Best Art Challenge Ideas in 2021

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One of the hardest things about being an artist or an art student is deciding what to create next. When you’re working on a project, you’re inspired and focused.

But the big problem comes when you finish that piece of artwork, and it’s time to move on. With so many potential ideas out there, narrowing them down can feel overwhelming.

As a result, you can end up demotivated and feel a bit lost. You’ll end up wasting time considering all the options while staring at a blank canvas.

If this sounds familiar to you (and it does to me!), you should consider taking part in an art challenge. 

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What exactly is an Art Challenge?

An art challenge is designed to get you creating art regularly. It will often have specific rules to outline how you can create your art, e.g., which medium you will use.

When you take part in an art challenge, you don’t need to decide every little detail for yourself. Often, the medium and topic are set for you.

So you just need to gather your ideas and start working. Art challenges are a great way to find inspiration and get over your creative block. 

Best art challenges and ideas

What are the Benefits of an Art Challenge?

Beat Decision Fatigue

As we’ve mentioned, deciding what to draw can be tough. Your head might be overflowing with ideas, but you don’t know where to start. 

art challenges - brushes - painting

Or maybe when it comes to creating, your mind goes blank. You think you wait, and – nothing.

An art challenge takes away this decision fatigue by providing you with guidelines. 

Having a daily prompt means that you don’t need to start from scratch. You have an idea to work with, but you can still get inventive and put your own spin on it.

Create a Regular Habit

With consistency, you’ll create a regular habit of creating art. That makes it so much easier to move onto your next project without overthinking things.

Building new habits take time. Without the accountability of an art challenge, you can start jumping back to your old procrastination habits.

But when you’re taking part in an art or painting challenge, it’s a constant reminder to take out your tools and be creative. Every single day. 

art challenges

This doesn’t mean that the artistic challenge should come before all your activities.. Even if you only spend five minutes a day drawing, you can still improve your skills. You’ll benefit from that creative outlet by making it a priority among others.

Learn and Grow

If you want to start using a new medium, an art challenge can be a great introduction. It gives you enough incentive to keep going, and you’ll quickly see your skills improving.

Starting out with something new can feel intimidating. But when you’re taking part in an art challenge, it takes away the need to question yourself or your work.

You just sit down and complete your artwork each day or week. And it’s showing up and putting the time in that will help you grow more confident.

But it’s easy to put off starting something new. Especially when it feels a bit daunting or you doubt your ability.

So if you’ve been thinking about learning watercolor or digital art for instance, consider a challenge. 

It might be the motivation you need to finally learn a new technique. 

The Social & Community Aspect

When you’re creating on your own at home or in your studio, it’s easy to feel isolated. That’s why the social aspect of an art challenge is so valuable.

When it’s possible visite your favorite art gallery to get in touch with real people. You can also contact your favorite artist to seek advice on your challenge.

It creates a sense of community to know that you’re working on the same prompts as other artists. By sharing your work using a hashtag, for instance, you can browse other people’s creations.

It’s a great way to connect with other artistic souls and network. You can encourage each other and even find some inspiration.

There isn’t one popular method, and every artist will respond to a prompt in a different way. So, it’s interesting to see how people tackle the same subject with unique results.

You might even get some valuable feedback from other artists. Working in a vacuum isn’t rewarding, as you don’t get to bounce ideas off other people.

Having that interaction with other creative people is essential! You can also get your artwork in front of more people when you take part in a collective challenge.

The Right Art Challenge for Everyone

There are loads of fun art challenges out there. You’ll find everything from drawing challenges to digital art challenges. 

Some encourage you to draw every day, while others are more low key with monthly art challenges. 

That means you can pick the art challenge that best fits your needs. You might want to think about the time commitment and which medium you want to work in. 

I’ll share some of the best art challenge ideas below! But you can also DIY your own art challenge if you don’t find something to fit your needs.

This solution will allows you to create a customized art project challenge. That way, you can work on specific areas or media that you want to master and have a lot of fun.

I’ve got some tips to get you started if you decide to come up with your own art challenge.

How to Create Your Own Art Challenge?

If you fancy creating your own art challenge, here are some tips you need to get started.

How to create your own Art challenges

Plan Ahead

You’ll want to have everything ready before your challenge is due to go live. Even if you’re only doing it for yourself, having it prepped in advance will make sure it goes smoothly.

