21 Best Drawing Contest Ideas for Students 2023

Unlock your students’ artistic potential and inspire creativity with my curated 21 best drawing contest ideas for students 2023 list. Whether you’re an art teacher, a parent, or a school administrator looking for innovative ways to engage students in artful expression, this blog post is your ultimate guide. 

I’ve carefully compiled diverse drawing contest themes that will challenge your students, enhance their drawing skills, and allow their imagination to run wild. Replete with plenty of ideas for all age groups and skill levels, our list will keep your students’ artistic gears turning throughout the year 2023. So, let’s dive in and explore these exciting drawing contest ideas together.

drawing contest ideas

21 Best Drawing Contest Ideas for Students 2023

Here, I have categorized the 21 best drawing contest ideas under two sections. One is for beginners, and the other is for professionals.

Drawing contest ideas for beginners

#1. Animal Kingdom

Diving into the vast world of animals is a great way to kick things off for beginners. Students can explore drawing anything from common household pets to exotic wildlife. This theme opens the door for discussing anatomy, habitats, and even animal emotional expression.

This can be paired with science or geography lessons in a classroom setting. Imagine a class where students learn about the rainforest and draw some of its indigenous species. It’s a fantastic way to combine learning with creativity!

#2. Seasons Change

The beauty of the changing seasons provides endless inspiration for young artists. Whether capturing the fresh blooms of spring or the icy wonders of winter, this theme allows for a rich exploration of colors and moods.

In addition, students can reflect on the transient nature of life and the environment. It offers a perfect moment to incorporate lessons on climate, weather patterns, and even poetry that describes the seasons.

#3. Under the Sea

The ocean is full of wondrous creatures and landscapes. From mermaids to coral reefs, there’s so much to explore! Encourage beginners to unleash their imagination while also learning about underwater ecology.

You could incorporate facts about marine life, oceanography, and conservation efforts, making the art project a multifaceted learning experience.

#4. Superheroes and Villains

Who doesn’t love a good hero—or villain? This theme can be a big hit, offering a chance to dive into character design, backstories, and even costume creation.

Not only is this super engaging, but it can also be educational. Lessons could include discussions on mythology, ethics, and character development, teaching kids that there’s often more than meets the eye.

#5. Travel the World

Students can draw famous landmarks, traditional garments, or typical street scenes from different countries. This is an excellent opportunity for them to learn about global cultures.

You could tie this into geography, history, or social studies lessons. And why not bring in some international snacks on the day the projects are due?

#6. Storytime

Let’s get a narrative! Encourage students to draw scenes or characters from their favorite stories or books. They can reimagine the scenes or stick closely to the text; the choice is theirs.

This theme could coincide with literature lessons, helping students better understand the plot, setting, and character dynamics. A real page-turner of an idea!

#7. Space Odyssey

The final frontier offers endless possibilities for young artists. Whether it’s astronauts, planets, or galaxies far away, the sky is quite literally the limit.

This theme offers numerous educational tie-ins, including lessons on astronomy, physics, and even the history of space exploration. Houston, we have a project!

#8. Family Portraits

Close to home, this theme can make art truly personal. Encourage students to draw portraits of their family members or depict a memorable family event.

This can be a touching exercise in reflection and opens the door for discussions about family structures, history, and the importance of relationships.

#9. Fantasy Lands

Dragons, castles, and magic spells, oh my! Let the students invent or recreate mythical lands filled with wonder and mystery.

Besides the fun factor, this can prompt creative writing or discussions on folklore and mythology from various cultures. Who knew learning could be such an adventure?

#10. Daily Life

Sometimes, the most straightforward subjects can be the most impactful. Encourage students to draw scenes from their daily lives, be it their breakfast table, school bus, or local park.

Not only does this theme help them appreciate the beauty in the mundane, but it also offers opportunities for lessons on perspective, shading, and composition.

