Sketch for Survival 2022

A global art initiative in aid of conservation.


You can be a part of Sketch for Survival 2022 by entering our art competition which is open to everyone. Just 100 artworks are selected from all submissions to be exhibited in London & Edinburgh, as well as competing for our Artist awards.

The submission phase runs from 1 February to 30 June. The selection phase is July-August. Exhibitions run September-November.

**Please note: Stage One Selection Results will be published on the website on Friday 15 July. Stage Two Results will be published 8 September (adult competition).**

How does it work?

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

Just 100 finalists are selected from all competition entries received and ‘win’ a place on our prestigious Sketch for Survival exhibition tour alongside artworks donated by professional and celebrity artists.

The donated artworks are sold via online auction, with all proceeds going to our Project Fund. Sketch for Survival raised nearly £60,000 for nominated conservation projects in 2020 and nearly £90,000 in 2021. Entries came from all over the world – China, South Korea, Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Australia & NZ, Canada, the US, Brazil, Iceland, Dubai, Qatar, Turkey, Tanzania, South Africa and most countries in Europe.


Competition Guidelines in Brief:

Anyone aged 17 and over can enter. (Children aged 16 and under can enter our Junior Sketch For Survival Competition);

Online Submission – no need to post/ship your artwork to us unless it is selected for one of our two collections.

There are two categories: Endangered Wildlife and At-risk Wild Spaces (please see guidelines below);

The closing date is 30 June 2022;

Our expert selection panel is led by Internationally renowned artist Gary Hodges;

100 Finalists, as chosen by the panel, will be exhibited at our exhibitions in London & Edinburgh and be included in our online fundraising auction;

These 100 Finalists are eligible for our annual awards which include the Leisure Painter’s 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 Sketch For Survival Wildlife 100 and Wild Spaces Artist of the Year awards, selected by our panel;

Short-listed artists will have their artwork digtally displayed at The Explorers Club in New York, USA.

There is a Highly Commended Collection for selected runner-ups.

All participants will receive a digital Certificate of Participation &  a digital badge for their websites.


Full Submission Guidelines

Anyone aged 17 and older. If you are 16 or younger please see Junior Sketch for Survival here.

You can live anywhere in the world.

The competition is open to professional, amateur, hobby and student artists.

First of all, please read these submission guidelines carefully. If you have a question that is not answered on this page you can email us at [email protected]

To enter, simply follow the ENTER HERE links on this page 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 its a JPEG file up to 5MB in size). The first stage of selection is done electronically studying your image so please make sure it is in focus and labelled correctly with your name! Please note: This image is used for electronic viewing only, not for printing. Therefore the resolution does not have to be large, just in focus and good colour representation. A photo taken on your mobile phone should be fine.

Artists progressing to the second stage of selection will be contacted by Friday 15th July – we will request for the original artwork to be sent to us in the mail.

The second stage of selection is completed in August with the selection panel viewing the artwork in person.  100 finalists will be selected, and the remainder will be included in The Highly Commended Collection.

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 through the sale of artwork.

Every artwork submitted will be displayed in our Sketch For Survival 2022 online gallery.

Every artwork submitted with be included in our 2022 Sketch For Survival Mosaic.

Every participant will receive a digital Certificate of Participation.


There are tangible benefits for the 100 Finalists:

Your artwork will be:

exhibited at London’s prestigious [email protected] alongside artwork by well-known, award-winning artists;

exhibited at Edinburgh’s Dundas Gallery;

seen by a wide audience;

sold via online auction in aid of our Project Fund.

The 100 Finalists also receive a complimentary one year Artists’ online membership to our Explorer Club.


Benefits for artists short-listed for our two Artist of the Year Awards, + the winner of the Peoples’ Choice award:

Short-listed artists will also be exhibited in a special digital display at the Explorer Club in New York.

As well as the benefits of being a Top 100 Artist listed above, short-listed artists will be given the opportunity to produce a small collection of work that will be sold by Explorers Against Extinction on a commercial basis. This means that as well as having your work displayed online in our gallery, with some pieces being displayed at our events and exhibitions, you will be able to earn money for your work. This opportunity is not mandatory should your commitments not allow, but available to those who wish to accept it.


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

The panel is tasked with selecting:

100 Finalists – these artworks win the ultimate prize of being exhibited in Edinburgh & London and then sold via our online auction. Finalists are eligible for our annual awards and receive complimentary one year membership to our Explorer Club and a digital Finalists logo to display as they wish.

100 Highly Commended  – these are the artworks only narrowly missing out on a place in the 100.  These artworks will join us on tour/at events and be displayed in our pop-up store, including [email protected] (if they have not been sold at a previous pop up). The artworks will be available to purchase in aid of our projects. Artists receive complimentary one year ‘Artist Supporter’ membership to our Explorer Club and a digital Highly Commended logo to display as they wish.