I recommend deciding exactly how your challenge will work in advance. That means coming up with the medium, the rules you are going to use

But most importantly, you should also create a system and a process that will set you up for success. A lot of people focus on the goal of the challenge, without thinking about how they will get there. 

If you can create a system that works for you, you’ll stand more chance of succeeding.

Set Goals & Put your System in Place

What do you want to achieve by doing this art challenge? It can be as specific or more general. The choice is yours.

If you want to improve your sketching skills, you might want to do a daily drawing challenge. Or maybe you want to get better at drawing something in particular, like animals or faces.

art challenges

By creating your challenge with a goal in mind, you will stay on track and improve your skills. It will have a tangible effect on your art life, rather than being a way to pass the time.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. Your goal can be as simple as creating art every day if that’s what you need to work on. When you’re struggling to find the time or energy to get creative, that’s a good place to start.

But you’ll need to think beyond just setting goals for the challenge to have a real impact on your life. It’s essential to take action and create a system, as mentioned above. 

That could mean blocking out time on your calendar or getting up earlier. You might need to switch up your priorities to devote more time to your art. 

But having that system will set you up for success! So work out now exactly what that will look like for you. 

Specify a Regular Schedule

You’ll need to decide how often you want to work on your challenge and for how long. It could be a daily, weekly, or monthly challenges, depending on how much time you have.

How long do you want the challenge to last in total? You could run it for 14 days, a month, or even a year. 


Remember that creating a new habit takes time, so a week isn’t long enough. But if you make it too long, it could become overwhelming for yourself and others.

That’s why many challenges run for a month. It’s long enough to build your skills and develop a habit, but without putting people off.

Don’t Overwhelm Yourself

And this point ties in with what we were talking about above! If your challenge seems too hard or unachievable, you won’t feel excited about taking part. 

When you’re choosing the topic, you can first make a google search about it to find some inspiration. But don’t make it anything too difficult. While it’s meant to be a challenge, consider where you’re at right now. Then, consider where you could be in the next month if you work consistently. 

If you’re still a complete beginner, keep it simple. Make it about working on your skills in a fun and creative way. But don’t choose very advanced subjects or images to draw. 

And make it accessible to lots of people by allowing them to decide how long they spend on it each day. If it’s very time-consuming, fewer people will be able to take part.

If you know that you have to spend 1+ hours on your artwork, it can be easy to fall behind.

Another tip is not to stress if you do miss a day. Just pick back up the next day and don’t beat yourself up about it. 

Reach Out to Others

Let other people know that you’re running an art challenge. If you have a social media following or email list, share your plans with them!

You can even ask them for feedback or ideas if you’re not sure what topic to choose. You’ll find out what most people are interested in. That can be useful if you want to reach a broad audience. 

Come Up with a Topic

Having a theme or topic will make your art challenge more cohesive and create a specific appeal. And it should be something that you can get excited about every day! 

If you’re looking forward to the challenge, it will be easier to stick to it consistently.  Here are a few ideas to get you thinking, but feel free to come up with your own!

  • Animals
  • Flowers
  • Famous buildings
  • Iconic locations
  • Faces
  • Eyes
  • Famous people
  • Cartoon characters
  • Forms of transport
  • Food
  • Digital art
  • …and many more!

Decide the Medium

You’ll need to have a medium in mind for your challenge. This will allow you to experiment and grow artistically within that medium.

Some options are:

You can choose any medium you like for your art challenge! Why not challenge yourself to use a new medium and become more confident with it?

Or you could learn some new techniques using your favorite medium. The choice is yours!

Decide What Social Media Platform to Showcase the Artwork

For an art challenge to reach other people, you’ll need to showcase it online. If you have a blog or website, it’s a good idea to write a blog post about it on there.

You can also let your email list know what you’re planning. Your subscribers are your warm audience. You can reward them by keeping them in the loop about the challenge.

art challenges - social media

But you should also choose a social media platform where you’ll post your artwork. Then, other people can take part and share their creations, too. 

Instagram is an excellent place, as it’s such a visual platform.  Facebook is another option to consider. You could even create a Facebook group to allow more interaction with your followers.

I recommend going with whatever platform you feel most comfortable using. You should also keep in mind where your target audience is online.

Create a Hashtag for Your Challenge

If you’ve gone to the effort of creating an art challenge, having a #hashtag is an essential step. 

The specific hashtag makes your challenge more interactive. It lets people know how they can participate, so you can create a little community around a common goal.

It’s also a way to browse all the different art people create as part of the challenge. That makes it easy to repost and support other artists by commenting on their work.

art challenges

10 Popular Art Challenges for You to Try!

Not everyone has the time to create an art challenge from scratch, however. And that’s fine! It can be time-consuming, and you may find that there is already the perfect challenge out there.

If you’re looking to get inspiration, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are loads of art challenges around. 

Whether you prefer drawing, painting, or another medium, there are options for everyone.

So let’s take a look at some of them in this detailed art challenges list.

1. Doodle Addicts

Doodle Addicts is an exciting platform that runs frequent drawing challenges. The prompts are fun and imaginative, giving you plenty of room to get creative. 

These challenges vary the topics and media to appeal to as many people as possible. They tend to be relevant but with new and sometimes surprising ideals. 

For example, creating a self-portrait using crayons for their ‘Draw your #TrueSelfie’ challenge. 

Anyone can take part and upload their artwork from anywhere in the world. Doodle Addicts even offers great prizes to the challenge winners.

If you’re out of ideas, search through their past challenges for some inspiration. There are tons of exciting ideas to get you motivated to create.

You can sign up for their mailing list to find out when they will run their next challenge.

2. Drawcember

Drawcember is similar to Inktober. It could be just what you need for your winter art inspiration! 

Every day in December, create a piece of art based on the daily prompt. It takes all the planning out and allows you to get straight into creating.

It’s a lowkey, fun drawing challenge that anyone can get involved with.

Make sure to share your drawings on Twitter using the #drawcember hashtag. If you tag the team behind this challenge at @realdrawcember, they might even repost your work!

3. 100 Days of Pattern

For any surface pattern designers, 100 Days of Pattern is right up your street! This fun project involves creating a different pattern design every week.

It’s a great way to pad out your portfolio with a broader range of designs. You will also test yourself in new ways while having a lot of fun. 

There are 15 prompts in total, including topics as diverse as floral, Christmas, and love. 

The weekly prompts mean that it’s easy to fit this challenge into your life without giving up too much free time.

Even though the challenge is finished now, you can still take part. It also means that you can go through it as slowly or as quickly as you like!

You can also search through the database to see what other people came up with. With all sorts of gorgeous patterns in every style, it’s a feast for the eyes!

4. 1 Second Everyday

For a slightly different challenge, check out 1 Second Everyday. The idea is to take a short video every day. And as it only takes one second to do, anyone can take part!

You don’t need to think of yourself as a photographer or an artist to participate. There are no requirements other than a smartphone to record the snippet.

Each of these short videos will capture a moment of your day and your life for posterity. Then, you can use the 1 Second Everyday app to collate them all into one video.

The app is super simple to use, and you can edit the video if you like. The result is a gorgeous video that acts like a time capsule so that you can look back over your year.

Because it takes only a second to snap your video, this challenge is accessible. Plus, it’s a perfect way to record special snapshots in time.

You can get artistic or keep it simple. Either way, you’ll be glad you took part! 

5. Spoonflower

Spoonflower is a worldwide marketplace for artists. To create and inspire, it runs weekly challenges. 

You can also vote for the winning submissions. It’s interactive, fun, and rewarding to participate.

Plus, they offer cool prizes! One example is getting your artwork featured on Spoonflower packaging in 2021.

If your artwork ends up in the top 50 designs, there are extra benefits. You can get a 15% commission on any sales featuring your art.

To take part, you’ll need to sign up for a free account. Then, it’s quick and easy to submit your designs. Just make sure that you’re following all the instructions and rules to qualify!

You can also browse past challenges to check out all the gorgeous artwork.

6. Inktober

Inktober is one of the most well-known art challenges, and it’s also very accessible. The idea is to create an ink drawing every day of the month throughout October.

You don’t have to be a professional artist to get involved. The whole idea is to improve your skills and to be creative every day. 

It’s about developing a new habit that’s easy to stick to so that you continue to draw throughout the rest of the year. Because studies have shown that you need to do something at least 21 times to create a new habit that will last.

All you need to get started is a pen and a piece of paper. It’s as simple as that!

