Art contests are an incredible way to take your art skills to the next level. Artists are visual and kinesthetic learners. This means that you like to see how something is done and then do it on your own. Art contests are the perfect environment for this type of learner.
Most importantly, they force you to put your skills out in the wild for everyone to see and comment on. While this may sound scary for some, it's a fear everyone has to face at some point if you want to become a professional artist. Now before you dive into your first art contest, there are some good habits to get into to maximize your success.
Read the Rules
This step may sound elementary but it's amazing how many participants overlook the rules at which they will be judged. Every contest will be different in some way but there are some very common rules that are consistent, such as, contest length, subject, number of team members, technical specifics and submission guidelines. So make sure that you read the rules completely and if there is something you don't understand, ask questions until you're absolutely certain.
Establish your Workflow
Knowing how you plan to execute your project is going to help you map out what needs to be done in sequential order. It will help you identify areas that you're unsure of and will also give you some sort of indication as to how much time is needed in each stage. To start out, you may want to create a concept or design silhouettes.
Then you may want to create your high poly models and follow it up with your low resolution model. Once the modeling is finished, you may want to lay out your UV's and begin texturing. To wrap up, you'll probably want to light and render your final submissions. It would also be a good idea to create a schedule in which you want to finish each task. This is a great opportunity to practice time management. To learn more about being more productive, check out this article.
Ask for Feedback Often
Asking for feedback is a crucial part of learning and making your entry the best that it can be. However, there are some guidelines and unwritten rules to asking for feedback. When asking for feedback you need to be specific. Don't just post an image of your work and ask what do you think? It's too broad and most likely you won't get many people to give you feedback.
Instead, ask questions like, "This area on my vehicle seems off, does anyone have any suggestions?" This kind of question invites others to give feedback to a specific problem and can be answered quickly. Also when asking for feedback, don't wait until the last week of the contest.
This will not give you enough time to make the necessary changes. Instead ask for feedback at least once a week. Most importantly, implement the feedback given to you. Asking for advice without taking it is pointless.To learn more about asking for feedback, check out our article here.
Finish Your Entry
Everyone knows that life doesn't stop just because you want to enter an art contest. Things happen and you may not be able to do absolutely everything that you wanted. Make adjustments based on the time that you have and work to finish your submission. Art contests are not just about winning, they're about learning and improving. If you finish your entry, you'll have more information about what to do differently in the next art contest. However, if you do happen to win, that's just a bonus.
Being an artist is all about constant improvement. You should try to learn something new every day. Contests are a really great way to stay engaged with other artists who want to learn just as much as you do. So have fun and strive to learn something new.
Be sure to check out the hundreds of 2D tutorials and 3D tutorials to help push your skills even further and learn vital techniques or if you're ready to dive into a contest right away, hop over to our forums and join in the monthly contest there.