Sketch for Survival Junior 2023

A global art initiative in aid of conservation.

Be a part of Sketch for Survival Junior by entering our art competition which is open to everyone aged 16 years and under.

The 2023 competition is now closed. Submissions for 2024 will open 1 February – 30 June.


How does it work?

Sketch for Survival Junior helps to raise vital awareness about species extinction and biodiversity loss while also raising funds for projects around the world through the sale of art.

In 2022 entries came from all over the world – China, South Korea, Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Australia & NZ, Canada, the US, Brazil, Dubai, Qatar, Turkey, Tanzania, South Africa and most countries in Europe.

In 2023 we have three age groups and two categories –  these are detailed below for you. Submissions open 1 February and close 30 June.


Competition Guidelines in Brief:

Anyone aged 16 and under can enter Sketch for Survival Junior;

There are three age groups: up to 7 years old, 8-12 years old & 13-16 years old;

There are two categories: Endangered Wildlife and At-risk Wild Spaces (please see full guidelines below regarding what you can enter);

The closing date is 30 June;

Our expert selection panel includes artists Gary Hodges and Sophie Green.

There are 3 stages to the competition:

Stage 1 – Enter Online: submissions open 1 February and close 30 June

It is free to enter. Please ensure your artwork meets the criteria or it will be discounted.

Stage 2 – Longlist Announced – if your name is on the longlist you will be invited to ship your artwork to Explorer HQ in Norfolk UK. The selection process is initially done ONLINE  using the submission form and artwork image provided. The longlist will be announced on our website & social media channels on Thursday 6 July at 2pm (BST).

Stage 3 – Final Collections Announced: the panel review all the artworks in the longlist and make their final decisions. This stage is done in person at Explorer HQ over several days in August. The Exhibition collection and the Highly Commended collection will be announced on our website on Thursday 14 September.


In each age category we award Sketch for Survival Junior Artist of the Year, and there is also an opportunity to win the People’s Choice Award, decided by an online vote.

Schools & Colleges can enter using our Bulk Upload Spreadsheet. (See below)

All participants are able to download a digital Certificate of Participation.

Please note: no artworks can be returned. Please do not send us your artwork unless we have requested it. Thank you.


Full Submission Guidelines

The competition is open to anyone aged up to 16 years old.

You can live anywhere in the world.

There are three age categories:

Up to 7 years old

8-12 years old

13-16 years old

You should enter the age category based on your age at the time of submission.

For example, if you celebrate your 8th birthday in April 2023:

You would enter the Up to 7 category if completing your artwork and submitting your entry in February 2023; you would enter the 8-12 category if completing your artwork and submitting your entry in June 2023.


First of all, please read these submission guidelines carefully – they should answer most questions.

To enter, simply follow the ENTER HERE link on this page for the appropriate age category and follow the instructions on the submission form.

You will be asked to attach a good quality image of your completed artwork to the submission form (please ensure the JPEG file is less than 5MB in size. NO PDFs permitted.)

The first round of selection is done electronically using this uploaded image so please make sure it is in focus!

Young Artists selected by the judges to move on to the second round will be contacted by 6th July, requesting that they send the original artwork to us by mail in time for the next phase of selection which takes place in August. Please ensure the artists name,  AGE (and school if entering through a school) is printed clearly on the back of the artwork before you send it. In the older age categories the artists might like to also add their signature (bottom right hand corner) or write their name on the front too.

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

All the art sent to us will be available to buy, to raise funds for conservation.

Every participant will receive an email inviting them to download a digital Certificate of Participation (sent at end of September to the registered email address).

There are tangible benefits for the short-listed artists:

Your artwork will be:

exhibited in London & Edinburgh;

seen by a wide audience.

sold by online auction alongside our main collections.

Every year the standard of artwork goes up and deliberations take longer!

The panel is tasked with selecting a shortlist of a minimum of 3 entries in each age group for the exhibition:

Under 7s

8 – 12 year olds

13 – 16 year olds

The shortlist in each age group will be displayed in Norwich, London & Edinburgh .

All artworks will be available to purchase in support of our projects.

Sketch for Survival Junior raises much needed funds for frontline conservation but it also raises crucial awareness about a whole range of issues from the Illegal Wildlife Trade to habitat loss. This is why all the species and wild spaces included in our collections have a conservation story to tell.

There are two categories within the competition:

  • Wildlife

Your artwork must depict an animal, bird or any species that is at risk of extinction, either from your country or anywhere else in the world.

How do I know if it is endangered? The IUCN Red List is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. If your chosen species is listed as:

Vulnerable VU

Endangered EN

Critically Endangered CR

then it is at risk of extinction in the wild  (visit www.IUCNredlist.org and use their species search if you want to check). 


  • Wild Spaces 

Your image should depict an at risk landscape/seascape (from anywhere in the world), or a species of plant (see below).

For example, an ancient woodland, rainforest, a coral reef, mountain range, coastline, wetland – any wild space threatened by environmental factors such as a global warming or by human activity. Please tell us why you have chosen the wild space and the threat it faces.

We also welcome artwork featuring a specific species of threatened plant/flower/tree/coral. To qualify,  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).