Thousands of people take part in Inktober every year. You’ll find images all over social media with the hashtag #inktober. 

There’s a different prompt for each day to give you some inspiration. They can range from concrete ideas like fish to intangible concepts like hope. 

You can get as detailed as you like with it. You could spend as little as five minutes per day or dedicate an hour or longer.

How you take part in this challenge is totally up to you. But it’s always a lot of fun!

You’ll feel part of the wider art community if you share your designs and comment on others’ creations, too. So, it’s a great way to network and make new like-minded friends, too.

7. Instagram Hashtag Challenges

If you’re looking for more challenges, Instagram is the place to be. There are all sorts of challenges, from photography to drawings or paintings.

It’s pretty simple. Usually, there is a theme for the challenge and a specific hashtag to use when posting your artwork.

If you click on the hashtag, you’ll see all the photos submitted by people all over the world. These challenges are a great way to connect creative people, no matter where you are.

And if you’re stuck for ideas, scroll through the hashtag feed. You’ll be blown away by all the different ways people have interpreted the prompt. 


One hashtag challenge to check out is @_aquietstyle. It involves posting a photo that fits with the monthly theme. 

For example, the theme for December 2020 is balance. Each challenge has its own hashtag to keep it tidy and organized. In this case, it’s #aquietstyle_balance.

There are no other constraints as long as it fits in with this theme. So you can have fun, express yourself, and experiment.

Another great creative Instagram challenge is #100dayproject. The aim is to inspire anyone to get creative with weekly prompts. 

It’s all about making art and sharing it with others. This free global project is open to anyone because everyone can benefit from making art. 

8. A Year of Creative Habits

Crystal Moody first created this art challenge back in 2014, and it’s still going strong. It started with simple daily drawing ideas and has evolved over time.


Moody also includes paintings, collages, and multimedia work in her challenge. 

There’s a story behind the project’s inspiration. Moody spent lots of time admiring other people’s artwork. But she didn’t feel confident creating things herself.

When she saw her young daughter’s uninhibited art, she decided to take action. That’s when she began her daily creative habit. 

You can find her daily art on her Instagram account. It’s easy to follow in her footsteps and start your creative habit every day, too. 

9. Sketch Dailies

Sketch Dailies is a simple premise. Isaac Orloff, the challenge creator, shares a character prompt every day.

Then, you go away and create your digital drawing. When you’re done, post it on Instagram with the #Sketch_Dailies hashtag. 

There’s even the chance to get your artwork reposted and reach even more people!

This fun challenge takes away all the decision fatigue of choosing what to draw each day. Plus, it holds you accountable for creating daily art.

If you’re new to digital painting, you can even grab Orloff’s free guide for beginners.

10. Paint Everyday Like You Mean It

If you want to improve your painting skills, this Skillshare class is perfect for you! But it’s more than just a painting lesson. 

When you sign up, you’ll discover how to incorporate your painting into your everyday life.

Then, you’ll complete a painting every day. That’s not to say that you have to spend ages every night in this class. Your painting could take as little as 2 minutes per day if that’s all you can manage.

The real aim is to make painting a habit for you. You’ll learn that you don’t have to be a professional artist to have fun and create beautiful paintings.

Every week, you’ll tackle new techniques and build up your skills. Plus, you’ll get daily emails to keep you on track.

So if painting has always been difficult for you, this challenge/class combo could be what you need!

The Wrap Up

So there you have a list of wonderful art challenges to get you creating! No matter what kind of artist you are, there’s something for everyone.

There’s an art challenge for every type of art, and they can span from days up to a year. 

Or you could create your own personalized art challenge. By following the simple steps above, it’s easy to run a new art challenge that meets your unique needs. 

Either way, taking part in an art challenge will help you to grow and develop as an artist. You will become more intentional about creating art every day. 

Plus, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you improve when you’re consistent in your practice. By taking part in a challenge, you’ll also feel more connected to the wider art community.

So which of these art challenges are you planning to take part in? Are there any challenges you’ve enjoyed that I’ve missed off this list? Let me know in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, Proactive Creative may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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My name is Outmane Amahou, 2D / 3D graphic designer and artist.
I like drawing and painting. I'm an avid reader of books in various fields such as creativity, innovation, and technology.
I have a great appreciation for minimalism in art, design, and life.
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