Drawing contest ideas for professionals

#11. Portrait Realism

For more advanced students, portrait realism is the pinnacle of artistic mastery. It requires keen attention to detail, an understanding light and shadow, and superior technical skills.

The beauty of this theme is in its complexity and the exploration of human emotion. It can also be an excellent exercise for those interested in pursuing art as a career or advanced study.

#12. Architectural Wonders

For those with an eye for detail, the world of architectural drawing awaits. From intricate cathedrals to modern skyscrapers, the options are endless. This theme demands precision, understanding of perspectives, and mastery over light and shadow.

And let’s not forget the educational aspect. Students can delve into architectural history, styles, and the role of buildings in social contexts. It’s an art history lesson wrapped in a drawing contest!

#13. Human Anatomy

Talk about challenges! This theme requires artistic skill and a strong understanding of the human body. Students can focus on anything from muscle groups to the human skeleton.

From an educational standpoint, this could be a great tie-in to biology or human physiology classes. Plus, it’s fantastic preparation for any aspiring medical illustrator out there.

#14. Abstract Concepts

Here’s a theme that will make students think. Challenge them to depict abstract ideas like love, despair, or freedom. This pushes them to go beyond the literal and venture into symbolic or metaphorical representation.

This could also serve as a jumping-off point for discussions on art history, particularly movements like abstract expressionism or surrealism. Deep stuff!

#15. Historical Events

Ah, a chance to turn back the hands of time! Whether it’s a significant battle, a moment of social change, or a cultural milestone, history provides a rich tapestry of scenes to recreate.

Besides its educational value, this theme will help students learn to capture emotion and action in a single frame—crucial skills for any aspiring professional artist.

#16. Reimagining Classics

Why not take a trip down art history lane? Challenge your students to recreate or reimagine famous works of art. The twist? They should add their own modern elements or perspectives.

In addition, this theme offers the double benefit of honing technical skills while also providing an art history education. From the Renaissance to Pop Art, the possibilities are endless.

#17. Political Cartoons

For those interested in current events or social issues, a political cartoon contest could hit the nail on the head. This will require artistic skill and an understanding of political and social nuances.

It’s also an excellent way for students to learn about free speech, the role of satire in society, and the power of art as a form of protest or commentary.

#18. Science Fiction and Futurism

The future offers a goldmine of artistic possibilities, from robots to dystopian landscapes. This theme allows students to stretch their creativity while contemplating what lies ahead for humanity.

Additionally, it’s an excellent opportunity to explore topics like technology’s role in society, ethical considerations of future advancements, and the science behind the fiction.

#19. Nature’s Textures

This theme offers a world of possibilities for those who love getting lost in the details. Think of close-up views of tree bark, a leaf’s intricate patterns, or a coral reef’s complex structure.

Also, this theme can serve as a lesson in biology, ecology, or even chemistry as students explore the natural elements that make up these textures. Beauty and education rolled into one!

#20. Collaborative Murals

Why limit the contest to individual drawings? Encourage students to work together to create a large-scale mural or artwork. This promotes teamwork and communication and allows for a diverse range of styles and perspectives.

Moreover, the final product can serve as a lasting reminder of what can be achieved when people come together to create something beautiful. The possibilities are endless!

#21. Food Art

Who says drawing can’t be delicious? Challenge students to create a masterpiece using food as their medium. The options are limitless, from fruits and veggies to baked goods and candy.

This theme also offers a chance for discussions on cultural cuisine, nutrition, and the role of food in art throughout history. Bon appétit! So why not spice up your next drawing contest with some food for thought (and for art)? 

Read also: Competition prize ideas for students

FAQs on Drawing Contest Ideas

How do you start a drawing contest?