Please use your submission form to tell us exactly what have you drawn/painted and why. This is very important as we refer to the submission form during selection and the information you provide is used to caption your artwork should it be selected for exhibition.


All submissions to Sketch for Survival Junior must be unframed and on paper or parchment (no canvas / box frames).

We accept artworks in the following two size categories:

A4: Minimum size and visible area – 21cm by 29.7cm. Maximum size 23cm by 31.7cm.

Your paper size can be anywhere in the range from 21cm – 23cm (short side) by 29.7 cm – 31.7cm (long side).

Please note this additional area will not be visible once mounted/framed in our reusable exhibition frames so please make sure anything important including your signature is within the visible area.

A3:Minimum size and visible area – 29.7cm by 42cm. Maximum size 31.7cm by 44cm.

Your paper size can be anywhere in the range from  29.7cm – 31.7cm (short side) by 42cm – 44 cm (long side).

Please note this additional area will not be visible once mounted/framed in our reusable exhibition frames so please make sure anything important including your signature is within the visible area.

Artworks cannot be any smaller or larger than the dimensions given above. They will not fit in our exhibition frames and will be dicounted from selection.

**If you are cutting down your artwork,  please ensure you leave a 5-10 mm margin all the way around over and above the minimum sizes given.**

All artworks must be original.

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.


Why do you have size restrictions?

  1. We use reusable exhibition frames to display the 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.

One work per category per artist.

We are accepting online submissions until  30th June.

To enter, please complete our online submission form.

Please do not send your artwork to us – the first stage of judging is done using the JPEG images sent to us with the submission form.

If your name is on the longlist then you will be contacted by email and given full instructions on where to send your artwork in July.

Schools/colleges are welcome to enter multiple artists.

If you are a teacher wishing to enter students in the competition you are welcome to do so.

If you are entering a couple of students then the best way is to complete (or ask the student/parent to complete) the online Submission Form for each one  – this is because we need an image and information for each and every entry.

If you wish to enter a whole class then you can use our bulk upload form and send a zipped folder of JPEGS directly to us. Every entry must have a named JPEG image – please include the students name and age e.g, Sara White – 9

Download the Bulk Upload Form here. Both the Images and form should be emailed together to [email protected]

If your folder of images is too large for email please send by WeTransfer.


After the submission deadline, all pieces will be reviewed 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.

Sophie Green is an award-winning wildlife artist and conservation activist. She has dedicated her time and artistic work to raising awareness for issues surrounding animal welfare and the environment, as well as donating a percentage of her profits to conservation charities. Sophie has been awarded the Medal of Excellence by the Artists For Conservation Foundation for her work in the conservation sphere, was highly commended in the Wildlife Artist of the Year competition and was the winner of the Leisure Painter People’s Choice Award. 

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

You may find the Sketch for Survival archive at the bottom of the page a useful tool before deciding what to submit. The archive will give you some indication of the standard.

There is an award for each age category. Each winner receives an engraved trophy.

There is also a People’s Choice Award – voted for online by the public from all the finalists across the three age categories.

We do not cover the cost of postage for those artists selected for the longlist.

We do not cover the cost of printing if your artwork is a digital piece. If you are selected for the longlist, you are responsible for printing your artwork, signing it and sending it to us.

All shortlisted art is sold by us to raise funds for our conservation work. No artwork is returned.

It is a good idea to take a scan of your artwork before you send it to us so you have a record of your work.

Sketch For Survival Junior 2023: Full Terms and Conditions:

  1. The competition is open to artists worldwide who qualify for the age categories (i.e. 16 or under) except for employees of the Real World Conservation Trust (RWCT), their immediate families, agents, or anyone else associated with administration of this competition.
  2. Closing date for receipt of entries is midnight GMT on 30 June 2023.
  3. To enter, complete the online submission form by the closing date. Do not post/mail your artwork to us.
  4. Artists selected by the judges will be contacted by Friday 6 July with details of how to send/mail their artworks to us for the second round of judging. Failure to forward the original artwork to us will result in elimination from the competition.
  5. The shortlists will be announced on Thursday 14 September. Winners will be announced at our Awards night in November.
  6. The RWCT has the right to publish all entries on its website explorersagainstextinction.co.uk and selected ones on its Social Media channels.
  7. The RWCT reserves the right to publish images of shortlisted artworks in other promotional material associated with the campaign. Artworks will not be reproduced elsewhere without permission.
  8. The RWCT will sell the shortlisted artwork through its gallery, online gallery and online auction. All receipts from this the art will go to the Explorers Against Extinction Project Fund, supporting frontline conservation Worldwide.
  9. Entries limited to one per artist per category (Total 2 submissions).
  10. E-mail addresses will only be used by RWCT for updates on the competition in their newsletter which can be opted out of. They will not be disclosed to any other parties.
  11. The judge’s decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into.
  12. The winner agrees to participate in any reasonable publicity required by the RWCT.

Promoter:    The Real World Conservation Trust. UK Charity 1177505. Registered Address: Happisburgh, Norwich, Norfolk, NR12 0QQ