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Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022

Pastel painting of polar bear in ice by Stella Mays called 'Fly-By' Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 overall runner up

The Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022 Competition is organised by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF). This years competition is in association with media partner BBC Wildlife.

The Wildlife Artist of the Year competition encourages artists to use the natural world as a source of inspiration for a piece of art. Also to raise awareness and vital funds for some of the most pressing environmental issues our planet faces.

The competition was created in 2008 and has gone on to attract more than 13,300 entries and raised more than £1.2 million for DSWF ground-based conservation partners across Africa and Asia. Last year there were 1,199 entries from 70 countries with a total of 2,307 pieces.

Deadline for entries 31st March 2022 11.59 pm (GMT)

The exhibition will be held virtually this year in September 2022. They will notify you by email if you have been shortlisted.

painting of orcas by Darren Rees called 'Orcas Blackfish sound' Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 Winner

©Darren Rees ‘Orcas, Blackfish Sound’ 2021 Overall Winner

Rules of Entry
  • Open to amateur and professional, UK and international artists aged 17 years and above
  • The Human Impact category is open to artists aged 16 to 22 years.
  • Entry fee is £25 per artwork for the first two entries and £15 per entry thereafter.
  • There is no limit on the number of entries, but the online form will take a maximum of ten entries in one submission.
  • Entries to the Human Impact category cost £15 per entry.

Important note. You need to submit all the artworks you are entering at the same time if you wish to qualify for the reduced entry fee after your second submission. If you wish to enter more than ten artworks you need to enter your first ten via the online form and then contact them at [email protected] and they will help you with any additional entries.

  • Submitted work must have been completed within the last five years by the entrant themselves and must be original work.
  • All artwork entered into the competition must be unsold and available for sale.
  • The judges will accept any medium, excluding photography and digital drawing/painting but including original prints. For the purpose of this competition, an original print is a print either in black and white or in colour, drawn from one or several plates, conceived and executed entirely by hand by the same artist, regardless of the technique employed, with the exclusion of any and all mechanical, digital or photomechanical processes. Every stage must have been completed by hand by the artist.
  • Mediums can include oil, acrylic, watercolor, pencil, mixed media, bronze, plaster, wire, collage and textiles with styles encompassing traditional, abstract, monochrome and many others – the choice is yours.

You will need to complete the online form and submit your digital image files here

They cannot accept any changes to submitted pieces once an entry has been received.

drawing of apes by Szilvia Mate called Father Son Winner of Animal Behaviour category 2021 Wildlife Artist of the Year

©Silvia Mate ‘Father & Son’ 2021 Animal Behaviour Winner

Digital Image requirements

Entries will be accepted as high res (300dpi) jpegs entered online at davidshepherd.org from 6 January 2022 or by post using the postal entry form.

For online entry, ensure the file size is a minimum of 2200 pixels and no larger than 6MB. For the file name, they require that you use your surname followed by the title of the artwork (e.g. Smith – Lions In The Sun). For 3D entries you need to include images of as many different angles as possible.

No allowance will be made for poor digital images, bad quality photographs or low- resolution videos. If there appears to be an error or issue with any submissions they will contact you.

You can learn more about the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022 competition terms and conditions here

Turn your art into stunning fine art Giclée Prints

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a shoal of manta rays painting by Nick Oneill called Blue Squadron, Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 In to the Blue Winnerl

©Nick Oneill ‘Blue Squadron’ 2021 Into the Blue Winner

Sale of Submitted Artworks and Commission
  • The artist will set the sale price, but DSWF reserves the right to negotiate where appropriate.
  • The artist will be asked for biographical details and a description of the artwork for point of sale promotion. DSWF reserves the right to edit these details.
  • Proceeds of the sales during the exhibition are to be split 50/50 between DSWF and the artist for the duration of the exhibition. Thereafter, any sales made as a result of the exhibition or continued promotion of the piece by DSWF will be split 70% artist and 30% DSWF.
  • Sale proceeds resulting from commissions taken at the exhibition are to be split 70% artist and 30% DSWF.
  • DSWF will manage all sales and payments for artworks.


migrating geese painting by Matthew Polluk called Migration Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 Wings winner

©Matthew Polluk ‘Migration’ 2021 Wings Winner

Be Aware
  • All pieces must be completed by one artist, no groups or collaborations can enter the competition.
  • There is no size/weight restriction on artworks, but consider the logistics if your artwork sells and the costs involved.
  • You cannot submit an artwork you have previously entered into the competition.
  • Submitted artworks must be of wild animals, not domestic pets or farm animals.
  • The judges are not only looking for beautifully executed artworks but also imaginative and innovative interpretations of category titles. As well as an understanding of your subject, the judges are looking for originality and a genuine love and understanding of your medium.
  • You can get your inspiration from a photograph or other artwork but be sure to make this your own interpretation of that image. Straight copies are not only breaching copyright but may also be judged to be unimaginative.
  • Remember you are being judged on the quality of the image file you submit. Make sure it is in focus, with no marks or dust specks visible. Also ensure you crop the image, so that there is only the artwork visible and not a frame, easel or wall in sight.
  • Take into consideration DSWF commission when working out your sale price.
  • Your artwork does not have to be framed, as it is a virtual exhibition.

See our “Best Tips for Art Competitions” it has concise and clear information on what you need to think about and do.


painting of a male gerenuk in Kenya by Guy Combes called 5th Position Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 Earths Wild Beauty Winner

©Guy Combes ‘5th Position’ 2021 Earths Wild Beauty Winner

Categories for Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022

Entries must correspond to one of the seven categories described below. Any pieces featuring domesticated animals (e.g. pets, farm animals) as the main feature subject do not fall under the following categories, and therefore will not be considered by the judges.

Animal Behaviour – Entries for this category should show a true understanding of animal behaviour, capturing moments which might be humorous, tragic, aggressive, or part of their daily ritual. Whether exhibiting skill in seeking food, demonstrating protective instincts for their young, engaging in a unique mating performance or simply relaxing in the sun, every creature will display individuality and character.

Earth’s Wild Beauty – This category welcomes submissions which celebrate wild landscapes and seascapes and all that live within them. From lush, leafy rainforests to harsh deserts, from the highest snowy mountain tops to isolated frozen tundra or the depths of the oceans, every inch of the world is inhabited by life in some form, whether massive or minuscule.

Facing Extinction – For this category artists are invited to celebrate the vulnerable species, capturing their behaviour and importance in striking imagery. Whether driven by habitat destruction, wildlife crime, human-wildlife conflict, pollution, climate change or disease, the growing challenges facing many of these incredible creatures could mean that our last chance to see them will only be on canvas or immortalised in sculpture if we do not turn the tide on extinction. Check that your featured species is listed as ‘Under Threat’ on the IUCN’s Red List (www.iucnredlist.org).

Human Impact (for ages 16-22) – Environmental activists like Greta Thunberg have demonstrated that the younger generation are ready and motivated to make dramatic changes to the world around them, giving us hope for the future of our planet. This category is specifically for artists aged 16-22 only. They would like to see work which makes a statement through art on how humans are having an impact on the environment.

Into The Blue – Artworks entered into this category should illustrate the wonderful world of water – be it ocean, seashore, wetland, river or stream – and the incredible wildlife and landscapes within them. It is more important than ever that we work to care for and appreciate the water on our planet, preventing more pollution and cleaning up the mess which has been made for decades, before the richness of life underwater is lost.

Urban Wildlife – This category welcomes entries in an urban setting or which depict the city life of animals and plants, demonstrating a contrast and harmony between wild and urban life. Many species live side-by-side with city- dwelling humans without ever really being noticed and within a harsh city landscape a fascinating world of wildlife can be uncovered if only the time is taken to search for it.

Wings – Entries to this category should show the extraordinary variety of winged wildlife on our planet, including birds and insects, in flight or at rest. The wonderful world of winged creatures is diverse, complex and fascinating. Birds, bees, butterflies and bats all experience the planet from a different perspective, soaring above our oceans, crossing vast desert plains and making their homes in unusual locations.

tiger drawings by Cole Stirling titled Running Towards Extinction Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 Facing Extinction category

©Cole Stirling ‘Running Towards Extinction’ 2021 Facing Extinction Winner

Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022 PRIZES

Overall winner: £5,000 cash prize and the title ‘Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022’ as well as a £5,000 DSWF wildlife voucher to donate, in the winner’s name, to a DSWF supported conservation initiative or species of the winner’s choice.

Overall runner-up: £1,000 cash prize and a £1,000 wildlife voucher to donate, in the winner’s name, to a DSWF supported conservation initiative or species of the winner’s choice.

Category winners: £500 cash prize per category

The Elizabeth Hosking Watercolour prize: £500 cash prize

The Michelle Lee Howk ‘First Time Entrants’ Award: £500 cash prize

Other prizes: Other prizes include non-cash awards. Further prizes may be announced during the competition.




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