- Remember that your artwork may be chosen for an exhibition and if so, will be seen amongst other artworks either indoors or outdoors (depending on the venue). Sometimes soft pencil drawings can work, but most often strong, bright colours are best to make your artwork stand out.
- Compositions using simple, bold shapes are the most eye-catching. Think about your composition first – where you are going to place your species on the page and what will the background look like? Do some quick sketches first. You could look at past finalists’ artworks to get a sense of what compositions have worked in previous years.
- Make sure the species you have chosen is identifiable in your artwork. If your species is lost in its surroundings, or very small, or drawn with fuzzy lines in a way that it’s hard to recognise, the judges will not be able to progress it to the finals.
Sometimes the judges get a number of entries that look almost the same, and it’s clear they were copied from the same photograph. None of these will progress to the finals. You can copy (but not trace) the basic form and shape of the species from photographs, but then you have to add your own creative interpretation, so that the finished product is your original work. There is no limit to the materials you can use as long as it is a two dimensional artwork.
- Make sure the species falls within the guidelines – it can be any Australian threatened species. The species could be extinct. Many children draw or paint species that are only native to other parts of the world. Being in a zoo doesn't make them native to Australia. These can’t be accepted no matter how fabulous they look.
- When choosing your species, it helps to find one that isn't very common. It’s not hard to find one that other entrants might have overlooked, as there are nearly 2000 plants, animals and ecosystems under threat in Australia. There may be a prize for Most Unusual Entry. This can either be a very unusual species, or more usually a very interesting and unusual interpretation.
- Think about how to create some dramatic impact. A turtle floating in the sea surrounded by plastic garbage tells us something about why the species is threatened as well. Make sure you keep it simple and direct though – sometimes the face and eyes of the animal says it all.
- You don’t necessarily have to include the whole body of the species in the artwork – it could just be the head or front part of an animal. It just depends what works best.
- Usually there are many less entries featuring threatened plants than threatened animals, and that’s why we will likely offer a prize for Best Plant Entry. Sometimes children think that plants are less interesting to draw, but have a look at some of the past entries and you’ll see how interesting they can be!
- In general, marker pens rarely look good on paper. They don’t allow for subtle changes of tone and emphasis, and look scratchy if they are covering a larger area. Stay away from marker pens for your entry, unless a teacher shows you an interesting way of using them.
- We will accept artworks that are A4 in size, but A3 is our preferred size. It doesn’t matter if it’s horizontal or vertical in orientation, or if the shape is a little different (square, oval or elongated for instance). A2 is the biggest size we will accept for an individual entry.
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