SFS Introducing

 For full details of our 2021 Sketch For Survival Competition – formerly SFS Introducing – please Click Here


SFS Introducing 2020

Thank you to everyone who supported SFS Introducing 2020 – it’s been a record-breaking year.

Entries came from all over the world – China, South Korea, Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, Brazil, Iceland, Dubai, Qatar, Turkey, Tanzania, South Africa and most countries in Europe. The youngest contributor was just 6 years old and the oldest was over 80. We received more than 650 artworks.

Many thanks to all the artists for their support.

To view the SFS Introducing 2020 finalists, and the artworks short-listed by our panel for this year’s awards,  please click the tiles below. Finalists are selected from all submissions received by our selection panel led by Gary Hodges. In 2020, 100 artworks were selected from the Wildlife category and 10 from the Wild Space category. Finalists have their artwork included in our exhibition tour. Their artwork is auctioned alongside our Invitational collection, with all the proceeds going to our project fund.

A selection of artworks are shortlisted for the SFS Introducing Wildlife 100 Artist of the Year, and the SFS Introducing Wild Space Artist of the Year award.

**No artwork is wasted. Artwork submitted to the Introducing competition but not selected for the exhibition/auction collection is available to purchase in our Affordable Art Gallery with the profit supporting our projects. Thank you. **

SFS Introducing 2020 Submission Guidelines

SFS Introducing 2020 in a nutshell:

– There are two categories: Wildlife and Wild Spaces;

– Anyone can enter;

– It is free to enter;

– The closing date is 30 June;

– 100 finalists will be selected by our expert panel led by Gary Hodges. These are exhibited on our exhibition tour and are sold via online auction in aid of our projects;

– Finalists are eligible for our annual awards which include the People’s Choice Award, an award voted for by the public; The Artist Award, chosen by the editorial team of The Artist magazine and the Wildlife 100 and Wild Spaces Artist of the Year awards, selected by our panel;

– No artwork will be wasted – those submissions not selected for the exhibition collection/auction will go into the Sketch for Survival Affordable Art Gallery to be sold in aid of Explorers Against Extinction projects.

Keep up-to-date through our exclusive Artist Area. This free login zone gives the latest updates as the campaign develops, info on the tour and projects + priority booking to preview evenings, events and shows. You receive a Sign-Up link to this from the ‘Confirmation of Submission’ page  after you’ve submitted your entry to the competition.

For full submission guidelines please see below.

**Submission guidelines for 2021 will be announced in January.**


By submitting an artwork you will be helping to make a stand against extinction – you will help us to raise awareness about threats facing wildlife and wild spaces while also helping to raise funds for conservation.

All artwork submitted will be displayed in our online gallery and pop-up stores and will be available to purchase in support of our nominated Explorers Against Extinction projects.

As well as supporting conservation, for the 100 finalists there are additional tangible benefits:

– the 100 finalists, as selected by our expect panel, will have their artwork displayed at the prestigious [email protected], on London’s South Bank. This is a fantastic opportunity for your work to be showcased alongside established professional artists and celebrity supporters. In 2019 these included Emily Lamb, Sophie Tea, Emma Bowring, Karen Laurence Rowe, Gary Hodges, Clive Meredith, Dame Judi Dench, Levison Wood and Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

– the 100 finalists will have their artwork auctioned online, helping to raise funds for conservation

– the 100 finalists will be eligible for  awards (see Awards below) and have the chance to be featured in press releases about the charity


The competition is open to professional, amateur, hobby and student artists. You can live anywhere in the world.

If you are under the age of 16, a parent/guardian/teacher should write a note of consent – please include this with your artwork.

Please read these submission guidelines carefully first.

To enter, simply follow the link on this page to complete your submission form.

You will be asked to attach a good quality jpeg of your completed artwork (please ensure the file size is no greater than 1 MB).

You should then post your artwork clearly including your name and address to:

SFS Introducing, Lower Farm Barns, Happisburgh, Norwich, NR12 0QQ, UK.

Once received you will get an email receipt from us to the email address used on the submission form.

Click here to view our Online Submission Form (opens in new tab).

Your entry must be an original signed two-dimensional piece.

