite Instagram art challenges.
Inktober Art Challenge
Inktober is an excellent art challenge for people who are a fan of black and white artwork done in ink. The creator Jake Parker made this challenge in 2009 for himself to get better at using traditional ink mediums. Once he shared his idea on Instagram, his event has become a global spectacle. The rules for his art challenge are simple, create ink based drawings every day in October with minimal use of color. Later he accepted digital inking as a medium.
Jake has been known to generate a list of inspirational words for each day. His word prompts for the art challenge is not mandatory to follow. Even though it is not a requirement to base each drawing on his list of words, the majority of participants will support it because of the challenge.
I discovered Inktober because the people that I follow on Instagram. I’ve noticed a lot of similar artwork created based on the keywords that Jake have suggested for the year. After I favorited a few images from other creators, my discovery feed populated with more Inktober related art. I highly recommend this art challenge for anybody to try. To learn more about Inktober art challenge, please visit www.inktober.com.
Drawlloween Art Challenge
Drawlloween is another daily art challenge based in October. Unlike Inktober, this event has no restrictions on art media but has a defined theme of monster art. Artists who are a fan of Halloween seasoned art will enjoy this calendar event. A lot of Instagram users like to mix both Inktober and Drawlloween in their artwork. Brian Soria created this art challenge and if you want to learn more about the history and rules visit http://drawlloween.blogspot.com.
On a personal level, Drawlloween is one of my earliest Instagram art challenges I’ve participated in. I joined by accident because I was doing my art challenge at the time and the two crossed. I will go into more detail about my art challenge later. However, I did not use the official list of words provided by Brian. But I did create a monster drawing each day in October and used his hashtag #drawlloween.
MerMay Art Challenge
MerMay is another daily art challenge based on the theme of mermaids and mermen. This event takes place in May and is created yearly by legendary Disney animator Tom Bancroft. Tom is best known for his work in such Disney Classics as Beauty and Beast, Alladin, The Lion King, Mulan and many more. The rules for the MerMay art challenge are simple, draw merfolk each day in May. There is no restriction on art media. You can view 2019’s inspirational word list and learn more about this marvelous art challenge on mermay.com.
MerMay is my favorite art challenge because it deals with drawing mermaids. I’ve only participated in MerMay once but will join again for 2019! If you haven’t noticed all of my mermaid art, please explore this website and my weekly art challenge MerMonday at www.mermonday.com.
MerMonday Art Challenge
MerMonday is an Art Challenge I’ve created after I participated in Tom Bancroft’s MerMay 2018. I felt inspired to keep creating mermaid illustrations after the event was over. This challenge is for me to stay busy as an artist and continue with my niche of mermaid art. Like the other creators, I to create a list of inspirational words for me as a guide and to any artist who chooses to participate. MerMonday is a weekly art challenge in which I post a new mermaid illustration on each Monday. My word prompts are broken up Monthly. To learn more about my art challenge and rules visit www.mermonday.com.
Daily Sketch for a Year Art Challenge
Daily Sketch for a Year is an art challenge in which the artist sketches something every day for an entire year. This is by far the most challenging art event on Instagram because one must sacrifice a small portion of their busy lives for this event. Example, if an artist falls ill or goes on vacation, he or she must still draw something to keep the rhythm of the challenge, I know I did.
Point of origin is unknown, many artists adopt this concept for their own personal gain. It has no definite start point but may have ties with a New Year’s resolution. There are no guidelines or rules for this challenge. Each artist who participates has complete control of the art medium and subject matter.
As for me, I’ve participated in this challenge once because I wanted to practice drawing with my left hand because my dominant right-hand at the time was giving me too much wrist pain. This challenge was a way to rehab my right-hand by using it less so it could heal. I felt if I used my left-hand more and balance my body I wouldn’t suffer as much. Of course, I took other measures to aid my right-hand and nurse it back to health. Keeping one’s health in check is imperative. As for the daily sketch challenge, I managed to complete a whole year of left-handed sketches plus an extra day because of leap year. In total, I ended up with 366 left-handed drawings. As stated earlier, my personal challenge overlapped with Drawlloween because I was sketching Halloween themed monsters with my left hand.
Draw This In Your Style Art Challenge
This is one of the newest art challenges on Instagram that has sparked a crazy amount of popularity. I don’t remember who started this trend first, but it has been on fire since 2018. Multiple hosts run their version of this art challenge because it is used as a milestone achievement in terms of the number of total followers.
The artist running the event will provide a piece of their artwork in which they designed. Usually, they are head or bust illustrations of an original character. The rules are simple for this art challenge, participants are challenged to create their own version of the artwork provided. Some artist hosts will have strict rules such as color palettes and other stipulations. While most artists are more lenient of the participant’s interpretation.
This art challenge is a great way to increase followers on Instagram. Especially if you are the artist who is hosting the challenge. Majority of the artists running this type of art challenge also run it as a contest for another artist to gain more exposure. The prize is to have his or her artwork posted on the hostee’s gallery page. Also, participants who enter will get a mention on the hostee’s story timeline. Not all artist hosts provide this time of exposure, be careful to read the rules before investing your time to these challenges.
I have participated in many of these “Draw This In Your Style” art challenges. I have found these challenges the most helpful in gaining organic followers on Instagram because each artist has their own unique hashtags. I highly recommend these challenges to any artist who is seeking more exposure.
Draw This In Your Style Tips
Few words of advice are to be careful about which artist’s design you want to redraw. Pay attention to how many followers each host have.
If the artist has a low number of followers, the least amount of influence he or she has on Instagram. The positive is the likely hood of the host featuring your work is high. If the host has a large following, the likelihood of your work being mentioned to his or her story or post is low. With a high frequency of artwork to the art challenge’s hashtag, it can be overwhelming for the host artist to manage. A good rule of thumb is to participate in a “Draw This In Your Style” art challenge with a high follower count with a low amount of artwork for the custom hashtag.
If the hashtag has more than 1000 images, it is best to avoid because of the saturation of participants. From my experience, I can say that a suitable medium of followers and participants is the best choice if you want to gain followers or likes for your artwork. Of course, if you like the host design immensely, you can still create your own version. Content is still content, even if you do not get acknowledged by the host.
Your Own Art Challenge
You can go do your own art challenge and create rules for it. Find a creative niche that other people might enjoy. If you want to run a successful art challenge, you must have a large following on Instagram. The more followers you have, the more likely your art challenge to be successful. Who knows maybe you might be the next Inktober, MerMay or Draw This In Your Style challenge. Don’t be afraid to join art challenges or run one of your own.
Lastly, If you want more followers, you must be consistent with the material you post on Instagram. Being technically good helps a lot too. Practice your craft and be unique!
Let me know at the comments below which one is your favorite art challenge. Instagram has tons of art challenges from great artists, let me know if you have a recommendation for me to check out and possibly participate.