Sketch for Survival 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

To qualify,  the main focus of your artwork should be a species categorised as Vulnerable (VU), Endangered (EN), Critically Endangered (CR) or Extinct in the Wild (EW) on the IUCN Red List – the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species (visit www.IUCNredlist.org and use their species search).

These global categorisations mean the species faces a high risk of extinction.

If previously listed in one of those categories and since downgraded, such as the Humpback Whale, please provide context.

If the risk to your chosen species is at a local or regional level (as opposed to global) then please give further information, e.g, species is included on a national Red List such as the RSPB Red List of Birds, or Red List for Britain’s Mammals.

Please note: we do make some exceptions to the rule above, for example, when a species has not been assessed for many years by IUCN and there is clear evidence of decline by another offical conservation group/body. We kindly request that you use your submission form to give context to your choice. 

  • 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 give your artwork context (exactly what have you depicted 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.

According to the IUCN Red List, more than 37,400 species are threatened with extinction.

All submissions to Sketch for Survival must be unframed/unmounted and A4 or A3 in size. 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 so please make sure anything important including your signature is within the visible area.

A4: Minimum size and visible area – 21 cm by 29.7 cm. (Paper size permitted in the range 21cm- 23cm by 29.7cm – 31.7cm)

A3:Minimum size and visible area – 42 cm x 29.7 cm.  (Paper size permitted in the range 42cm- 44cm x 29.7cm -31.7cm)

Artworks must not be any smaller than the dimensions given.  **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 above for A4 or A3 so that it can be mounted in our 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). Ready to hang means it must have hanging fixtures (hooks and wires) and is ready for the wall.

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.

Some artists submit 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.

Why do you have size restrictions?

  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.

One work per category per artist.

We are accepting submissions until Thursday 30th June.

To enter, please complete our online submission form.

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

Those artists progressing to stage two of selection will be contacted and given full instructions on where to send their artworks in July.

Schools are welcome to enter. Sketch for Survival welcomes entries from anyone 17 years and over. Artists aged 16 and under should enter our Junior Sketch For Survival Competition.

If you are a teacher wishing to enter students in the competition you are welcome to to do. Either complete the Submission Form for all students individually or complete the Bulk-Entry-Form-SFS for large numbers of entries. (XL File downloads onto your computer).

Don’t forget to send photos of all entries.

After the submission deadline, all entries will be judged using the images uploaded with the Submission forms 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. 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.

The 100 Sketch For Survival Finalists will have their artworks auctioned in our online auction concluding on Sunday 20th November.

The 100 Highly Commended Collection Artworks will be available for sale while on display at [email protected] in our pop-up store and afterwards in our online gallery.

Sketch for Survival Wildlife 100 Artist of the Year 2022

Artists will be shortlisted for the award with the panel deciding the winner. All shortlisted artists will be invited as our guests to our autumn Awards evening in London where the winner will be announced.

Sketch for Survival Wild Spaces Artist of the Year 2022

Artists will be shortlisted for the award with the panel deciding the winner. All shortlisted artists will be invited as our guests to our autumn Awards evening in London where the winner will be announced.

The Leisure Painter’s Sketch for Survival People’s Choice Award 2022

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 the Finalist collections). 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 digital subscription.

The Artist Award 2022

The winner 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 digital subscription to the magazine.

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

All artworks making it through to stage two of selection will be included in either the Exhibition Collection (100 places)  or The Highly Commended Collection – all pieces will be sold by us with the funds raised supporting our projects.

No artwork will be returned.

Sketch For Survival 2022: Terms and Conditions:

  1. The competition is open to artists worldwide, 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 2022.
  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 15th 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 100 Finalists and Highly Commended Collection will be announced on Thursday 8th September 2022.
  6. The shortlists for the Awards will be announced on Thursday 15th September. All shortlisted artists will receive a ticket to our Awards night in London in November.
  7. The 4 Winning Artists will be announced at our Awards night in November.
  8. The RWCT has the right to publish all entries on its website explorersagainstextinction.co.uk and selected ones on its Social Media channels or for press/promotion of the campaign and RWCT.
  9. RWCT has the right to publish an image of selected artworks in their Sketch For Survival 2022 Book produced to sell and raise funds for the charity. They will not be reproduced elsewhere without the consent of the artist who retains all rights.
  10. The RWCT will offer for sale or auction the artwork of the 100 Finalists and the Highly Commended Collection, through its gallery, online gallery and online auction. All receipts for the art will go to the Explorers Against Extinction Project Fund, supporting front line conservation Worldwide.
  11. Entries limited to one per artist per category (Total 2 submissions).
  12. E-mail addresses will be 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.
  13. The judge’s decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into.
  14. 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

Sketch for Survival Artist Award

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Sketch for Survival Peoples Choice Award

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