There are two categories within the competition:

  • Wildlife

The main focus should be an endangered species.  Last year we enjoyed great variety from sloths, tigers and pangolins to polar bears, elephants and rhinos. You can depict one animal or several, as you choose.

To qualify as endangered they must be categorised as Vulnerable (VU), Endangered (EN), Critically Endangered (CR) or Extinct in the Wild (EW) on the IUCN Red List (visit www.IUCNredlist.org and use their species search).

  • Wild Spaces

Your image should depict an at risk landscape/seascape (from anywhere in the world).

For example, a wood or forest, a coral reef, mountain range, coastline, wetland – any wild space threatened by environmental factors such as a global warming or by human activity.

All submissions to SFS Introducing must be unframed/unmounted and A4 or A3 in size (A4: 21 cm by 29.7 cm; A3:42 cm x 29.7 cm). Artworks can be up to an additional 2cm in width/length but please note this additional area will not be visible once mounted/framed in our reusable exhibition frames.

For unusual mediums/materials/two dimensional shapes such as circles, artwork will be accepted so long as pieces are in the size range A4 to A3 and are ready to hang (e.g. box canvas).

All artworks must be original (photocopies, prints or photos of work are not accepted). All mediums, techniques and styles are welcome. As well as paper and canvas, we accept artwork on any flat base – we have had metal, stone, wooden panels and elephant dung paper in the past. Sorry, no sculptures.

Digital art is accepted but must be printed to A4/A3 size as outlined above and be signed by the artist on the front. Unsigned/digitally signed pieces will be disqualified.

Some artists send 26-minute sketches, while others submit more complex (studio style) artworks. All are accepted and will be judged side by side on their artistic merits including originality, accuracy, composition, skill and impact.

Professional artists in our invitational collection can submit custom sizes. However in the Introducing collection there are several reasons for specifying set sizes:

1.We use reusable exhibition frames to display the 100 finalist’s artwork – this cuts down on plastic and packaging and helps our exhibition display look consistent.

2.Having two set sizes gives us a level playing field and allows us to more fairly evaluate the merits of one artwork against another during the selection phase – this would be more difficult to do if we were comparing a huge artwork with a tiny one. Having a range of sizes would also increase the challenges we already face when hanging the exhibition at different venues.

3.Our initiative is all about raising awareness about species extinction and habitat loss while raising funds for projects – we champion affordable art – feedback from regular supporters and buyers tells us that A4 and A3 artworks are very desirable as they fit into homes more easily than huge artworks and are more likely to be purchased spontaneously.

4.Large artworks take considerable time and money for the artist to produce and transport – since these artworks are donations to a charitable cause we felt the A4 to A3 size range was most appropriate.

To give some idea, last year in the invitational collection the Emily Lamb (A3 size artwork) sold for £1,400 in the online auction; in 2018 the A4 Nick Park watercolour sold for £4,400. In the Introducing collection Sally Taylor (A3) sold for £750 and Shirley Lu (A4) £600.

One work per category per artist.

We are accepting submissions until Tuesday 30th June. (This has been extended from 30th May to allow more delivery time in the wake of the Corona Virus crisis.)  Should entries arrive after this deadline they will only be accepted if the postmark is Monday 29th June or earlier. During peak times (the last week of June!) it may take us a little while to process the artworks and send an email receipt to you – please do be patient.

Before sending your artwork to us please ensure you have completed and submitted our online Submission Form, and have included a digital image of your work. You can access this form by clicking here (opens in new tab).

Once this form has been successfully submitted,  your completed artwork should be posted, no later than 29 June 2020 to:

SFS Introducing, Lower Farm Barns, Happisburgh, Norwich, NR12 0QQ, UK.

Please write your name and the name of your artwork clearly on the back of the piece so we can cross-reference it with your entry form. If you are under 16 please include a note of consent from a parent/teacher/guardian.

After the submission deadline, all pieces will be judged by a panel of leading artists, including:

Gary Hodges is the UK’s best selling and most collectable wildlife pencil artist. He has been a judge for the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year Awards since 2008 and has won numerous awards in his own right.

