Ideas for The Best Art Challenge Theme

art challenge theme ideas for blogpost

2023 is nearly over, and I’m really struggling to come up with an art challenge theme for the #20for20ArtChallenge.

Icon for art challenge theme post for #20for20artchallengewinter2024 art challenge

In fact, it’s literally New Year’s Eve around 9:00 p.m., and I still haven’t chosen a goal or a new theme for the January art challenge I signed up for.

So here are just a few of the ideas I’m toying around with. Some of these ideas are based on previous challenges I participated in, while others are things I’ve wanted to do or learn.

I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions, so feel free to leave me a comment. The #20for20ArtChallenge is the first of several challenges I plan on doing this year, and I would love your input for future ones!

25 Best Art Challenge Theme Ideas

  1. Abstract landscapes.
  2. Imaginary animals.
  3. Cityscapes of some favorite cities.
  4. Go outside and take photos of the clouds in the sky, then paint the cloudscapes.
  5. Try pointillism in the style of two Master artists, Georges Seurat or Paul Signac.
  6. Work with only two complementary colors, plus black and white.
  7. Set the timer and stop everything when the time is up.
  8. Grab a fashion magazine and sketch favorite fashions.
  9. Create beautiful faces in the style of Modigliani.
  10. Channel Giorgio Morandi and paint simple vessels.
  11. Jump out of my comfort zone by selecting a medium or substrate I haven’t worked with before.
  12. Pick an object and paint a varying version of it for the duration of the challenge (i.e., my favorite coffee mug).
  13. Paint or draw my pet pup Jackson in different poses.
  14. Draw or paint the covers of my favorite books.
  15. Do intuitive painting – let loose, try some new tools, and have fun!
  16. Only use my non-dominant (left) hand.
  17. Paint or draw a different type of furniture, vase, kitchen item, food, or tool.
  18. Choose a new word each day and incorporate it into my work.
  19. Paint or draw my mood or emotions.
  20. Try painting botanical illustrations.
  21. Draw a different character from a favorite cartoon or fairy tale each day.
  22. Explore making street art and spray paint graffiti on canvas.
  23. Paint or draw a Tarot deck using a blank Tarot deck and my own personal interpretations.
  24. Sketch inanimate objects and add features to give them each a particular personality.
  25. Draw or paint patterns and textures.
Tubes of paint with silver pots containing palette knives and rubber wedge tools for painting for article on choosing an art challenge theme

Advice for Art Challenge Theme Ideas

There are virtually thousands of ideas to choose for an art challenge theme. And the purpose of an art challenge is to challenge myself so I learn something new!

So, it’s important to take time and pick a theme that excites me, so I’ll stick with it. It’s important to choose something I want to teach myself or something to challenge my imagination and skills.

It can be as simple as arranging seven lines into interesting compositions to a more complex art challenge theme like painting Picasso-esque cubism women in oils on matchbook covers!

At the end of the day, the very best art challenge theme idea is the one you will stick to for the duration of the challenge!

More Tips About Art Challenges

For me, preparing for the challenge ahead of time is crucial. I always decide what type of medium(s) and substrates I want to use and have them ready to go for day one and thereafter.

If possible, I draw my ideas via thumbnail sketches into a journal and use them as a basis for the daily artwork.

I’ve learned the hard way it’s important to be kind and gentle with my Self! Stop expecting my first offerings to be masterpieces because the purpose of these challenges is to learn new skills or try things I haven’t tried. Ultimately, the goal is to improve my art, and doing the challenge in bite-size pieces helps accomplish that!

The final moment of truth happens at the end when you lay out the finished art in chronological order. Seeing how far I’ve come from the beginning makes the angst and self-doubt disappear. At the end of the challenge, I like to give myself a well-deserved pat on the back to acknowledge how much I’ve learned.

In addition, it will be time to take me on a fabulous artist date to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment from a job well done!

SIDE NOTE & Progress Update:

For the record, I’m not a total slacker….

Tonight, I made a stack of twenty 5″ x 5″ squares with deckled edges for the challenge. They are made from larger 22″ x 30″ sheets of Fabriano 300# cold press watercolor paper, and they are upcycled from old paintings.

After I made the squares, then I painted over the old design with a quality black gesso from Golden. (Beware of using a cheap black gesso because it can smear into your paint and make a mess!).

I chose a black primer because I’m going to be using white and light colors in my designs. I like having the black gesso showing through if I decide to sgraffito some lines into the new piece..

Also, I dedicated a workspace in my office/studio for the challenge, so now I’m ready to go.

It’s now well after midnight, and I finally picked a theme, so stay tuned!

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