Here are some steps to help you get started:

  1. Determine the theme or topic of your drawing contest.
  2. Decide on the age group or skill level you want to target.
  3. Set a timeline for submissions and judging.
  4. Choose judges who are knowledgeable in art and can provide fair and constructive feedback.
  5. Determine the criteria for judging, such as creativity, technical skill, and adherence to the theme.
  6. Promote your contest through social media, school newsletters, or flyers.
  7. Provide clear instructions for the submission of entries.
  8. Display all submissions in a public space for viewing and voting if applicable.
  9. Announce winners and award prizes accordingly.

What should a 12-year-old draw?

There are no specific rules or guidelines for what a 12-year-old should draw, as each child’s interests and abilities vary. However, some popular drawing themes for this age group could include animals, superheroes, fantasy creatures, or landscapes. It’s important to encourage children to explore their interests and creativity rather than prescribe specific subjects to draw. 

What can I draw for the art competition?

The possibilities are endless! Some popular subjects for art competitions include nature, historical events, abstract concepts, and reimagining classics. However, you can also draw inspiration from your personal interests or current events to create something unique and meaningful. Just remember to adhere to the given theme or guidelines of the competition.

What are art competition ideas for primary school?

Here are 10 art competition ideas for primary school.

  1. Draw Your Favorite Animal: Challenge primary school students to draw their favorite animal using different techniques and materials.
  2. Storybook Illustration: Have students illustrate a scene or character from their favorite storybook.
  3. Recycled Art: Encourage students to create recycled art, promoting sustainability and creativity.
  4. Portraits of Heroes: Have students draw portraits of their heroes, whether real or fictional.
  5. Collaborative Mural: Have students create a large-scale mural with a chosen theme.
  6. Cultural Celebration: Ask students to draw artwork representing their culture and heritage, promoting diversity and inclusion.
  7. Cartoon Characters: Challenge students to draw their favorite cartoon characters using different styles and techniques.
  8. Famous Landmarks: Have students draw famous landmarks worldwide, promoting geography and art appreciation.
  9. Imagine a World Without…: Encourage students to use their imaginations and creativity to draw how the world would look without certain things (e.g., colors, technology, music).
  10. Self-Portraits: Have students practice self-expression by drawing self-portraits using various materials and techniques.   

What are drawing contest ideas for adults?

Here are 10 drawing contest ideas for adults:

  1. Life Drawing: Have participants draw from a live model, whether professional or amateur.
  2. Fantasy Realms: Challenge artists to create and illustrate their own fantasy world in detail.
  3. Political Satire: Encourage artists to use their skills to communicate current political issues through satire.
  4. Urban Sketching: Have participants draw their city or town while on location, promoting exploration and appreciation for one’s surroundings.
  5. Surrealism: Challenge artists to create surreal artwork using various elements and techniques.
  6. Family Portraits: Encourage artists to draw portraits of their loved ones from life or reference photos.
  7. Tribute to a Masterpiece: Ask participants to recreate a famous artwork in their own style or with a unique twist.
  8. Caricatures: Have artists draw humorous caricatures of public figures, athletes, or celebrities.
  9. Book Illustration: Encourage artists to create illustrations for a chosen book or story, bringing it to life through art.
  10. Upcycled Art: Challenge participants to create art using only recycled materials, promoting sustainability and creativity. 

Need some more ideas? Here are 20 common topics for you in the below video content.


As you can see, the possibilities for drawing contests are as varied as the students participating in them. From simple themes that promote appreciation for everyday life to more complex concepts that challenge technical and creative skills, there is something for everyone.

By encouraging students to participate in drawing contests, we nurture their artistic abilities and foster critical thinking, collaboration, and a deeper understanding of the world around them. So why not start planning your next drawing contest today? Keep creating and inspiring others through the power of art. Happy drawing!

Julia Nancy
Julia Nancy

I have vast experience arranging online voting contests for hundreds of clients worldwide in the last 8 years. I also helped countless clients to win their online competitions. Here, on royalvotes.com, I am just sharing knowledge from my experiences. If you need any help regarding the online contest, email me at julia@royalvotes.com