Alison Nicholls lives in the US and is well-known for her field sketching – using pencil, ink and watercolour to quickly capture Africa’s iconic wildlife on paper. She leads Art Safaris for Africa Geographic, is a Signature Member of Artists for Conservation and the Society of Animal Artists and is a member of The Explorers Club and the Salmagundi Club in New York City.

Sevina Yates is a landscape and wildlife artist who has won the Wild Places category in the David Shepherd Artist of the Year Awards four times in the last eight years. Working primarily in acrylic she strives to translate into paint the sublime moments experienced in the high Alps – the moment the light strikes, the clouds obscure and the snow falls.

Sara White and Robert Ferguson, founding trustees of Explorers Against Extinction will complete the panel.

The panel assess many different elements including artistic skill, originality and creativity, accuracy, overall composition and impact.

The results will be announced on the Explorers Against Extinction website on Friday 28 August.

The 100 finalists will join the touring collection and be auctioned online together with our Invitational Collection. This online auction concludes on Sunday 15 November, the day the Oxo Gallery Exhibition finishes.

All other entries can be viewed and purchased in aid of Explorers Against Extinction projects via our Sketch for Survival Art Gallery online from 5 September 2020. Some artworks will also be available to view and purchase at our pop-up stores during our autumn tour, including [email protected] and the Royal Geographical Society.

Your piece will still contribute to the campaign – artwork not selected for the tour will be available to purchase in the Sketch for Survival Art Gallery online from 5 September 2020 in aid of Explorers Against Extinction nominated projects. Artworks are sold both online and at our pop-up stores during our autumn tour, including [email protected] and the Royal Geographical Society.

Unfortunately we are unable to return pieces. If your artwork is not selected as one of the 100 and you do not wish to support our conservation projects through the Sketch for Survival Art Gallery then please include a stamped addressed envelope with your original submission.

Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020.

Five artists will be shortlisted for the award with the panel deciding the winner. All five shortlisted artists will be invited as our guests to our autumn event at the Royal Geographical Society in London on 12 November where the winner will be announced. The winner will also receive a £250 voucher from GreatArt art suppliers.

Wild Spaces Artist of the Year 2020

Five artists will be shortlisted for the award with the panel deciding the winner. All five shortlisted artists will be invited as our guests to our autumn event at the Royal Geographical Society in London on 12 November where the winner will be announced. The winner will also receive a £250 voucher from GreatArt art suppliers.

The Leisure Painter’s People’s Choice Award

This award is chosen by the public, through an online vote. It goes to the artwork in the collection with the most votes (any artwork from the Invitational or Introducing collection). It is sponsored by Leisure Painter Magazine and the winning artist will have a profile piece published about them in the magazine and receive a complimentary one year subscription. They will also win a £250 voucher from GreatArt art suppliers.

The Artist Award is chosen by the editorial team of The Artist Magazine and is awarded to the artist who in their opinion best captures the spirit of the Sketch for Survival initiative in a two dimensional drawing or painting of any medium. The winning artist will be featured in The Artist and receive a complimentary one year subscription to the magazine. They will also win a £250 voucher from GreatArt art suppliers.

We do not cover the cost of postage.

You’ve completed the online submission form; you’ve packaged up and posted your signed original artwork to us in time for the deadline, and you’ve remembered to include your name clearly somewhere with the artwork. What happens next? Every Friday the team at Explorer HQ open all the artwork that has been received by post and courier in the previous week. We match the artwork sent with the corresponding online submission form. We check that your piece meets the criteria set and we catalogue your artwork in our A3 or A4 portfolio folders ready for the selection process. We then email the artist(s) to confirm safe receipt of artwork – we use the email address provided on the online submission form and we add the name, email address and date sent to our master spreadsheet.  If you have sent artwork to us, please ensure you monitor your email address and make sure your mailbox is not full. Please also check in your Spam folder. We recommend adding [email protected] to your safe contacts list.  If you have taken the above steps and still have not heard from us within the timeline specified, please do feel free to query – just drop us an email with your details (Name/date artwork sent/size & subject of artwork).

If you are a professional artist and wish to be considered for our Invitational Collection please contact Robert Ferguson at [email protected].

Our SFS Introducing Sponsors: