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Expanding Horizons: Art Challenges (Part One)

Welcome to Thalo’s “Expanding Horizons”! In this article series, we will be exploring and discussing topics pertaining to artists that are either cutting edge, underground or under-reported in the creative world. Hopefully these entries will help inspire you to explore new facets of your work and find new ways to make art work for you! 

Expanding Horizons: Art Challenges (Part One: Month-to-Month)

Over the last few years, art challenges have been an incredibly successful way for artists to participate in self-improvement and skill-building while growing their audiences. The beauty of the art challenge is that they are designed to help artists network, collaborate, and be productive while having fun doing so.


The most popular example at present is the thirty-one-day inking challenge Inktober, helmed by illustrator Jake Parker. For the last ten years Mr. Parker helped lay the foundation for a growing trend of short-form themed art exercises for creatives.


The basics for making or participating in an online art challenge is accessible, creative and can help an artist gain better skills as well as a bigger online following. Some of the universal characteristics of monthly art challenges are:


A theme:The theming surrounding an art challenge is important, as it helps give cohesion to the idea and makes it accessible for artists of all types. A theme can bring all participants together to tackle one idea in their unique way. For example, Inktober has a loose theme of “Your work needs to be done using ink.” That is something anyone can do.  A theme can be just as simple or as complex as needed, so long as it is easily understood and replicable.


A way to contribute:It can be as simple as adding a hashtag to your post or posting in a specific group. The accessibility of an art challenge is big help, so artists can focus on producing work instead of marketing it. (However, doing something that helps both is never a bad idea)!


A goal:A goal is massively important, as it helps guide the productivity of your art challenge. And, once more, the simplicity of the goal you have should be heavily considered. “Draw a single thing a day” is an achievable goal, and has enough vague guidelines to allow for interpretations.



Here is a small list of other art challenges that are similar to Inktober in case you want to branch off and do your own! Here is a small list of other art challenges you can participate in throughout the year:

January:Thalo’s very own Art Journal January! The idea behind Art Journal January is to develop your very own art journal for the first month of the year. By the end of January, you should have a journal full of work that you can draw inspiration from to develop your upcoming year’s artwork.  You can read more about this Thalo Original art initiative here.

February:Fan Art February: For every day in February, draw your favorite characters from fiction! Whether done with pencil, pen, ink, acrylic, whatever you want.

March:March of the Robots: This is a sci-fi-themed drawing challenge where participants draw one robot for the month of March. You can read more about this challenge here.

May:Mermay: A fun beginning of the summer art challenge! Draw, paint, or create Mermaids every day for the month of May. You can read more about this challenge here.


Make it your own:Now that you have a small example of the kind of art challenges that already exist, here is your chance to make your own! Whether it is fun or serious, daily or weekly, get your ideas out there and gather artists to make something new!